3D modelling in surveying means creating a 3D computer model of a structure or building. The 3D model provides everyone with an accurate visual representation of its size, shape and texture. 

3D modelling can be useful in planning since it can create in-depth 3D designs for buildings and structures that haven’t been built yet. Need to win over key project stakeholders and decision-makers for a proposed development? A 3D model could help to bring your idea to life and give stakeholders an insight into the plans. Building Information Modelling is compulsory for UK public-funded building projects. 

Here we go into a little more detail into the impact of 3D modelling on surveying in the UK. 

3D modelling saves time and money

3D laser scanning surveys can save significant time and money because they allow architects and building designers to identify issues and defects early on in the process before it gets further down the road and more money is spent. 

At Midland Survey, we cherish modern surveying technology and all its wonders. Time is money in the building game. Fortunately, comprehensive 3D data capture surveys prevent staff in building or renovation projects from needing to do multiple site visits. 

Image of a 3D modelling design.

Surveying historical buildings 

Historical buildings need to undergo thorough surveying prior to any new renovations or building changes taking place. 3D laser scanning technology is often used today to survey historical buildings. Looking after historic buildings is important, and you want to do your homework with 3D surveys to reduce the risk of there being any costly damage down the line due to a lack of due diligence in the planning stage.

3D modelling is a non-invasive surveying method for historic buildings. 

At Midland Survey, using 3D modelling to survey historical buildings is one of our expertise. Find out more in this case study of our handheld 3D scanning project for Oriel College, University of Oxford. 

How accurate is 3D survey modelling?

3D scanning is a highly accurate surveying technique, and it can provide you with a representative geometry of a historic building. No need to assume that every wall is a straight line. Got a bend? No problem!

Minimising data loss

On-site data is being collected far more diligently and accurately thanks to 3D modelling. Previously, before advances in technology, measurements and key pieces of data could be missed or lost in translation, but this is no longer the case with 3D laser scanning. 

After an intricate 3D modelling survey? Get in contact with Midland Survey today by calling 01926 810 811 or emailing mail@mslsurveys.co.uk

We’re here to tell you more about the importance of surveying in construction. Whilst projects and builds span across commercial and residential properties, surveying is an essential part of the collaborative and efficient building. 

We’ll take a closer look at how an accurate survey can prevent budgeting issues, retrospective work, and problems with health and safety. 

Knowing which survey is best for your project is the first step. You might need a GPS survey or 3D scanners or a Ground Penetrating Radar survey. While some of these surveys might be services you’ve used in the past, allowing Midland Survey to guide you through the most cost-effective survey is a great place to start. 

What are the benefits of surveying?

The importance of surveying in construction lies in its benefits. We’ve listed some key benefits that have helped clients in the past and could certainly help you in the future.

Image of two construction works assessing a building.

Covering a broad range of sectors 

More likely than not, our surveys have been used in your sector. Being able to have familiarity with the sector your project is in, allows us to understand what you’re looking for in your results. 

We cover a range of sectors such as aviation, commercial, residential, public and transport and logistics. 

Our experience in aviation alone has offered our clients essential information through our 3D modelling survey

From CCTV drainage surveys on existing builds, or topographical surveys for the pre-plan and design team, we understand that transparency is key for your project to start and finish.

Offering the final product in several formats 

Your construction project might be an ambitious one. Having the results of your survey produced in various formats allows you to have cross-department visibility in your building information modelling. 

Having easy-to-access and easy-to-comprehend displays and results allows the whole team to target foreseen issues which could end up being costly. 

Furthermore, your Midland Survey surveyor will be able to walk you through the findings of any survey allowing you to make accurate decisions with confidence. 

Accurate and cost-efficient service 

Due to having a variety of surveyors and survey types available to you, we’re able to provide you with accurate results. 

As stated above, the accuracy of these results allows you and the team to make crucial changes to the planning and the build before any project-stalling issues arise. 

The ability to have visibility over your project in such detail reduces the chance of having to lean on your contingency budget or delay the completion date which can cost thousands and sometimes millions of pounds. 

The accuracy and detail provided in our surveys are an investment worth making. 

Harnessing the power of technology 

We don’t just use one technology for our surveys, we use the latest and most advanced industry-recognised technology. 

In hand with the technology we use, our surveyors are highly skilled, passionate and experienced in their field. We strive to give you the accuracy you need within a limited time frame. 

Our Measured Building Surveys are driven by the industry knowledge and high standards that our surveyors adhere to. 

From the latest FARO scanner for external surveying and 3D modelling for internal, we know how to marry technology to get you the clearest results. 

Explore our services today and see how Midlands Survey could get your project in clear view. We have experience with a wide range of budgets and project objectives, so make sure you get in touch with us. We’re happy to walk you through the surveying options that will give you the most transparent results. Get a quick quote today.

If you’ve ever wondered about how we keep our structures safe from natural or man-made changes, you’ve likely stumbled upon the concept of a ‘deformation survey.’ But what exactly is a deformation survey, and what purpose does it serve? Let’s take a closer look.

Building near water Midland Survey

What Is a Deformation Survey?

Simply put, a deformation survey is a specific type of survey designed to measure and record changes in an object’s shape or dimensions. Whether it’s a building, a dam, or a piece of land, a deformation survey can monitor and record any changes over time. These changes could be due to various factors such as weathering, geological activities, or human interventions.

The Critical Role of Deformation Surveys

So why are deformation surveys so crucial? The answer lies in their capacity to provide early warnings for potential problems. Deformation surveys can detect shifts in structures that could lead to significant issues if not addressed promptly. This could be a building starting to lean dangerously, a dam developing small but consequential cracks, or a tunnel beginning to warp.

By identifying these issues early, action can be taken to correct them and prevent more significant problems down the line, such as structural failure that could lead to accidents or even loss of life.

deformation survey UK

Where have deformation surveys been used in the UK?

While Midland Survey takes on an array of different-sized projects, we are always looking at how the industry is utilising surveying as an optimal tool during the building phase. 

Let’s talk about how important deformation surveys are in some of the UK’s biggest projects that have caught our eye. 

Crossrail Project

This is a really big deal for the UK’s infrastructure. During the building phase, these surveys played a big part in making sure the tunnels were safe and sturdy. They also helped us spot any problems with the structure or the land around the works, which was super useful.

Hinkley Point C Nuclear Power Station in Somerset. 

This new power station used deformation surveys a lot during construction. They helped keep an eye on any shifting in the land and made sure everything was structurally sound.

High Speed 2 (HS2) project. 

This is a major high-speed rail network that will connect London with cities up north. During the build, deformation surveys were used to check on structures, hills, and cuttings to make sure everything was stable and good to go.

The Shard in London

During its build, deformation surveys were used to watch for any movement in the structure and to see how it affected the buildings around it. It’s all about making sure everything is safe and sound.

How a deformation survey can work for your project

Through the use of advanced technologies such as GPS and total stations, surveyors at Midland Survey can monitor and measure even the smallest changes in a structure’s position. This information can then be used to create detailed maps and models that clearly highlight any deformation that has occurred.

How to plan your project’s deformation survey

Unsurprisingly, it is an essential tool for maintaining the safety and integrity of our built and natural environments. Whether it’s the Midland Survey team monitoring changes or you making adjustments to your project because of the data shown, the use of deformation surveys is critical in keeping us and our structures safe.
Get in touch with us at Midland Survey to explore your options in arranging a deformation survey. Our highly experienced team are ready to help you with any sized project. We specialise in taking on varied and challenging projects that need expert surveying advice. Let’s start today.

While you may have heard of the term ‘topographical survey’ being batted around during a project, you might be looking to do some of your own research. Here’s our ‘Ultimate Guide to Topographical Surveys’ which should help answer any questions you may have. 

Let’s start at the beginning.

What is a topographical survey?

Simply put, it is a detailed survey of an area of land that shows its physical features, such as hills, valleys, rivers, and roads. It is used to create a 2D or 3D map of the land, which can be used for a variety of purposes, such as planning construction projects, designing landscapes, or creating marketing materials.

Unsurprisingly, 2D or 3D maps are essential tools for core team members such as project managers. The maps will be fed into BIM in construction which stands for Building Information Modelling. 

Project managers use the maps critically to plan the project, communicate with the team, track the progress of the project and document the project for directors and stakeholders alike. 

You can see why choosing a highly experienced professional from the get-go can save thousands of pounds as well as time.

surveyor using equipment

What is included in a topographical survey?

Typically, there are four stages of the topographical survey. However, within these stages are varying degrees of complex data acquisition and evaluation from the surveyor and client. A topographical survey typically includes the following:

  • Surveying Equipment: A variety of surveying equipment is used to collect data for a topographical survey, such as a total station, a theodolite, and a level. (but we’ll talk more about this further down).
  • Data collection: The surveyor will use the surveying equipment to collect data on the physical features of the land, such as its elevation, slope, and vegetation.
  • Data processing: The surveyor will use software to process the data collected from the field and create a 2D or 3D map of the land.
  • Report: The surveyor will create a report that summarises the findings of the survey and includes the 2D or 3D map which feeds into BIM.

What does a topographical survey show?

No two surveys are the same. The type of information that is included in a topographical survey will vary depending on the purpose of the survey. However, all topographical surveys will typically include the following information:

  • The location of the survey area
  • The elevation of the land
  • The slope of the land
  • The location of natural features, such as rivers, lakes, and trees
  • The location of man-made features, such as buildings, roads, and bridges

You can see how this information would certainly help inform progress and adjustments to planning cross-departmentally. 

close up shot of surveying equipment

What are the benefits of a topographical survey?

While you’d think it’s only the construction sector who take advantage of this detailed survey, there are other uses for its purpose too. 

Obviously, topographic surveys can be used to plan construction projects. But you might be surprised to know that design and marketing are often the other two main users of a topographic survey. Let’s take a look at why: 

Designing landscapes: Can be used to design landscapes by providing information on the physical features of the land, such as its elevation, slope, and vegetation. This information can help to create a landscape that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional.

Creating marketing materials: A topographical survey can be used to create marketing materials, such as brochures and websites, by providing information on the physical features of the land. This information can help to attract potential customers and investors.

Which sectors use topographical surveys?

Topographical surveys are used by a variety of sectors, including:

  • Construction: Construction companies use topographical surveys to plan and design construction projects.
  • Engineering: Engineers use topographical surveys to design roads, bridges, and other infrastructure.
  • Architects: Architects use topographical surveys to design buildings and landscapes.
  • Landscape Designers use topographical surveys to design garden layouts.
  • Real estate: Real estate agents use topographical surveys to assess the value of properties.
  • Government agencies: Government agencies use topographical surveys to plan land use and development.

How much does a topographical survey cost?

Unsurprisingly, this is a complex question due to varying factors. The cost of a topographical survey varies depending on the size of the area being surveyed, the complexity of the survey, and the experience of the surveyor. In general, a topographical survey can cost anywhere from £1,000 to £10,000.

How long does a topographical survey take?

The time it takes to complete a topographical survey depends on the size of the area being surveyed, the complexity of the survey, and the availability of the surveyor. In general, a topographical survey can take anywhere from a day to a few weeks.

What is used to measure a topographical survey?

There are a variety of surveying equipment that can be used for a topographical survey. Some of the most common types of equipment include:

  • Total stations: A total station is a surveying instrument that combines the functions of a theodolite and an electronic distance meter. It can be used to measure angles and distances and to create 3D models of the land.
  • Levels: A level is a surveying instrument that is used to measure the elevation of the land. It can be used to create 2D maps of the land, and to ensure that the land is level.
  • GPS receivers: GPS receivers can be used to collect data on the location of points on the land and instantly relate the position to the National Grid coordinate system. This data can be used to create 2D or 3D maps of the land.
  • Laser scanners: Laser scanners can be used to create 3D models of the land. This data can be used for a variety of purposes, such as creating virtual reality models of the land or for collision avoidance systems.

The type of equipment that is used for a topographical survey will vary depending on the size and complexity of the area being surveyed, as well as the experience of the surveyor.

What would affect the production of the topographical survey?

A variety of factors can affect the production of a topographical survey, including:

  • The accuracy of the surveying equipment: The accuracy of the surveying equipment used to create the survey will affect the accuracy of the survey.
  • The skill of the surveyor: The skill of the surveyor will affect the accuracy of the survey.
  • The weather conditions: The weather conditions can affect the accuracy of the survey. For example, if it is raining or snowing, the surveyor may not be able to locate all the necessary features of the site.
  • The topography of the land: The topography of the land can affect the accuracy of the survey. For example, if the land is very hilly, the surveyor may not be able to get an accurate reading of the land.

It is important to be aware of these factors when interpreting a topographical survey. If you are unsure about the accuracy of a survey, it is best to consult with a qualified surveyor. If you’d like to explore our range of services at Midland Survey, get in contact today. Our highly experienced team are happy to guide you through our processes and service to accommodate the right survey for your project.

Thinking of getting a GPS survey done for your upcoming project? If you’re an architect, engineer, planner or developer, get a GPS survey with detail that is unparalleled.

At the touch of a button, the GPS survey will collect data and geometrical calculation by using satellites sending signals to receivers on the ground. 

No matter what industry you work in, the GPS survey will be able to help you with noninvasive and accurate measuring. 

So let’s get your project started on the right foot and see how a GPS survey works.

What is a GPS survey? 

The GPS, also known as the Global Positioning System is a satellite-based navigation system which enables surveying professionals across multiple industries to collect reliable and accurate coordinates of latitudes and longitudes without the need for measuring distances and angles between points. 

How does a GPS survey work? 

It’s actually more simple than you might think. The global positioning system uses a network of satellites to transmit data to and from the ground or receivers. 

Receivers on the ground communicate with the satellites to gain accuracy of longitude and latitude of the point on the ground. 

As the receiver begins to communicate with a satellite, four surrounding satellites will transmit data measuring the satellite’s precise location, time of the reading and the distance to the height of the receiver. 

Did you know…?

This satellite-based navigation system was initially developed for military use in the 1970’s but GPS became fully operational in 1993 and later commercialised for industries such as surveying. 

Work men in high vis jackets and hard hats reading over surveying plans.

What are the benefits of a GPS survey?

There are some strong benefits to investing in a GPS survey before the development of any construction plans. 

  • Not weather dependent: No matter the weather conditions or time GPS can triangulate the signal and provide a location.
  • Accuracy: Provides accurate geographic measurements. 
  • Mobility: Easily transferred or transported to different locations.
  • Convenience: Can be used on any given site at the touch of a button 

Want to know more about the benefits of a GPS survey? Get in touch with Midland Survey today for a quick quote

How is a GPS Survey done?

We’ll take you through the three primary methods of GPS measurement that surveyors use. They are Static GPS Baseline, Real-Time Kinematic Observations and Continuously Operating Reference Stations. 

Man wearing an orange high vis jacket and hard hat is carrying out a GPS survey.

STATIC GPS BASELINE

This method is particularly useful for long range distances and measurements. A static baseline technique is used to detect the accurate distance between two points.

Two receivers are placed at the end of the line to be measured. The two receivers then collect GPS data for a minimum duration of 20 minutes.  

A specially curated software program is then used to calculate the distance between the two receivers.

REAL-TIME KINEMATIC OBSERVATIONS

Unlike the Static GPS Baseline technology, Real-Time Kinematic Observations have one static receiver known as the Base Station and the other receiver on a Rover Station which moves to multiple positions during the measuring process. 

This method is ideal for harvesting data over slightly smaller areas.

CONTINUOUSLY OPERATING REFERENCE STATIONS

The continuously operating reference station or CORS is unique in its data collection because the base station is installed in a known permanent location. This means localised measurements will send signals to this fixed base station. 

You’ll find CORS being used for the purpose of major engineering construction projects that require ongoing surveying over a continuous period of time. 

Typically, surveyors will offer you a 2D version of the data collected. We know the importance of clarity and that’s why we’ll provide you with 3D topographical surveys. 

How to get a GPS survey 

After the data is collected, our team will guide you through the results and help you develop an informed plan of your upcoming project. All of our topographical surveys will leave you with a solid understanding of the surrounding built environment and infrastructure. 
Knowing which GPS survey method is appropriate for your upcoming project is key. Get a quick quote from our team at Midland Survey. Our expert team will guide you through the process and give you the assurance of accuracy from the get go.

If you own land you have earmarked for development, you should be wary that architects, designers or engineers may ask for a comprehensive overview of what the land in question looks like before agreeing to help you with this project.

A conventional map might not quite capture enough of the site’s intricacies for the professionals’ liking. So, it would be beneficial for you to arrange a topographical survey that takes in both natural and man-made features of the land.

However, since conducting a topo survey is a specialist service requiring the right equipment, you may be wondering: “How much does a topographical survey cost?”

What is a topographical survey?

With a topo survey, a given land area’s physical features are measured and represented on a detailed visual plan. This plan displays the site’s boundaries as well as any fences, kerbs, trees, vegetation and contours.
After carrying out measurements at the site, surveyors will draw up the plan. The topographical surveyors here at Midland Survey then provide the client with the finished plan in CAD and PDF formats.

Could you simply opt to forgo a topo survey?

That would certainly be one way for you to chop the topographical survey cost off your list of looming outgoings. Technically, a landowner could oversee a project that never throws up any nasty surprises.

However, the more sophisticated and extensive the project, the larger the risk the landowner takes by deciding against a topo survey. If you are struggling to judge the balance of risk in your case, this article about topo surveys could help.

Skipping a topographical survey can prove a false economy  

As we have established, a topo survey is not always a cast-iron requirement. A project as basic as assembling a shed may not warrant a topo survey. Besides, a similar kind of assessment might have recently been conducted on the site to include the data you need.

In practice, development work done without a topographical survey can encounter issues that a survey could have prevented or mitigated. Hence, a topo survey’s upfront cost can be more than made up for later down the line.

How much is a topographical survey usually?

Typically, a UK land surveying company will charge between £300 and £1,000 per day, and £300 and £600 for topographical drawings.

As the majority of sites we survey are residential, offices or small lots of land, Midland Survey’s topographical surveyors usually only need a day to inspect a client’s land and then one additional day to complete the drawings.

What if your topo survey needs aren’t ‘typical’?

This could be your situation if, say, the land area you require the survey for is significantly larger than the examples above. Alternatively, the site could be heavily textured in its features, making it trickier for members of our team to record.

Either of these scenarios would likely add to the typographical survey cost. Also, the higher the level of detail you demand, the higher the resulting cost can be.

Is there anything you can do to cut this cost?

You might be overestimating how much of the land actually needs surveying, at least in a high level of detail. So, using a tool like Google Earth, you could produce a satellite image indicating what should be prioritised for surveying.

You could then attach this image to an application you send us when seeking a quote for a topographical survey. Just hit the link to access our Quick Quote online form and clarify what you need from a topo survey. 

What else could you do to prepare the land?

Generally, a flat, open space is easier — and less expensive — to survey than land with large amounts of varied foliage. Therefore, if your own site is more like the latter, you could — before booking a topo survey — investigate potentially reducing this greenery.

Once you have done everything possible and left the site visibly open, taking photos is wise so that you can clearly show what our surveyors will be working with. This insight will feed into the quote that we offer you.

Contact us for more details about topo survey pricing 

When looking for a topographical surveying service that satisfies your needs, you should not be driven by price alone. Through incorporating traditional methods with high-end tech, our topo surveyors achieve precise results.
Nonetheless, by factoring in the size and nature of the land you intend to develop, you can easily budget for a topo survey. You can also contact our topo surveyors directly for tailored advice.

You need to know what’s going on beneath the surface before you embark on a building or construction project. There’s a world right under your feet. Otherwise, the project could interfere with or damage below-ground pipes used to transport water, power, gas or sewage. Arranging an underground utility survey could lower the risks builders, developers, engineers, and utility owners face.

Surveying underground utilities can save both time and money in the long run. Underground utility surveys protect the safety of workers and the public and minimise project delays. In this article, we address how you could benefit from an underground utility survey.

Work man using a spirit level on foundations.

What is an underground utility survey?

An underground utility survey is meant to create a map of precisely which services are underground and where. Developers can familiarise themselves with the whereabouts of subsurface utility infrastructures like piping, cabling, ducts, sewers and drains.

New building or construction work projected for the site can be planned with this information in mind. When developers know the environmental constraints for the project, an array of potential hindrances can be avoided.

How could this kind of underground survey benefit you?

At Midland Survey, our surveyors are trained in creating comprehensive maps of underground utilities located in and nearby clients’ sites. These maps can also be paired with topographical maps indicating the layout of above-ground features on the same site.

Once you have an accurate drawing, you can easily avoid making mistakes that would require a lot of time and money to reverse. For example, you could avert running into legal issues or needing to reschedule any of the work

What is ground penetrating radar (GPR)?

This revolutionary technology works by emitting energy pulses into the ground, where they bounce off buried materials and indicate their locations to the GPR user, who will be moving a transducer or antenna along the ground.

When surveying underground utilities, GPR technology is reserved for detecting non-metallic objects, like plastic pipes, concrete or clay. For locating metal pieces, radio frequency location (RFL) technology achieves more accurate results.

Equipment used in a ground penetrating radar survey.

What are CAT locators?

No, they aren’t quite devices designed to help people find their cats. The ‘CAT’ here is an acronym standing for Cable Avoidance Tool and used in reference to RFL technology that traces signals emitted by targets located beneath the ground.

As RFL only works on targets that emit signals, it can only be used for determining the locations and dimensions of metal objects. CAT tools can thus assist in collecting information about metallic fuel, vent, water and gas pipes as well as metallic telecommunication and TV cables.

What are Genny (signal generator) tools?

These are meant to be operated in conjunction with CAT locators. By passing signals into the ground, a Genny tool can assist the user in more quickly and precisely tracing a range of utilities. Using a CAT and Genny can prove much more effective than using a CAT alone.

This is why, for the task of surveying underground utilities, we use CATs and Genny tools together as standard. However, we also combine them with use of the earlier-mentioned GPR technology so that, for our clients, we map out underground utilities as efficiently as possible.

How can you ascertain the condition of drainage pipes? 

As we have established, an underground utility survey undertaken by our team can help you to discern what and where drainage pipes are. However, you would need a different service to find out about their condition. Fortunately, we offer this service in the form of CCTV drainage surveying.

This would entail inserting a CCTV camera down piping so that, on a monitor, we can see inside the drainage system without any ground being dug up beforehand. This is important because above-ground building work could adversely affect subterranean pipes already in unsatisfactory condition.

Underground drainage pipe system.

What risks could your construction project pose to underground utilities?

As acknowledged earlier in this article, building work above ground can accidentally cause damage to utilities. Even if this work follows suitable protocols, it could compromise any nearby piping that has deteriorated.
The use of heavy machinery can lead to ground subsidence damaging such pipes. You could therefore counter this risk by having affected piping relined — one kind of drainage repair work Midland Survey can complete in a non-intrusive fashion.

Are you intent on a building or construction project?

It is essential that you organise an underground utility survey in advance. The mere presence of underground utilities can have major implications for the planning and design stages of a project.
From surveying underground utilities on behalf of clients, we accurately record the locations of gas pipes, fibre optic cables, communications cables, and subsurface infrastructure. Clients can easily contact us to book an underground survey. Get in touch today to find out more about how we can help you.