For my second project with KLC I was asked to make the survey of my sitting room and then draw the plan and four elevations of each wall. I find that survey is not the most difficult part of designer’s job however you need to be very careful in order to produce accurate figures. Site measuring can seem a time consuming and routine work to do however a detailed and accurate survey will help to prepare professional and attractive design proposal. Further I will describe the steps which I made for completing survey.
1) First of all I prepared all necessary equipment: 5m retractable metal tape measure, sketchbook for drawing plan and elevations, pencils, rubber, pens, coloured pencils, calculator, compass, T-square and spirit level. One thing which I have bought for this project is a digital laser distance meter shown on the photo. It was for me extremely helpful when I needed to measure long distances and height of the ceiling. It saved plenty of time comparing to tape measure and professional interior designer should definitely invest in buying it.
2) Secondly I drew the plan of my room in a sketchbook marking all existing details such as doors, windows, radiators, fitted furniture, etc. I always use pencil for drawing survey plans and elevations in order to be able to correct it with rubber in case I make any mistakes. With compass I identified where was the North and marked it on my plan.
3) I started to do measurements, step by step, wall by wall and to write them on my plan. I have chosen the angle to start with and then was moving clockwise. It is essential to follow the sequence of measured features in order not to forget anything. For example I have two windows on the wall, so I measured the distance between angle and window, then the length of the 1st window, distance between windows, the length of the 2nd window, distance between the 2nd window and the opposite angle. Afterwards I measured the total length of the wall and checked that it is equal to the sum of earlier measured sections.
4) The most accurate way to note measurements on the plan is to draw a line parallel to each wall which is called witness line and write all figures on the top of it. There are normally two witness lines for each wall – one with all the sections and the second with overall wall measurements. If all figures are written next to walls the plan will look messy and difficult to read.
5) The next step I made is checked if angles of the room were straight or not. I measured the diagonals of the room: they were equal which meant that the angles of the room were straight. In case the angles are not straight the easiest way to measure them is by using digital Angle Meter. This tool will also help to measure some complex structures, for example bay windows.
6) I measured the thickness of walls. Walls can be measured in door and window openings. I put two rulers on both sides of the wall in the door opening and measured the distance between them. From this number I deducted the thickness of architraves. This measurement also can be done with use of special tool: Ultrasonic Wall Thickness Meter. Knowing wall thickness helps to understand where are load-bearing and non-load-bearing walls. The last ones are usually thinner then 120 mm.This information helps to understand how you can change the lay out of the room, which walls can be removed and which can not.
8) Then I drew the elevations of four walls and started to measure the height of ceiling, windows, doors, etc. The ceiling need to be measured in four angles to check if it has the same height everywhere. My ceiling has different levels because of ventilation and heating system. I used my digital laser distance meter to make these measurements.
9) On the main plan it is not possible to show all the details such as width of architraves, skirting, window and door frames. I made separate drawings to mark all those details and write measurements of them.
10) I put on the plan such details as radiators, electrics and sockets.
I always make all the measurements twice to ensure the accuracy in figures. After the survey is done I carefully look at my plan and check that I have measured everything.
These were some tips for performing survey and site measuring. Can you add more?