A provisional sum is a sum of money allocated for a particular activity that is not fully defined, but it needs to be considered for a construction project.
In the context of measured building survey and topographical survey an architect may request for a provisional sum quotation to propose to their client.
What this means is that the client or architect is not entirely aware of the extent of the construction proposal and would need a ball park figure to add in their budget. This happens because of a few reasons:
The client is not decided on the extension option of their property (i.e. roof extension or ground floor extension)
The planning application may be complicated and the outcome of the planning process may determine the option to go for
The client is just looking for a budget price to get a loan
The provisional sum on its own is not part of the scope for deliverable until the client instruct it to be included. When the client instructs the architect or surveyor they will then confirm the scope and price (if there are any changes) and it will proceed.
The client does not need to pay for the provisional sum in the contract as it is not defined as a deliverable.
Make sure the provisional sum is itemised in the quotation as it will make it easier to identify only the amount due to the contractor/surveyor/designer when they apply for their fees. It is quite common for poorly managed practices to ‘hide’ the provisional sum value within a lump sum but never deliver the item.
The contractor/surveyor/designer will not need to deliver the provisional sum until it is instructed to proceed.
You can get a quote for a measured building or topographical survey from us by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A section plan is a vertical slice drawings showing the internal features of your property. It is similar to an elevation plan. However, it shows the internal features of the property. It is common to have the section plan drawn in the middle of the property’s staircase. The section plan is to help the architect to get an idea of the height of the internal floors of the property and the features on the wall.
The section plan is usually combined with other plans on a measured building survey. This can include floor plans, elevations, topographical plans, roof plans. They are usually requested by your architect, and can also be produced from floor plans and elevations but it may take an architect or someone who has not visited the house a lot longer to produce.
A section plan is a 2D drawing of your house, showing it from all angles vertically. It’s a bird’s eye view of your home, from the side (well..through the house). It also shows the interior and exterior walls.
You can use section plans to communicate with builders or renovators so they can see what you want done in the right way. The plan is usually drawn on one sheet of paper but sometimes it will span two or three sheets if there are many rooms or views that need to be shown on it.
A section plan is a graphic representation of a building or object, usually in cross-section.
A section plan can be used to show the arrangement of different rooms, spaces and/or levels within an interior environment.
You can use a section plan for your own home or for any other building or vehicle you might want to see in details
Here are some examples of a section plan:
It is important to note (to avoid confusion):
The difference between an elevation and a section is that the elevation shows the external vertical plan of the building and the section shows the internal. It is quite common that we get enquiries asking for external sections, which does not exists… So if you are looking for external plan you’d need an elevation plan.
There are a few different ways to create a section plan. One common method is by hand, but it’s also possible to use software such as AutoCAD or SketchUp. To start, you’ll need to draw a 2D line drawing of your house.
You would want to start to draw up all your floor plans first so that you can get the layout and vertical dimensions (room height, door height and windows).
Once you’re done you have to draw your section line and which direction you need to draw.
then you would want to start aligning the floors against your section so that you can draw your internal of your house, then your height of each floor.
Then the hardest part is what you see from the section line. Check out the examples above to give you an idea of what features to pick
Then you can add labels and dimension lines on the house plans to indicate height, depth, and width as well as material types and construction details. Labels are useful for showing the location of rooms and other features on your building as well as giving an overview of any special structural elements that might be present in your home (such as trusses).
How to read or draw a section plan.
A section plan is a drawing that shows the cross-section of a building. It can be drawn to show all of the floors, or it can show just one floor.
A section plan is different from an elevation, which shows an outside view of your house. A section plan shows how your house looks from inside or underneath it.
A section plan can give you good information about your house
A section plan is a drawing of a house in cross-section, which means it shows how the house is built from the inside down to its foundation. A section plan can show you:
The layout of each room in your house
How materials like wood, stone and metal are used within each room
How different parts of the house connect together (like walls with floors)
A floor plan is a drawing which indicate the features of a floor for your property. In the context of a measured building survey, a floor plan consists of indicating all fixed features, as well as height information of the room, windows, doors and any beams on the ceiling.
It differs greatly from your estate agent floor plan. The floor plan produced by your estate agent is not accurate enough for planning permission and construction drawings. They do not include room, window, door height or even show indications of beams. But they are good enough when you are trying to sell your property.
In addition the floor plans produced from a measured building survey is accurate as it measures the angle of the room. To undertake a proper measured building survey plan, you will need specialist equipment which ranges from £250-1000 a week to hire. This is why a measured building survey’s floor plan is slightly more expensive and take a lot longer to produce than the estate agent’s floor plan. To better explain what a floor plan is we have included a screenshot of a floor plan below:
The above floor plan uses an equipment called FARO 3D scanner, this is fairly expensive but very accurate. There are other equipments such as a total station that can be used to create the same output. But this can result in the survey taking a lot longer to complete (roughly 2-3 hours per floor). Whereas, the use of a FARO 3D scanner we can survey a floor in roughly 1 – 1.5 hours depending on the area and the number of rooms on that floor.
We get over 20+ enquiries in a week, some of the time the client has no clue what they are requesting as they have been directed by their architect or a friend. Sometimes it confuses the client, and he or she ends up paying for too much or ‘quite often’ too little.
Coming from a commercial background and looking after projects in the £millions, we have to take certain steps to ensure that we get the best value for money and that we are not underserved or over-served. This is one of the reasons you engage a quantity surveyor on your project – to ensure you are purchasing the right service for the right price and the right contract.
In this article I am going to show you a few things to consider when requesting for prices (quotes) for your measured building survey and topographical survey. This will ensure you get a comparable survey which will give you the most competitive and correct quote for your job.
#1 Prepare and send the same scope of work to all the surveyors
Most of the time you would be provided with a brief scope from your architect or nothing at all. You might just be asked to get a measured building survey or topographical survey of your property, and that is it. This can be difficult for the surveyor to price and quote the job properly and cause for back and forth communication until the scope is defined. This can happen with several other surveyors and they might each price something differently.
If the scope is correctly defined, all the tenderers (surveyors) will need to have the same & correct information to price on. Most surveyors will just need the minimum of the following information:
Full address of the property (with a site plan)
Rough area per floor
How many plans and type (floor plans, sections, elevations, etc…)
To help you, we have written this very simple scope sheet that you can use to send to the surveyors in your area to get a quote.
#2 Do your due-diligence – check their insurances
Most land surveyors that you will find online or in the yellow pages do not have insurance or the wrong type of insurance. This is a must if they are working on your property and delivering work for your architect and the rest of your project. If they provided the wrong information and your architect & builder relies on it and caused you financial loss for the mistake you need to ensure that the surveyor is covered for this and compensate for the mistake. Without insurance you cannot recover the losses you have incurred.
You need to ensure their insurance covers their service; i.e. land surveying or measured building survey. You also need to ensure that they have insurance to cover damages to your property while they are within your premises or to the public.
#3 Ask for samples (if they have not provided them)
Each surveyor or surveying company have their format of producing the plans for your property. Some are cumbersome, and some have too little details. This is also another way to check the skills of the surveying company – you get to see what they can produce.
If most of their plans look ‘squared up’ then the method they are using are not accurate. Most buildings are not straight and have certain deviations on the floors and walls. This may cause issues and additional costs when designing your property for construction. The materials for the internal parts of your building might not fit in.
Just to recap; If the plans are too ‘squared’ then it may not be wise to choose that particular surveyor for the survey as they may not measure the true angle of your property.
#4 Review everything with your architect
If you have an architect, it is best you run through the quotes in detail with your architect to ensure that what they are going to survey captures everything he needs for your planning application as well as for the construction. For example, some features such as sockets and lights are not standard features to measure in a measured building survey.
You can also ask your architect to review the scope that you have to produce to ensure that you are sending the right information to the surveyors.
To summarise, just make sure that you send as much and the same information to surveyors to get the right price. Use our Scope Sheet for Surveying to help you get started.