Why do I need a surveyor?

Why do I need a surveyor featured image, sam standing next to jigger

Why do I need a surveyor?

I had a valued client tell me they were asked about the need to use a surveyor on a construction project or to carry out as-built survey. “Why do you need to use a surveyor to do that, can’t you save the money and do it yourself?”

It’s a fair question and one we’re faced with quite a lot.

We all know why we go to the dentist, why we go to a doctor or need an accountant. But why do you need to use a surveyor?

There’s actually so much more to the answer than just “measures things and presses buttons”. Here’s why you need a surveyor and why it’s worth investing in one.


Technology still needs the expert oversight of a surveyor

Technology is great, we all use it to help solve problems. Measurement and geospatial technology is increasingly common; tools such as GPS (or GNSS), laser scanners, lidar, drones, total stations and sensors. Precise measurement tech like this is becoming much less expensive to buy and easier to operate.

So why do I need a surveyor to take measurements, couldn’t I just do it myself?

Despite being more accessible, technology is only a part of the outcome and can’t deliver the whole picture on its own. It’s important to know why and what the measurements will be used for.

Design, construction, maintenance, and management of the built environment is based on measurements. In a construction project, measurements in many cases can dictate not only quantities (such as size, shape and volume), but also people’s behaviour (like workplace health and safety behaviours) and processes (to increase efficiencies throughout the project). One wrong measurement may have a flow on effect to many things so it’s often critical to ensure you have complete trust in the measurements you are working with.

Surveyors are educated in the field of measurement and hold specific qualifications. This means they have mastered their skill in managing high volumes of precise measurement. They perfect this with many different technologies and methods through years of experience, just like any other professional. Surveyors are able to identify any measurement data which as the potential to be misleading and have negative consequences to a project outcome. They can also ensure that the data being used is free from errors and therefore can be replicated. This type of analysis can’t be delivered by technology or tools alone.


A specialist surveyor can recommend the best technology and methodology for the outcomes you’re looking for

Depending on what you need the measurement data for, the level of accuracy of the data might change. In turn, the level of accuracy needed will influence the technology and methods that will need to be employed. Surveyors use their experienced judgment and specialised skills to determine which technology and methods will deliver the best outcome for each stage and subsequent stage of a project.

So, if you are just doing a schematic design with little certainty of future investment , it is likely a surveyor would recommend a lower cost technology with a simpler method to support lesser investment up front. However, if you were looking to proceed through to detailed design and construction, it highly likely the surveyor  would recommend a technology and method that would provide the ongoing value for that investment though the lifecycle of the project.

However, a surveyor does more than carefully select the methodology and technology needed to deliver a measurement outcome.


Surveyors are objective third parties with public interest in mind

The measurements registered surveyors make are trusted and acted upon by others, like engineers, builders, architects, developers and asset managers. They inform critical decisions, actions they take and advice they give. This means, the information has to be provided by an objective party who has duty not only to the client, but the broader public. Because the flow-on effects of such decisions and actions have consequences for not just the project itself, but the community at large.

Registered surveyors adhere to a professional code of conduct and are responsible for the information they provide, meaning they can be personally liable for their conduct and performance.


A surveyor is to construction what a radiologist is to a doctor

To compare to another industry, let’s consider measurements in the medical field. Doctors use radiologists to do x-rays of patient before treating their patients. They use a pathologist to analyse their blood sample and so on. Doctors rely on the critical measurements and analysis of these experts. If the data is incorrect it’s highly likely conditions will get worse – people may even die!

There’s more to radiology than pressing the button on an x-ray machine. The same goes for measurements of the built environment for critical decisions.

If you’re still thinking you can DIY, ask yourself, what is the reward versus the potential risk?


  • Surveyors are qualified professionals in the measurement and geospatial field
  • Surveyors are objective and have a duty to provide ethical, accurate data
  • Technology needs to be paired with the right methodology to deliver data with the right level of accuracy for specific outcomes
  • Surveyors follow standards and a professional code of conduct and are held responsible for the measurements they provide


If you’re ready to invest in a surveyor, contact us Land Solution Australia. We can help with an optimal measurement data outcome to balance risk and reward on your project.

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