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Architect - Curious about Surveying

FNG Member

Hello. I am new to the forums. I am a licensed Architect in CA, CO & WI who also builds in WI. I've hired surveyors for many years primarily for topographic and general surveying for residential and commercial projects. Currently I am primarily focused on designing and building luxury homes. I've always wanted to be able to do my own 'light' surveying for field as-builts and the like. However, I know nothing about the actual surveying and equipment used.

My goal is to learn the basics of what it takes to survey information in the field so I can do two things: get information (point data with location and elevation), and be able to then field stake new information (prospective building corners, posts, etc..). I am a very hands on person who would prefer to invest in light/medium duty equipment and learn how to gather and stake information myself. My goal is NOT to act as a surveyor, or for my information to be used as the official record. I will always use licensed surveyors for my design and construction documents. 

I am a curious person who wants to be able to tool around sites doing the above as a mechanism for better design, and field staking thoughts. I guess that's the best way to say it.

Topic starter Posted : July 22, 2022 1:09 pm
Wendell liked
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Kevin Hines
500+ posts Member

Welcome to the forum.  I'd advise against staking your own designs until you have a few years of construction staking under your belt.  The adage, "architects dream it up, engineers determine if it can work, but surveyors have to make it all fit together" comes to mind.  The art of knowing what a contractor will need, not what he asks for, is also a part of the equation that is best learned by practical experience.  Form a partnership with a land surveyor experienced in construction layout and learn under him/her for a few years before jumping in with both feet.  Good Luck.

Posted : July 22, 2022 2:04 pm
Wendell liked
500+ posts Member

Your best learning will be done in the field with an experienced crew or surveyor willing to let you tag along. Since you will invariably impede their efficiency, it might take a bit of doing to convince someone to bring you along, but it will be very worthwhile for you.

Posted : July 22, 2022 2:57 pm

5,000+ posts Member

It's all about procedure; anyone can turn an angle and measure a distance; but there are only a few of us that know how to do it right...

Posted : July 22, 2022 3:33 pm
holy cow
10,000+ posts Member

Wanting to learn is admirable.  Wanting to do is something else.  You have received excellent advice.  Hook up with an experienced construction surveyor.  Observe and learn.  Do not do.

Posted : July 22, 2022 5:25 pm