How to complete your own DIY measured survey

Transcription of the video

A measured survey is, very simply, a set of measurements that records your propertys’ current dimensions.

Let me show you how easy it is to perform your own measured survey. The only tools you will need are a tape measure, a pad, some coloured pens and a smartphone camera.

After performing many hundreds of surveys, I’m very systematic about the order in which I record the data. It means that I rarely miss a measurement.

Part 1 of the survey is performed outside

  • Taking photos
  • Then drawing the individual elevations of the property…. front elevation, side elevation and so on
  • And drawing the siteplan

Part 2 of the survey occurs internally:

  • Starting at the ground floor
  • First Floor
  • 2nd Floor if there is one
  • Finally, the roofspace

Lets go though it in detail:

Part 1: External survey

Step 1. Take photos

Take elevation shots square onto the wall, and take any other shots to capture hidden elevations

Google Maps is great for general street views but do take up-to-date shots of street perspectives, of immediate neighbour properties, and of properties on the same road with similar projects (if you’re doing a dormer, find an existing dormer to photograph etc)

survey DIY Time 0 01 3307
Take photos of dormer windows already in your street

Step 2. Draw the External Elevations

Identify the property and I like to number all my pages as I go

First, draw an outline plan so that you can use it as your visual index of all the elevations.

survey DIY Time 0 02 0323 edited 1
Outline plan to use as visual index for your survey

Name the elevations eg front, left, left 02 etc. I normally use ballpoint pen but here I’m using marker pen so that you can see the lines I’m drawing (black for building, blue for dimensions, green for levels).

For each elevation, start a new page and give the page a title. Draw the outline proportional to what you see. Identify the roof and apertures on each level, show the DPC and add the following dimensions:

  • Overall Wall Length
  • Aperture to aperture
  • Aperture width and height
survey DIY Time 0 02 3328 edited 1
Draw each elevation on a separate page

If dimensions are getting crowded, don’t stress about it, just use a new page.

For changes in ground level, draw a section through the house. Use the damp proof course ie the dpc as zero datum. Measure from the dpc to the ground around the building; you can do this at 1m intervals.

survey DIY Time 0 03 0514 edited 1
Record the change in ground level around the house

To measure the ridge height, use your smartphone distance measuring function. First, identify the DPC and then use your device to measure the ridge height, from the dpc. Then, measure the eaves height.

survey DIY Time 0 03 2808 edited 1
Measure the ridge height with your smartphone

If you don’t have a digital device to measure vertical heights, theres a manual method of measuring the ridge height. To do this, the building needs to have a brick or stone-built gable-end.

First measure the height of 10 courses, then divide it by 10 to get an average course height. Next, take a photo of the entire gable-end, ensuring it is square-on, and count the total number of courses from DPC to the ridge

survey DIY Time 0 03 4920 edited
Count the brick courses to measure ridge height

Calculate the height by multiplying by the number of courses by the average course height

Step 3. Draw the Site Plan

If the garden is relatively small and perimeter edges are reasonably straight, you can measure it up with a tape measure.

To do this, measure from the house corners to the perimeter, perpendicular to the house walls, to locate a series of perimeter points.

survey DIY Time 0 04 2103 edited
Plot the site plan by measuring from the house corners

Then, measure the lengths of the perimeter edges.

survey DIY Time 0 04 2712 edited
Measure the perimeter lengths if they are straight

Note that, for large or irregular sites, a theodolite is probably  required. Once the external measurements are complete, move on to Part 2.

Part 2: Internal survey

Start on the Ground Floor

…. so that you can easily identify the internal structural walls. When you move upstairs, look for their continuation.

For each storey, sketch a layout of how the rooms, stairs and corridors connect – don’t worry about wall thicknesses at this stage. Label the areas – I always start near the front door, moving clockwise.

survey DIY Time 0 05 0626 edited 1
Sketch the layout on each storey

For each area within that storey, start on a new page. We’re primarily concerned with Horizontal measurements. Draw the outline (ensure theres a large margin around the perimeter for your dimensions). Here, wall thicknesses are important.

Add the features, including apertures, chimneys and walls removed.

survey DIY Time 0 06 1104 edited 1
In each area, draw the detail and add the dimensions

Add the measurements. Measure overall length in addition to running measurements; include wall thicknesses.

When all areas on the storey have been measured in the horizontal plane, switch to measurements in the vertical plane. Apertures include window cills and heads, plus door heights.

Measure ceiling heights in every room, noting any change of height under beams. Measure the floor thickness, at the stairwell.

For the stairs, draw the plan and take the measurements. Draw the section, count the number of risers and measure stair height ie ground floor landing to first floor landing.

Measure ceiling heights at landings, plus the position and height of the minimum head clearance on the stairs 

survey DIY Time 0 06 4503 edited
Measure landing heights and stairs clearance heights

Finally, take photos before moving on to the next area in that storey. When all areas on a storey have been measured horizontally, measured vertically and photographed, move to the First Floor.

At the First Floor, repeat the same process. At the Second Floor (if there is one), repeat the same process.

Finally, climb into the roof space

First identify the size and positions of the purlins (the main carrier beams) in a Section drawing. Then, in a Plan drawing.

Add joist directions and take measurements, both horizontally and vertically. Include the position of chimney stacks, flues etc.

survey DIY Time 0 07 2827 edited
Draw a detailed roof section and plan

If you were not able to measure the ridge height outside, you can do it by measuring different vertical sections:

  • Measure from the top of the ceiling joists to the underside of the ridge beam.
  • Estimate the depth of the ridge beam
  • Measure the floor thicknesses
  • Measure the room heights

Add all of these to get the approximate ridge height.

survey DIY Time 0 08 0222 edited
Measure ridge height by adding section depths

Finally, take photographs of the roof space

That’s it – finished!

Just send your pages of measurements to efkor and we will transform them into a 3D model of your existing property.