In any planning project, accuracy is one of the most vital factors, and with it, important decisions can be made to prompt desirable outcomes. Measurements of infrastructure are always likely to be needed as part of a development, and by recording measurements that are completely accurate, the developer can conceptualise the project correctly and avoid any potential issues further down the line.
Due to the introduction of cutting edge technological advancements, the level of accuracy for measuring properties has become significantly more reliable. 3D surveys, for example, utilise 3D laser scanners to retrieve results that are both quick and precise, making it far superior to traditional methods.
What Are 3D Surveys?
3D surveys are an approach that involves collecting data points from a structure using digital technology. With the ability to use 3D laser scanning technology remotely, a 3D survey is entirely non-invasive, and the results are retrieved quicker and with more detail as opposed to other supposedly accurate survey techniques.
More specifically, a set of data points make up what is known as a point cloud. Point clouds are presented on maps using the Cartesian coordinates of X, Y and Z, and the selection of data points form an accurate representation of shapes or objects such as buildings or other features on a site. A 3D laser scanner will record each point using photogrammetry software before converting the data into a point cloud map.
Benefits of 3D Surveys
With such a high level of accuracy behind the data recorded and formatted into a readable map, using a 3D survey offers numerous benefits. For example, the 3D image can be used as a point of reference, removing any costs that would arise from needing to arrange further inspections on the site. Accurate data from a 3D survey will also contribute to an easier decision-making process, with developers given the opportunity to reflect on reliable information without any need to book other assessments or revisit the site countless times.
Depending on the circumstances, visiting sections of the site may not be safe, particularly if hazardous substances are present and remote techniques are needed to determine the best course of action. By using a 3D survey, every detail of the site can be viewed and analysed, eliminating any need to physically attend potentially harmful areas on the site and preventing unnecessary harm from coming to anyone involved in the project.
3D Survey Process
More often than not, a 3D survey will play out in the same way, with the surveyor in charge of the assessment following several core steps.
Below, we have outlined the five primary steps used to undertake a 3D survey:
- Developing the survey strategy – creating an appropriate strategy for the survey based on the nature and purpose of the project.
- Choosing the correct level of detail – forming an understanding of the Level of Detail (LoD) needed for the survey to determine the necessary tools and approach.
- Recording the data – physically attending the site to measure the existing building, property, structure or object using the instructions prior to the visit and ensuring a quick and effective method of 3D laser scanning.
- Processing the data – formatting and arranging the data retrieved from the site and displaying it on map, often using a point cloud, digital twin or BIM model.
- Sending across the completed 3D map – ensuring the map is finished and laid out correctly before passing it on to the client in a desirable format.
3D Survey Equipment
Unlike the majority of traditional surveys, simple items such as pens, pencils, clipboards and notepads aren’t necessarily needed for a 3D survey. Instead, the equipment is primarily built upon fundamental technical tools such as 3D laser scanners, as well as any other corresponding 3D laser scanning tools, accessories and software. However, a 3D survey consultant may still choose to use a HD camera and total station, just like a building or land surveyor would for a measured building survey or topographical survey.
3D Survey Laser
A crucial component in the 3D survey process, the 3D laser scanner will be attached to a stabilised telescopic tripod with the intention of digitally recording the shape and size of a physical object. The scanned object will then appear as a three-dimensional image that can be placed onto a map and used for planning a project based on accurate measurements.
3D Survey Software
Once the raw data from a 3D survey has been collected using 3D laser scanners, it needs to be added to a form of geospatial 3D survey software. At this point, the consultant will scan data from the assessment into a suitable computer programme, formatting the information into the form of a 3D image based on the property and area measurement of an existing building or feature on the site.
3D Survey Services
Over years of visiting countless development sites for a wide range of different planning projects, our 3D laser scanning services have recorded a million points to develop thousands of 3D images. Working on both small-scale private projects and large-scale commercial projects, we pride ourselves on operating within the mantra that no client is too big or too small and our services are inclusive of everyone, regardless of purpose.
Depending on the needs of our clients, we have also been able to merge services, helped by possessing a level of expertise in a number of areas. For instance, a 3D survey could easily benefit from the insights taken from a topographical survey, utility mapping survey or measured building survey.
3D Survey Consultants
At The Survey House, we boast of an experienced team of surveyors that are capable of covering multiple areas, including our clients’ needs for a topographical survey, measured building survey, condition report, utility mapping survey or visual impact assessment. We also possess 3D survey consultants with ability and knowledge of conducting 3D laser scanning on development sites, giving you an important land and area measurement in the form of an accurate survey.
All of our professional land and building surveyors are accredited with the necessary qualifications, trained in the required areas, located across the UK, and capable of undertaking assessments to a high standard. Our survey consultants are effective in providing expert dimensional control and 3D laser scanning over a structure to ensure that the correct measurements have been taken and the resulting 3D laser image is utterly accurate.
3D Survey Price
Whether you are in need of measured building surveys, topographical surveys or 3D surveys, the cost of any and all of our assessments is determined by the specifications of the project and the details of the site being surveyed. For example, if you only need minimal scan data based on a basic building on a small site with only a limited number of points, the price for a survey carried out using 3D laser scanners could be far less than it would be for a more complex building on a larger site with the need for over a million points. Another factor that would alter the cost would be that it would require more time for the 3D survey consultant to conduct the 3D laser scanning exercise and develop the 3D map image.
Bearing in mind that all of our quotes are bespoke, the most advisable approach for our clients would be to get in touch with us and give us details of your project, property and site, as we can use this information to put together a tailored no-obligation quote. You can then decide if you would like to move forward with us, and if you would, we can arrange a site visit on a time that fits in with your schedule.
Book a 3D Survey with The Survey House
For enquiring about our 3D surveys – or any other services we offer such as topographical surveys, measured building surveys, utility mapping, condition reports or visual impact assessments – get in touch and our experienced team will be able to guide you with the best course of action to benefit your project. You can speak to us about our laser scanning services by filling out our quick quote form, calling the number above or visiting our contact page. Using your details and information about your proposed development, we can determine the most suitable survey before issuing you with a free quote.
If you are happy to proceed, send the quote back to us with confirmation that you want to move forward, and we can work with you identify a time to come to your site and carry out a 3D laser scanning survey. You will then receive your completed 3D image a few days after the point clouds were recorded, giving you the scan data you need to start your project with total accuracy.