If you landed on this page, you are probably searching for a cost of a measured survey. To be transparent, it is not possible to provide fixed figures. If you saw survey prices on attractive tables on other websites, there is a 99% chance that those figures are far from the prices you will see in your quotation.
(You can request a free quote right now or continue reading this article to understand how you can potentially reduce the cost.)
In the surveying industry, there are no standard prices as each project is unique, both in its size, complexity and what deliverables are required to be produced.
That is why measured survey companies price each project individually.
In this article we’ll cover:
- What Type of Survey to Choose?
- Factors Influencing Measured Building Survey Costs
- 8 Tips How to Lower the Cost of a Measured Survey
These are the most common methods used for conducting a measured survey:
- Disto Laser & Tape Measure – the cheapest but least accurate method
- Total Station – a more expensive method that allows for more precise building measurements
- 3D Laser Scanning – the most accurate & reliable surveying method, but also the most expensive
We conducted a detailed comparison of these three methods, with real-life examples and outcomes. In this article, we will only provide the conclusions.
Disto Laser & Tape Measure
Although this is the cheapest option of all, it is by far the most unreliable method because of the high risk of human error. Additionally, tape measurers & disto lasers cannot measure angles, leading to significant inaccuracies. If a “tape measurer” claims millimeter accuracy, it’s likely a deception because it is impossible to combine all dimensions of even a single room with such precision, let alone an entire building.
Total station measured surveys are much more accurate than tape measures. However, a survey conducted using a total station is also a manual method of data collection with just one measurement at a time.
As a result, surveys conducted using a total station a significantly limited in how much data is collected and the accuracy is dependent on the experience & competence of the surveyor operating the device.
Just look at the difference between the results on the same project using a 3D Laser Scanner vs a Total Station.
3D Laser Scanner
Although 3D Laser Scanning is slightly more expensive than Total Station measured surveys, the advantages of this method far outweigh the cost difference.
3D Laser Scanning enables to achieve 0% chance of human error factor when collecting measurements on-site.
Another major advantage of laser scanning is the amount of data collected during the site visit. A total station can collect just 1 measurement at a time. Terrestrial 3D laser scanners are capable of collecting 976,000 measurements per second, making it possible to create drawings with as much or as little level of detail as required.
Other advantages of choosing 3D laser scanning over any other surveying method include:
- Ability to perform manual quality checks on all drawings prior to their release.
- Production of additional drawings without a need to re-visit the property
- Point Cloud Virtual Tours included as part of the package
The cost of a measured building survey can vary significantly depending on a range of factors:
- Property Size and Complexity: The size and complexity of the property plays a crucial role in determining the survey cost. Larger properties with more rooms, complex architectural details, or multiple floors require more time and effort to measure and document, thus increasing the overall cost.
A surveying company using 3D laser scanning will typically look at the number of scans it takes to complete the survey as part of the process when preparing a price estimate.
On average it take 3 scans to survey each room using a terrestrial 3D laser scanner.
Although the size of the building may suggest that the bigger is more, it is not always the case. For instance, the two floor plans illustrated below are similar in size. However, the floor plan on the left is open space and can be surveyed using only 5 scans, where the floor plan on the right will require over 30 scans to survey the floor due to the number of rooms it has.
Therefore, laser-scanning surveyors look at both, the size & complexity of the property. Most measured survey companies provide their clients with fixed-price quotations. When the complexity of a property is unknown, surveyors will usually assume that the layout is complex.
It is therefore best to provide surveyors with any marketing floor plans you may have when requesting a quote, as that will allow them to quote based on the actual complexity, which often results in a lower price.
- Property Location: The location of the property can impact the cost, as surveying companies may charge higher rates for remote project or the ones located in areas like central London where additional charges like ULEZ, Congestion Charge and parking charges will apply.
- Survey Method and Accuracy Requirements: The survey method and the required accuracy level can influence the time, effort, and specialized equipment needed to complete the survey.
- Scope of the Survey: The scope of the survey, including the number of floors and whether it covers internal, external, or both aspects of the building, can significantly affect the cost. Below is a list of the most common types of drawings requested on a measured survey:
- Floor Plans
- Ceiling Plans
- Lighting & Smoke Detector Plans
- Roof Plans
- Loft Plans
- Elevation Drawings
- Internal Elevation drawings
- Section Drawings
- Topographical Survey (Site Plans)
- Geographical Location: Your location can also play a role in the price, as surveyors in different areas may charge different rates.
It is not uncommon for some surveying companies located in remote areas to charge a premium as there is a lack of competition in their region. It is therefore always best to get a comparison quote from practices located in other areas.
- Rooms with Furniture & Clutter. Open office spaces without furniture have a much lower price per square meter compared to furnished apartments or filled warehouses.
In summary, measured building survey costs can range from £350 to £1000+ and are determined on a case-by-case basis, considering the factors mentioned above. When commissioning a survey company, it is crucial to explain the required accuracy level and have a clear understanding of your project’s scope and deliverables to receive an accurate cost estimate.
- Be specific: If the request states “measured survey,” we typically assume it includes floor plans, elevations, and two cross-sections based on our experience. However, this may not always be necessary. If you only need floor plans, specify that in your request, and the price will be significantly lower.
- Provide the exact address with the postcode: This allows surveyors to find & review your property, its size & complexity on Google Maps and provide a more accurate quote. An application with an address will be more precisely calculated than one containing “need a survey for a house.”
- Provide any existing plans: Even outdated floor plans are useful, as they give a surveyor a clear idea on how many rooms there are to be surveyed and therefore how long the survey will take. In the absence of plans, the cost is generally calculated based on the area, which increases the survey cost as the complexity of space is assumed to be above average or complex.
- Use trusted & reliable surveying companies. As per the examples above & below, we had plenty of projects where we were asked to conduct a measured survey on a project where the As-Built drawings were already delivered by a different surveying company.
Those drawings were significantly inaccurate and had a large number of errors, forcing the client to pay for another survey.
Use the services of companies that have been in the market for a long time, with good reviews and real, high-quality examples of their work.
Below is an example of a floor plan that was produced by a surveying company using a Total Station. Our team was then appointed to verify the accuracy of the produced data and as a result, to produce a new set of accurate as-built drawings.
- Exclude expensive types of drawings (unless required). We often see the request “all internal elevations.”
Only request this service if it’s truly needed. Having all internal elevations produced can easily double the overall cost of the survey. Therefore, it is best to get these drawings only for specific rooms or even specific areas of the rooms where seeing the additional information these drawings provide is crucial for your project.
- Think about the scope of the survey. You may want to avoid ordering a high level of detail topographical survey of a large garden if you are only using it for a small extension at the back. You can order a high level of detail site plan survey of just 10 meters around the house, and a reduced level of detail for the boundary areas, which will significantly reduce the price.
- Indicate your availability for access. Surveying companies may offer a discount if you can be flexible on providing access for date & time convenient for the surveyor.
- Parking charges – On projects in areas like central London where free parking is not available, surveyors usually make an allowance of up to £100 + VAT for any parking charges. If you can accommodate a parking space or permit for the duration of the survey, it is best to mention it to the surveyors when asking for a price estimate, as it is likely to decrease the costs.