Monitoring Surveys

Monitoring surveys are used to determine if a structure has moved over time and are used in various applications. Midland Survey can assess your building anywhere in the UK.

Monitoring Surveys

What is a monitoring survey?

A monitoring survey involves measuring the movement of a structure or object over time. This can be done to detect any changes in the structure’s position, shape, or dimensions. The time between each measurement can be days, weeks, months or even years depending on the project.

When do I need a monitoring survey?

A monitoring survey is necessary when there is a risk of movement in a structure or object. It’s important to detect the early signs of movement for the health and safety of people using the structure or those near it.

Monitoring surveys can help inform long-term decisions about a structure and ensure people aren’t liable for any shifts. Surveys are sometimes a requirement for insurance and are used to understand if a project will disrupt nearby objects.

Monitoring Surveys

Monitoring surveys are usually carried out when:

  • The structure is built on unstable ground
  • The building is old and deteriorated
  • The structure is undergoing construction, or close to heavy construction work 
  • The building is exposed to weathering or erosion

Monitoring surveys allow you to prevent further movement and structure collapse, saving the time and money used to rebuild.


Monitoring Surveys

Monitoring surveys help to identify problems with a structure early on before major damage is caused.

Monitoring Surveys

Identifying these risks allows you to mitigate against them, improving the safety of people living/working near the structure.

Monitoring Surveys

Maintenance and repair costs can be reduced if problems are spotted early on.

Monitoring Surveys

The valuable data from monitoring surveys means that stakeholders can make informed decisions about the management of the structure.

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Types of monitoring surveys

Your surveyor can recommend the ideal type of monitoring survey for your project. The main surveys we conduct are:

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Structural Monitoring

Our most popular type of monitoring survey where we record the movement or deformation of a structure. We can work on a variety of buildings from new build developments to listed buildings. This method is highly accurate with a quick turnaround time.

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Environmental Monitoring

Midland Surveys’ sister company, Lucion Services, can offer these services.

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Asset Condition Surveys

Used to evaluate the impact of construction projects on the wider environment. Pre and post-construction surveys can reveal any damage to neighbouring structures from the work.

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Vibration Monitoring

Sensors measure the vibrations of buildings which can detect issues such as loose foundations and overloaded beams.

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Corrosion Monitoring

Issues with rust or erosion are identified by sensors.

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Temperature Monitoring

Sensors detect structural problems such as heat stress and thermal expansion.

Contact us today to see how we can help with your monitoring survey project. Call us on 01926 810 811, or fill out our online contact form.

Monitoring Surveys

The Process

The monitoring survey will record horizontal and vertical position changes of any size. This can happen in real-time where all measurements are taken on the same day. For long-term surveys, measurements can be taken once a year.

Different methods are used depending on the project type, and our specialist surveyors will use the most suitable technique for your needs. Our processes include laser scanning, fixed positions monitoring, tilt sensor monitoring, crack monitoring, and traditional methods such as a total station or a precise level.

  • Laser scanning – Used to scan a whole structure rather than specific points. The area is scanned with a laser and the scans are compared over time to produce a heatmap highlighting movements.
  • Fixed position monitoringA local survey control network and monitoring targets are set up. The targets are attached to the structure at predetermined areas and the local survey control network is made up of targets placed away from the structure. The survey is then completed with a total station which measures the angles and distances between the targets.

A comparison with previous readings gives a real picture of any movement occurring and its rate of progress.

  • Tilt sensor monitoring – Sensors are attached to the building’s wall to measure angles at regular intervals. An alarm can be triggered if the tilt limit is reached.
  • Crack monitoring – Crack gauges and monitoring studs show if a crack has got larger / moved position. It is used on brickwork, pointing or staining to gable ends and settlements.
Monitoring Surveys

What to Expect

Once the monitoring survey is completed, you will receive a report containing the following details: The information will be critical to a structural engineer to base decisions on.

  • Coordinate changes over time
  • Heat map showing any movement
  • Point clouds

Use the report for planning and maintenance purposes and for insurance.


Structural engineers and party wall surveyors will commission monitoring surveys, especially when heavy construction work is planned near an existing building. This involves construction work such as piling works, demolition, basement excavation and underpinning. 

Other applications are:


Monitoring Surveys

Identify and assess damage to structures.

Monitoring Surveys

Track the movement of soil, groundwater or other natural features.

Monitoring Surveys

Monitor the stability of mine shafts and tunnels.

Monitoring Surveys

Track the settlement of foundations or movement of earthworks.

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Monitoring Surveys

Why Midland Survey?

Our expert team has over 30 years experience working with monitoring surveys, with attention to detail in each project. We use the latest technology to produce accurate, reliable results and get the report to you quickly so your construction work isn’t delayed.

Midland Survey has offices in Southam, Stroud, Leeds, Horsham and Milton Keynes and we provide our services anywhere in the UK.

Case Studies

Midland Survey has been working closely with Wolverhampton City Council, monitoring some of their building stock. This has involved monthly visits over 6 months to provide a picture of how the buildings are moving.

A more unusual application of this service was monitoring how an adventure playground structure flexed under load at a large theme park. We provided measurements on how the various rope bridge supports behaved and provided reassurance that it would be safe to use.

Contact us today to see how we can help with your monitoring survey project. Call us on 01926 810 811, or fill out our online contact form.


Midland Survey charges a day rate for these services. There is a slightly higher initial set-up cost, but then a flat rate is applied for every subsequent visit, entirely at the client’s discretion.

The simpler your requirements, the cheaper the monitoring survey will be. See if the area is easy to access and set up the surveying equipment, decide if you can reduce the number of monitoring points, and assess whether the monitoring points are safe and easy to install.

Since monitoring surveys require multiple visits to detect movement over time, work out if you can increase the time intervals. For example, can a weekly check be changed to a bi-weekly check?

The time it takes to complete a monitoring survey can range from days to a year, depending on the number of measurements taken and the intervals between them.

The frequency of readings depends on the severity of movement and is entirely guided by the client. Where the evidence suggests the structure is being visibly compromised, such as cracking in the walls, then more regular site visits would be recommended, perhaps weekly. For more subtle movements monthly site visits would be more appropriate.

Monitoring surveys are very accurate. Using Total station equipment and precise level instruments, measurements can be made with an accuracy of a few millimetres, and laser scanning surveys can measure surface features with an even greater accuracy.