Starting capital projects off right requires not just knowledge of your fundamental assets, but accurate data on those assets as well. Many times, people depend on information about their assets from old paper drawings, flat files, blueprints, public documents, etc. Unfortunately, these older files are often not reliable. Those drawings, which may have been accurate at one point in time, may not be up to date. It is common for buildings to shift, sag, or undergo undocumented renovations. With that being said, you will not know the current condition of the building by looking at old drawings. To avoid wasting time and money, it is crucial to make sure that your documentation is correct before you invest in your capital project renovation. The question is, where do you start and who can document your asset without wasting time or money? Do you try to cobble something together from existing documentation and have a team verify and adjust existing drawings, or do you start from scratch? This is where you need an experienced team to help you sort out the best and most efficient way forward to get you exactly what you need.
As we have covered some of the terminology in the industry, it is time to discuss the various forms of technology that can be employed to gather the information about the existing conditions for a capital project. There are many companies that provide laser scanning services, but finding one with a wide range of both experience and technology is essential to find the best solutions at the lowest cost. State-of-the-art survey-grade laser scanning equipment is not cheap, but it is essential to maintain a high level of accuracy for a project.
Architectural surveying companies also should be experts in all aspects of the job, from kickoff to delivery. Below is a list of some of the technologies that are useful to employ, and how they can help you on your next capital project.
Commercial drone technology services are used for campus wide surveying, accurate building envelope evaluations, gross square footage calculations, and building footprints. This data will show you the current state of the asset rather than depending on out-of-date satellite or street-view images. This is a low-cost option for getting large amounts of visual data before you make large investments.
Jared Curtis is the president of Existing Conditions, Boston, Mass.