Choosing the best professional possible for your topographical survey. Allowing plenty of time, assessing your needs and matching these with a suitable surveyor.
Plan ahead and understand your needs to choose the best professional
A land survey, also known as a topographical survey, is a skilled specialism so it’s obviously very important to secure the services of the best expert possible to conduct one for you. In order to achieve this, proper planning and understanding exactly what you require from a survey is paramount to ensure you make the best choice.
Before you approach anyone, establish exactly what you need from your topographic survey so you can match your requirements with a professional able to deliver on them.
Ask yourself the following:
- What’s the purpose of the survey?
- Do we require certain features being flagged up?
- What is my timeframe for stages of and the whole survey to be completed?
Giving your chosen surveyors ample time to assess your requirements and provide a quote is key; don’t leave it too late.
- The right survey
Sounds obvious, but ensure your chosen surveyor offers topographical surveys; some offer purely building or house surveys for valuation purposes while some offer various surveying services.
Naturally, if a surveyor doesn’t offer topographical surveys they’ll tell you, but you’ll have wasted time approaching them in the first place so draw up a shortlist of potential names based on who can offer the service you require.
Also, establish if they work in your area. Some may stick to working in certain locations while others are happy to conduct surveys throughout the UK.
An ideal way to find your surveyor is if someone you trust with experience and expertise in a related field can suggest a name or two.
- How do they liaise with you?
Their approach when you make an enquiry will reveal much; do they ask plenty of questions to assess your needs? Do they sound like they’re familiar with your type of survey? They should be keen to illustrate how their past experience matches your needs with maybe some ‘case studies’ of previous work to back this up.
- Specify the survey in writing
Just asking for ‘a survey of XXXX area’ is far too vague.
Determine how detailed the survey should be; should it include details such as roads, paths, drainage cover positioning and specific measurements of levels and more?
You’re looking to avoid paying for aspects of a survey you don’t require. Similarly, you don’t want to order a ‘too simple’ survey and have to commission another to include information you realise is required after all.
- Sector specific detail and advice
Chances are you’re surveying an area for a particular reason, so explain this to your surveyor and they can likely draw from their experience of conducting those types of survey.
For example, if it’s for a land sale then boundary detail will be important whereas analysing current drainage would be relevant if new building is to take place. The survey will be based on specifics such as these, and extra services could be added if needs be (or organised through their trusted partners and similar) such as:
- CCTV drain surveys
- Aerial photography
- Safety access information
- 3D modelling
- Set a budget
Once full details of the survey are established, ensure you get a firm quote from the surveyor and don’t assume anything.
You want to avoid add-ons and overruns affecting the price, so properly establishing exact requirements and possible add on services such as the examples listed above is important.
- Professional accreditation
Are they members of relevant trade bodies or hold auditing accreditations such as ISO?
A few trade bodies worth looking out for:
- TSA – membership of the Survey Association
- RICS – membership of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
- CICES – membership of the Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors
Another key reason to plan ahead is so you choose your surveyor carefully and aren’t rushed. In the end you need to know you’ve chosen a professional you feel comfortable working with and has the expertise to match your needs, so you don’t want to be forced into making a hasty choice.