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Apartment Building Surveys for Renovation & Construction

by superadmin on December 11, 2017 in Blog

Whether it’s for renovation or new construction, apartment building surveys are important for safety, cost saving, evaluation and compliance. For example, it’s essential to perform an accurate and comprehensive survey before initiating renovations, expansions and other modifications to an apartment building.

In this comprehensive article we’ll discuss the following:

  • Surveys for apartment expansion
  • Surveying before apartment renovation
  • Pre-purchase apartment surveys
  • Land & construction surveying for new construction

Professional surveyors can now perform accurate surveying with modern methods and technologies. Right now surveyors from Geosurv use 3D scanning and modelling to convey data to engineers, managers and other stakeholders. This makes it easy for visualisation and off-site collaboration.

Expansion and adding more features to an apartment building

Many developers and building managers are now adding more capacity and features to their apartment buildings. This is a result of increased demand from local residents and immigrants. Young professionals might start first with living in an apartment. Established families and retirees might also prefer an apartment due to a change in lifestyle and priorities.

This is also true for mixed-used buildings (residential + commercial). Due to continual progress and growing population, there’s an increased demand for both residential and commercial units (e.g. retail shops and shopping centres). Building owners might later decide to expand their scope and add more units for future tenants.

But before this could occur, a comprehensive survey should be performed first. These are the objectives of a survey before expansion:

  • Determine property line boundaries (avoid encroachment)
  • Determine project scope
  • Plan the shape, layout and area of the project

Aside from land and construction surveying, professional surveyors may also perform flood risk assessments. This is valuable in mitigating the risks and increasing the value of a property (e.g. low flood risk areas will be more appealing to future tenants).

Qualified surveyors will also perform contour and topographic surveying. This is especially important in large-scale projects wherein both the natural and man-made features on and near the area should be considered. Surveyors will study the terrain, sewage systems and other surrounding structures. This aids in better planning of the project scope, shape and layout.

On the other hand, even relatively small projects also need accurate surveying to avoid legal issues related to property encroachment and council regulations. The surveying firm you hire should be knowledgeable in the current regulations and policies in your area.

Renovation of an existing apartment building

As mentioned earlier, 3D scanning and modelling is valuable in evaluating the current condition of an existing building. Developers and engineers will now be able to view the assessment in 3 dimensions. This results to more accurate planning and visualisation.

3D models provide more information including depth and texture. In addition, laser scanning can even reach difficult-to-access areas. This is valuable in acquiring complete information about an apartment’s state.

Aside from providing a complete info, other advantages of 3D laser scanning of a property are:

  • 3x faster than traditional survey methods
  • Fewer site visits
  • Less time on site
  • Fewer interruptions to the client
  • Produces model that’s easier to interpret

The 3D model allows the construction and renovation team to easily view features such as surfaces, planes, lines and edges. The team may even view the model through their web browser for fast and convenient access.

As a result, the 3D model enables faster and more accurate evaluation of the existing site. Accurate information then leads to accurate planning. The engineering and construction team will then be able to formulate a plan that saves on time and expenses.

Existing apartment buildings may undergo renovation due to repairs and upgrades. For example, weathering and years of use will somehow change the structure. In addition, upgrades may also be required for compliance and improved safety (and also improve the appeal of the property).

Modern technologies (3D scanning) coupled with professional expertise will make the repairs and upgrades more cost effective. It’s a result of accurate info gathered together with the extensive experience of surveyors handling the project.

Pre-purchase apartment surveys

More and more investors now want to get into the apartment rentals because of its potential. Some start from scratch (new construction) while some just purchase an existing apartment building.

But before purchasing an apartment building, here are some of the factors investors consider:

  • Building location
  • Potential developments in the area (e.g. establishment of a huge shopping centre will greatly increase the appeal and value of the area)
  • Current condition of the building (e.g. extensive repairs and renovations still required?)
  • Possible legal issues in the structure and location of the property (e.g. property encroachment, non-compliance to building regulations)

In other words, investors consider past, present and future performance of a property or financial investment. They also watch out for possible threats and issues regarding the property.

Apartment properties are no exceptions. Investors also take note of the possible issues with the apartments before they purchase. For instance, if there’s property encroachment and non-compliance related to the property, investors might stay away from it (to protect their reputation and money).

That’s why often investors and developers check all the issues first. They request for a professional surveying of the land and building. This is to know the issues beforehand and prevent legal ramifications later on. There are a few cases that after the purchase the legal issues later surfaced. Investors can avoid this by requesting for surveying.

Investors and property developers may also request for contour and topographic surveys. These allow them to further realise the potential of the property and area. This is where they see the contours, slopes and other natural features of the land. In addition, they get a comprehensive view of the existing commercial facilities and buildings in the area.

As a result, they’re able to make an informed decision before shelling out their money for an apartment building. They gain complete information about the present performance and the huge potential of the property and site. Then they get a higher return on investment (ROI) for their money for the years to come.

Construction surveys for apartment building

Aside from apartment renovation, new construction also requires accurate surveying. This includes:

  • Determining property boundaries
  • Marking boundary corners
  • Construction set out
  • Bulk earthwork surveys (amount and location of land mass to be moved or transported)
  • Topographic survey
  • Flood risk assessment (land elevation, condition of sewage systems)

Accurate surveying leads to accurate planning. That’s why property developers and construction firms only work with reputable surveying firms especially when it comes to large-scale projects.

For example, bulk earthwork surveys are crucial to controlling costs, faster project progress and accurate planning. This is where the earth volume is determined for calculating volumes of cuts and enbankment fills. Accurate calculation will minimise purchase of new land mass (transfer the earth from one place to another instead).

Bulk earthwork and volume surveys also allow for better timeline planning. Engineers can better estimate the number of days or weeks before site preparation is completed. In addition, this minimises costs because there will be fewer delays and lower expenses.

A comprehensive topographic survey will also be done on large project sites. This helps in further visualising the area. This may also allow developers to further take advantage of the natural features of the site. For instance, premium apartment units might be oriented towards the ocean or mountains for better view.

In addition, knowledge about the surrounding roads will aid in orientation of the building. For example, the entry points and main facade of the apartment building should be oriented towards main roads for convenience and easy access to tenants.

Aside from orientation, a comprehensive survey (including topographic) also has huge impacts on the following:

  • Design of the building
  • Shape of the actual job site
  • Strategic positioning of the buildings with respect to one another
  • Creating a focal point
  • Creating a unique brand or feel (e.g. specifically for millennials or retirees?)
  • Blending with the surroundings (or standing out from the crowd)

It starts with an accurate survey. Then, the developers, architects and engineers will explore the possibilities and constraints. This results to an optimal plan that maximises ROI for the owners and other stakeholders.

Why accurate apartment building surveys are important?

In summary, accurate surveying is crucial in all aspects of apartment buildings (new construction, renovation, expansion, upgrade). 3D scanning aids in modifications. Land and topographical surveying are emphasised in new construction (although 3D modelling can also be useful).

Professional surveyors may also perform flood risk assessments (land elevation, water flow, sewage systems). This is to mitigate the risks and protect the owner’s property.

With accurate evaluations and reports, developers can fully explore the potential of a site (while determining the risks). As a result, developers can maximise ROI for years and decades to come.

So if you require accurate surveying services that maximise ROI, contact us here today at Geosurv. Since 2005 we’ve been handling surveying assignments from property developers and government clients. We service the following areas:

  • Sydney
  • Canberra
  • Wollongong
  • Newcastle
  • Adelaide
  • Cronulla
  • Gold Coast

You can also view our Recent Projects here.