YouCad Guidelines for surveying buildings

The Tools you will need to complete your survey.

  • 8m metal tape: A standard tape measure--rigid, retractable and lockable.
  • Clipboard: A standard clipboard is sufficient.
  • Graph paper: The grid lines make it much easier to sketch an accurate plan. Paper with faint lines is preferred because penciled lines stand out better on it.
  • Drafting equipment: Pencil, erasers, ruler, black or blue pen
  • Digital camera
  • YouCad survey techniques

    Having a friend to help can really make this process easier, they can hold the other end of the tape and also point out areas you may miss, buildings can be measured solo but if you can get help do so.

    Sketch the basic floor plan on your paper including the wall, window, and door locations, all of this prior to taking any measurements. Sketch the exterior outlines first, then the interior. Don't worry too much about it being proportional as the dimensions and photographs will cover those issues.

    Measure the outside first, filling in dimensions on your sketch for the key features--window and door openings, projections (chimneys, porches, bay windows, etc.), joints between the original building and additions, etc. Do not worry about minor features such as wood trim and moldings, changes in materials etc.

    Measure in running dimensions, whenever this is possible. Fix the tape at one corner and run the tape along the side of the building, reading the measurement at each measurable feature. This will greatly reduce the accumulation of errors caused by measuring each feature separately. Vegetation and other factors may force you to take individual measurements on occasion.

    Keep the tape as level as possible for more accurate measurements. Be sure to start at a level that allows you to get measurements for the key features. For example, don't start so low on the wall that your tape runs below the level of the windows.

    On the interior, measure each room's overall dimensions in addition to placing interior doorways, closets, etc. This will help resolve discrepancies that may arise when drawing up the plan. Interior measurements do not need to include windows and doors along the exterior walls that have already been measured from the outside.

    Measure wall thickness as these will need to be drawn.

    Make additional measurements and notes on the drawing as you see fit. These should include the ceiling height, flooring or wall materials, etc. as you will be taking photographs of the building you can let the camera do as much of this "descriptive" work as possible.

    Label the drawing with the name and/or address of the building, the names of those who measured it, and the date. The field drawing with all of your dimensions should be kept along with your finished drawing.

    Create a legend or key if it helps finally you can scan your survey and email to us, you may wish to draw your plans up neater and go over the pencil with a pen for clarity.