Weiss Architecture Studio

Quis autem vel eum iure reprehenderit qui in ea voluptate velit esse quam nihil molestiae lorem.

Survey Guide

An accurate and comprehensive building plan may just be the difference between you getting a successful result in your renovation or a remodeling project, which will break your bank, or be an outright failure. Surveys and floor plans offer a sort of awareness and create a consciousness in the designers and contractors for the necessary walls, wiring, and other required systems needed in the home been designed or remodeled. 

Knowing where certain objects should and would be ahead of time helps your builders remain focus and stay on course, and ensures none of these components are neglected. Properly crafting your floor plan or home survey can prevent costly errors and also helps you avoid unnecessary expenditure, during your building project. It may even save you time, allowing you to finish the work ahead of schedule. 

The temptation is there to immerse yourself directly into your home remodeling or building projects. You feel the sooner you begin, the earlier you finish, don’t you? But that may unfortunately not be the case if have not properly carried out your survey and designed your floor plan upfront. 

There are lots of designers out there, and each of them carries out their surveys differently, but there are steps involved and homeowners need to follow these steps too to get the same or similar result as a professional. 

Why you need a survey or floor plan 

As basic as it may seem, some people may ignore doing a proper survey or drawing a floor plan of their property before they start their work if you’ve ever contemplated that, you need to reconsider.  

After deciding the kind of home you want, you need to do a survey and design a floor plan as soon as possible. A property survey is necessary to determine the boundaries of a property. If you want to buy or sell a property or you’re planning to build a property of your own, you need to either hire a professional surveyor or conduct the survey yourself if you can. If you can take your time, you would get a hang of surveying and know just enough to conduct an approximate survey of where everything should be on your property by measuring and footwork. But when do you need a survey? 

How to know when you need a survey 

There are six situations in which a land survey is most necessary, and in the lines that follow, I’d be sharing those situations with you. 

  1. Get a survey done when you are buying a new property 

The reason for this is quite simple, you need to be sure what you think you are buying and paying for is actually what it promises to be. Additionally, most lenders will require your survey of the property, so a survey is almost unavoidable. 

  1. You need a survey if you want to build something new 

Most neighborhood codes and zoning orders indicates a specific setback required for your property line. You may not be able to obey this to regulation if you do not know precisely where it is your property line lies, consequently, a survey is necessary. 

  1. Everyone whose property has an access easement needs to do a survey 

All homeowners have the right to access their property if it requires easements to access through a neighborhood property. Easements must specify very precisely the axis and width of all access corridors. 

  1. You need to survey if you are selling off your property 

With a current survey on file, the marketability of your property will be greatly improved. There will be more seriousness on the part of buyers to buy your property with the confidence that your property was properly surveyed. 

  1. Do you need to verify your property’s acreage for tax assessments, then you need a survey 

You may need to have your survey on file because your local jurisdiction is likely to ask for it in other to assess your property taxes correctly. 

  1. Is your neighbour building anything new? Get a survey done 

If in any case, you are suspecting an encroachment by your neighbor on your property, or there is a violation of the setback regulations, then you may need a survey on your property immediately. This is necessary so you can initiate legal action if need be. 

What is a floor plan? 

A floor plan is a diagram of a small room or an entire building as viewed from above. Floor plans are mainly scaled diagrams and it may depict the entire building, a single floor or just a room. The diagram may also include several measurements, appliances, furniture or any other necessary item for the plan. 

Why is a floor plan important? 

Floor plans are quite useful for the planning and building of your home. Creating a good floor plan has the potential of increasing the utility you derive from your home, and one of the ways it does this is by creating a good flow between rooms and spaces. It also increases your home resale value. 

Floor plans are also important for the design of wiring systems, furniture layout, and all the details of the building. The plans are valuable materials for leasing companies and real estate agents, as this improves their chances of selling or renting out premises 

The necessary features of good floor plans in designing your home? 

  • A good floor plan is versatile and flexible 

In designing your floor plan, make sure that any time in the future you want to convert say an office into a child’s room, it can easily be done, whether for you or your prospective buyer. 

  • Consider the layout of the room carefully 

Make sure the rooms are away from the entertainment areas. Bathrooms do not have to face the common entertainment areas such as the dining rooms, living room (or lounges). Most people will prefer that the kitchen opens into the living or dining room, this is so that the chef or whoever is cooking can keep tabs on the kids or interact with the guests. 

  • Consider the Size 

When designing a room or hallway, consider the number of people who are likely to be in that space at the same time. Do you have enough room that can ensure guests move around freely? There should be enough room for your furniture which can also accommodate all the planned activities. 

  • It should adapt to your lifestyle and priorities 

Consider what is important to you, if it is entertainment, make sure the kitchen has a good flow to the necessary outside spaces like the dining or living room. For those who work from home, ensure your office faces a spot where enough light flows in and located in a relatively quiet location. Also, consider doing laundry, are you satisfied climbing 2 to 3 floors from the master bedroom before you do your laundry?  

  • Find a balance between practical considerations and architectural details 

Consider your kids’ safety, consider cleaning, cooling, and heating bills before you start infusing some beautiful staircase you fell in love with while on vacation. You can still add those majestic ceiling windows but put the practical considerations first. 

How floor planning affects marketing 

In 2013, a Rightmove study showed that homebuyers consider floor plans not only necessary but very important when finding a home to buy. One in five buyers reported that they would not consider a home without a floor plan. They also rated photos and description of homes or property less than floor plans. On the other hand, when considering to hire a real estate agent, the Rightmove study found that about 42% would not hire an agent who did not offer a floor plan. 

Adding the floor plan of your property to your real estate listing was found to improve your click-through and raise it as much as 52%. 

A floor plan can also be used to communicate with vendors and contractors about any upcoming remodeling project. 

How to obtain the existing floor plan of any property 

The following are simple ways to obtain the floor plans of any property: 

  • Contact your local records office or permit agency 

These agencies often keep some copies of the building or floor plans for some decades after the construction of the building has been done. You may ask the authority for any information required of you before the copies of existing plans are released to you. Provide the necessary information, then go ahead to pick the copy of the plans you want. 

  • Go to the zoning or local planning office 

If it doesn’t work together with the permits agency in the area you live, then visit them separately. Request for a copy of the property’s plan, this should show all the necessary information including the blueprint of your home. 

  • Call the builder or architect who developed your home 

If this information still eludes you, then you may have to consult your mortgage documents. Most builders, especially large contractors, often retain copies of these plans on file. 

  • Contact your real estate agent 

Your real estate agent could have copies of the plans, especially if your house is a new building. If they do not have them, they could help you track down a set of blueprints. 

  • Talk to your neighbors 

Yes, your neighbors may be of help especially in areas where there are many homes built by the same companies or builder, such homes may have identical or similar floor plans. If there are any of your neighbors still in possession of one or more copies of the plans, ask if you can make a copy for yourself. 

Basic steps required for creating your floor plan (Simplified) 

  1. Select an area. Determine the specific area you want to draw 

If you are working on an already existing building, determine how much of the building you want to draw. It could be the plan of a single room, floor, or an entire building. If you’re creating the floor plan of a new building or a building not yet in existence, brainstorming on various designs may be the way to go. Consider the shape and size of the location on which the project will be built. 

  1. take accurate measurements 

If the property you want to work on is already existing, measure the doors, the walls, and important furniture for the floor plan should be as accurate as possible. If the layout of the property been created is for an area not yet worked upon, ensure the total area of land will fit the size of the house to be built on it. You may take a little time to examine other buildings in the same area to have an idea of what is expected of your floor plan. 

  • Draw your walls 

Draw the walls for each room in the building and make sure that you’re drawing them to scale (more on this later). 

  • Add some architectural features 

Add functionality and some unchangeable features to the room by incorporating elements such as doors and windows. Also include the location for appliances like refrigerator, or features like dishwasher, dryer and the other essential equipment which will be placed in different but specific locations. 

  • Add some furniture 

If the floor plan requires it, you may add some furniture to your floor plan such as the wardrobe, cupboard, etc. 

How to draw and measure your floor plan to scale 

Drawing an accurate floor plan is a necessity, whether you are planning to remodel your home or your commercial space, or you simply need the dimensions of your home for your furniture layout. 

To do that properly, here are some simple but important tips to adhere to draw your floor plan to scale. 

  1. Decide which level of accuracy is required 

For the real estate agents or appraisers for who the floor plan is only required to enumerate the building’s approximate size and its interior, the degree of accuracy may not be too necessary. It may be sufficient to measure outside walls to the nearest quarter of a foot or even half afoot. 

In the spatial planning of an interior, for example, a kitchen, that needs to be more accurate. If you are only drawing a primary or preliminary plan for your contractor, then measuring to about 1/4 inch would do. The contractor should also take his measurements before he goes ahead to ordering materials, so your drawing does not have to be perfect, it just has to be “close enough”. When doing the job yourself, you need to be as precise as possible, endeavor to measure at the very least to 1/16 of an inch. 

  1. Begin by measuring the circumference/perimeter 

Take a quick look at the room (or the building’s exterior when measuring exterior dimensions) and view the dimensions of the room so you can get a good mental picture of what you want to do. First, measure the longest walls in the building. To do this, run your tape from one corner of the baseboard to the other. Get a complete wall-to-wall measurement by running your tape from the top of the board to the bottom. If this is not practical, put it on the floor, run the tape, and adjust accordingly the width of the board. To get the measurement of the exterior walls, go from one corner to another corner of the building. 

Repeat the above procedure for the remaining walls. Do not worry about a door opening at the moment. What you need at this point is a precise measurement of all the dimensions of the wall. 

Tip: If you use US/Imperial measurement, using inches is easier than using a combination of inches and feet. You may also find it easier using decimals over fraction. To put in perspective, if you’re measuring a wall that is 10 ‘6-1/2″ long, you may use 126.50 inches, this will make any of your subsequent calculations much easier. 

Once you have measured the perimeter of the room (or the building), check your calculations to make sure the dimensions match. Otherwise, your measurements are not accurate and need to be re-checked or retaken. Also, note the orientation of the rooms in your drawing, these are north, east, south, and west. 

  1. Measure doors and windows 

Measure the distance between the door and the corner nearest to it, and also, note the detail on your drawing. If there are trims or casing, ignore them for now. Then after that, you may go on to measure the door and record the width. The direction the door swings should be noted and shown on the drawing with an arc. After that, measure the width of the various casings located around the door, then note them on your drawing as well 

Measure the windows from one frame edge to the other frame edge, but do not measure them with the trim or casings. Depending on the purpose of the floor plan been drawn, the height of the windows may also be measured, as well as their distance from the ceiling and the floor. 

Instead of writing all of this information on your diagram, you may use the back of the page to show the information about the window or doors. 

  1. Measure the other features 

Other features in the home need to be incorporated, such as the fireplaces, the cabinets, built-in shelves, and the other features and they must all be measured and added to the floor plan. If there are several rooms in your floor plan, ensure you’re accounting for both the interior and exterior walls. Residential constructions typically use 4” interior and 6” exterior walls. 

Locating and measuring the locations of electrical switches, control boxes, thermostats, heating and cooling coils, radiators, and the other elements in the home is a good idea. 

  1. Do the Measurement and drawings for the various elevations 

Floor plans are an overhead view of a room or space. However, an elevation, on the other hand, is a ground-level view of the wall in question, if there is any elevation drawing needed, it should be done on a separate sheet of paper. Ensure you measure the walls required from floor to ceiling. You may also use the wall to wall measurement which you already got. In other not to get confused, label the perimeter of every wall you draw. For instance, dining: south-north elevation. Draw the wall elevations and the elements they will be having, such as doors, windows, switches cabinets, etc. 

Tools required to draw a floor plan 

There is an avalanche of tools when it comes to floor plan drawing. There are 2-D and 3-D drawing tools, as well as offline and online tools. Find a list of a few below. 

  • Smart Draw 
  • AutoCAD 
  • Autodesk