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Role of a Surveyor in Construction Field

Surveying is an important role in the construction field since it’s aimed at producing constructions that meet the client’s value system. Surveyors play a critical role in the construction process by actively engaging in the surveying, setting out, taking measurements and other related works in order to deliver the best outcome. The involvement of surveyors impact all phases of a facility’s life cycle including its feasibility assessment, design, construction, extension, refurbishment, maintenance, and demolition. The work role of a surveyor can be divided into three main segments; field work, office work and instrument care and adjustments.

During the construction process the surveyor’s field work responsibilities include the taking of field notes, and extract measurements of respective points, distances, and angles.  This is a critical factor that needs to be accurate since the success of the whole project will depend upon these measurements and notes provided by the surveyor, and any minor error can lead to the project’s failure.

Surveyor’s office work includes the drafting, computing and designing. The drafting process consists of the preparation of plans according to onsite measurements and scales in order to prepare accurate topographic maps

A construction surveyor has a lot of responsibilities to handle and this can be determined further by identifying the surveyor’s role in a piling project and the significant contribution necessary on their part to ensure a successful outcome for the project.

At the initiation of a project the site needs to be inspected by the surveyor to carry out an in depth analysis and assessment in order to align the proposed design with the existing boundaries and the topological features of the site. If the design is not suitable with the site upon analysis, the surveyor is responsible to recommend a new orientation and layout in order to proceed with the construction.

In a piling project the structural engineer submits a layout indicating the pile locations to the contractor and the surveyor has to establish control points at the site in order to ensure the control points will not be disturbed by the construction work. According to these controls, the surveyor has to calculate piling design and coordinates with the consultant or the client to obtain approvals. In incidents in which the sites are located close to the sea it is required to obtain approvals from the necessary authorities as well. Finally when the piling work is underway, the surveyor should ensure that the piling indications are followed accurately in order to avoid delays at later stages of the project.

As a result, the surveyor is responsible to indicate accurate pile locations on the ground so that the rig operators can install a temporary casing based on the instructions provided. After installation of the casing, surveyor has to check and verify whether the center of the casing is on the design coordinates and whether the verticality of temporary casing is satisfactory. If any of those two is not in satisfying range to proceed, rig operators have to correct it and reinstall the casing based on the surveyor’s instructions. However, it is the responsibility of the surveyor to convince the consultant that the location and verticality is good enough for construction.

After completing the pile casting works, the surveyor has to indicate the location to excavate and expose the pile, because most piles are terminated underground. It is then the responsibility of the surveyor to mark the cutoff levels on exposed piles and note the as built pile location of each and every hacked pile for the consideration of the consultant. This as-built drawing prepared by surveyor will be submitted to the consultant for further approvals in order to move on the next stage of the project’s construction and complete the piling phase as per the assigned time frame.

Even though piling teams mobilizes to a new location after completing the casting of all piles in one site, the surveyor’s job will continue on the site through weekly site assessments including; settlement monitoring and alignment monitoring.  As a result a surveyor has to provide his service for at least two piling teams at once which highlights his/her challenging role in the construction process.

Therefore, it is essential for surveyors to balance their work accordingly, implementing the highest quality standards to ensure that no mistakes are allowed and that work is completed within the pre-determined time frames.

Content by : Nilusha Hemal Alahakoon – Senior Surveyor

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