Ian Bush, Chair of Survey4BIM, highlights the importance of the survey across all stages of the BIM process…

Location is known as the fourth decision driver when it comes to major construction projects, behind cost, time and complexity. In many ways location is taken for granted; the positioning of structures on the land beneath our feet is the one concrete aspect we can see with our own eyes amidst the uncertainty of ever-changing budgets, timescales and designs. However, for location to truly drive a project, you need precision. For precision, you need geospatial technology — and the professional surveyor who knows how to implement it.

The need for ongoing reliable and accurate spatial data is critical. The consequences of getting the position wrong at any stage of a construction project can impact the programme and cost. At handover to the client, the ability to navigate easily and quickly around the facility will pay back in spades through its lifespan. BIM is gradually changing the way the UK and global construction sectors operate. But BIM is only as good as the professionals feeding the model. We cannot forget that however all-encompassing BIM is, all construction sites sit on the land and that brings topographical and positional challenges. The geospatial data that feeds GIS and CAD is still necessary — even more so now it will factor into the information model that will see buildings and major infrastructure through from conception to demolition. 

The surveyor not only has the specific geospatial skills and awareness of the BIM process to ensure that successful implementation of coordinates on site can be managed throughout this lifecycle, but is also a key player in the successful management of a construction project. The surveyor is there to advise, to direct and guide the client through the fast-changing technology that will give the precision to build where you need to build, to meet where you need to meet and, just as importantly, to avoid what you need to avoid.

A new guide, recently published on the Survey4BIM pages of the BIM Task Group website, highlights the key elements where a surveyor’s expertise can make the difference. Survey and the Digital Plan of Works is not intended to be a definitive guide to BIM or surveying. It aims to give clients and survey practitioners alike a pragmatic understanding of the sequential development process, highlighting the issues for both to consider. The overarching aim is that readers will finish the guide with a better sense of the key role that professional surveyors can play in the wider BIM process.

Survey and the Digital Plan of Works

Download Survey and the Digital Plan of Works (.pdf, 3.2Mb) download from the Survey4BIM pages on the BIM Task Group Website.

About Survey4BIM

Survey4BIM externallinkis a cross-industry group open to all organisations involved in the survey, collection, management, processing and delivery of geospatial information within the context of building information modelling (BIM). 

The group involves clients, contractors, consultants, suppliers, subcontractors, institutions, academia and other bodies — reflecting the composition of the construction sector in which it operates.

Survey4BIM’s mission is to provide a forum for survey organisations and industry professionals to collaborate and share their journeys putting BIM into practice, and to provide best practice guidance documents on survey  matters relating to BIM.