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Rekha Jackson Aug 31, 2022 4 min read

5 steps for surveyors to optimize your time onsite

As a surveyor, being prepared is critical before heading on site. Read on for some of our top tips on optimizing that time.

When bound by the confines of client timelines, surveyors often find themselves with a short window of opportunity to carry out a survey. Whether it’s a tight possession on a railway or road network or a fleeting timeslot on an offshore oil rig or production facility, surveyors are just one of the many professionals across the construction supply chain that need site access.

With often demanding environments to contend with, juggling low levels of lighting and adverse weather conditions, navigating around other tradespeople, traffic, or complex equipment, just how does the modern surveyor thrive on time-sensitive projects? Check out our 5 top tips to help optimize time onsite, mitigate costly project delays, and keep clients happy.

1. Choose the right tools for your project

In the last 10 years, the pace of technological change in surveying has exploded. Today’s surveyor has access to some of the most technologically advanced reality capture tools, long gone are the days of hauling around a heavy total station and tripod. Hardware is smaller and more agile than ever before and tough enough to withstand the harshest conditions onsite. The introduction of mobile LiDAR technology has propelled a paradigm shift in the speed of reality capture, with data collected in minutes rather than hours, days, or even weeks.

Take NavVis VLX mobile mapping system, for example, consisting of 2 multi-layer LiDAR sensors and 4 cameras. Capturing an immersive 360-degree view of the site and between 1,000 – 4,500 square meters of survey-grade data in a single dataset, is 10 times faster than a terrestrial laser scanner (TLS). Perfect for complex environments that demand fast data acquisition and clients that need to make time-critical decisions.

There’s no need to waste time setting up a tripod either as the device is wearable, so the surveyor can simply walk around the site unobtrusively collecting data whilst work continues around them. Ideal for working production facilities and minimizing the number of personnel on site, particularly important in light of a new post-COVID-19 working environment.

2. Know your site inside and out

Avoid costly delays due to revisits and rework by finding out as much as possible about the site before arriving. Draw up a detailed plan and method statement in advance and familiarize yourself with site conditions, including the position of stairwells and lighting so you can hit the ground running. Make sure health, safety, and risk assessments are complete ahead of time to prevent unforeseen mishaps that could delay work and risk the safety of onsite personnel.

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3. Check security beforehand

Are all areas of the site accessible? Minimize the risk of incomplete data because access hasn’t been arranged, make sure doors are unlocked and loft spaces are accessible, and make certain you have the right security clearance and permits.

4. Trust in your data

Whether your client needs an as-built verification, clash detection or Scan-to-BIM, when you only get one chance to capture the site, data integrity is critical. How can you guarantee data is reliable and trustworthy?

With NavVis VLX surveyors can capture survey-grade data of the entire site including all objects and structures with up to 5mm accuracy over a 60-meter range. With live mapping information fed back to the surveyor, progress can be monitored against client requirements in real-time ensuring no area is left out. If sub 5mm accuracy is required easily integrate a TLS into a hybrid workflow.

Based on simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) technology the resulting point clouds have less noise, reduced drift errors, and more realistic color, increasing the reliability and precision of the data.

But what about data security? How can I ensure my client’s data is protected and won’t fall into the wrong hands? With NavVis IVION, you can manage, collaborate and publish data securely via the cloud. So, there’s no need to carry around a USB stick or external hard drive that could get lost, damaged, or even corrupt the data. With cloud storage, you can simply log in via any standard web browser to ensure your captured data is where you want it and only accessible to the people you chose.

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5. Maintain your kit

It’s a basic step but one that’s often forgotten - check your kit before you leave.

  • Check that you have the relevant Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
  • Ensure tools are in the best working condition, serviced, calibrated, and fully charged.
  • Save time in the field by checking for firmware upgrades before you leave. Firmware updates could improve data quality and the usability of devices and software by as much as 25%. Check out our on-demand webinar ‘How software updates continually improve NavVis VLX data quality’ to find out more.

Wrapping up

When faced with a tight site possession it’s imperative that surveyors are equipped, prepared and ready to go. Delays at any stage of the building lifecycle can have a significant knock-on effect, impacting other trades, timescales, and ultimately the bottom line. So, when your reputation is at stake and the simplest of mistakes can leave a lasting impression, ensure you can meet and exceed your window of opportunity.

To learn more about how we can add value to time-sensitive projects, reach out to our team of experts today:

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Rekha Jackson

Freelance marketing communications consultant. Passionate about crafting words that make an impact.