Hitech BIM Services

Hitech BIM Services

Ahmedabad, IN


How does BIM benefit surveyors for a retrofitting project?

By HiTechBIMServices
Jul 12, '18 8:33 AM EST

Building information modeling extends a collaborative approach where every decision maker – engineer, architect or the general contractor himself - involved in a construction project can benefit for informed decision making process through common data environment – especially when there is a part of construction already done or retrofitting. This fact has been well known across the construction industry but the benefits of BIM to surveyor remains quite skeptical.

Can surveyors derive substantial benefits from BIM? – is a question that is long standing from acceptance by the surveyor’s fraternity.

What does a surveyor do?

But in reality, since a surveyor’s job spans across the lifecycle of a construction project, they can gain the best and extensive benefits from BIM. The virtual design and construction (VDC) capabilities enable Surveyors to gain better control over the construction process and introduce efficiency across their work profile during and before the construction on-site breaks the ground.

Another major activity for the surveyor is when a certain building is under retrofitting mode or is being refurbished. Such are the cases common with historic buildings like museums or archaic buildings like institutional buildings. Surveyors occupy a prominent position during such projects. The existing building facility is captured through laser scanning and studied by converting point cloud data to BIM models for downstream works.

Additionally, enlisted are some of the major works carried out by a surveyor on a typical construction project.

  • Surveyors ensure that construction projects are completed within budget and as scheduled
  • A surveyor prepares scheme designs with detailed specifications and costing
  • Organizes and approves documents for tenders
  • Surveys and determines the condition of existing buildings
  • Accesses building designs to determine if they are fit for people with disabilities
  • Surveyors also advises on energy efficiency and sustainability for a building
  • Additionally building survey for health and safety in an occupant structures also falls under the job profile of a surveyor
  • Feasibility studies for retrofitting and renovation across the lifecycle of the project  are carried out by surveyors

How does BIM help Surveyors during retrofitting of a construction works?


Surveyor’s job predominantly is to work with various measurements, values, costs, schedules dimensions and demarcations that are derived from reliable and accurate sources of data. BIM actively helps surveyors in accessing and analyzing all this data in form of geometries, numerals, and necessary foot notes [with annotations to building object and modeled elements] for explicit information.

As-built BIM models help in visualizing the data, ultimately empowering surveyors not just with the information, but with insights too. And this insight enables survey professionals to do right analysis in order to advice architects and contractors in the best interests of occupants and all the stakeholders involved in the building design and development projects.

For instance, the simplest way to define a surveyor’s role with BIM implemented project is when there is conversion of point cloud scan to BIM, if not the entire building construction project from scratch. While preparing the BIM models in as-built conditions of the building, construction works or the infrastructure can be evaluated for the construction works post the scanning and redesigning the project.

With appropriate level of detailing of designs in BIM the project grows and reflects a development stage that for construction management related decisions. Issues related to constructability, potential clashes, challenges in construction a wall or taking off one, time and cost, etc. can be evaluated, risks can be measured and mistakes can be rectified early by a team collaboration between the engineers and the surveyors.   

Opportunities for Surveyors

  • BIM for surveyors improves collaboration and co-ordinations amongst multi‐disciplinary teams
  • Surveyors with help of BIM, can measure embodied CO2e in buildings and recommend remedies
  • BIM helps the surveyor make the work quicker in minimum cost
  • Creates obtainable concurrent information about project performance & ongoing maintenance of the property
  • BIM helps in sustainability and produce accessible synchronous information regarding project performance
  • Surveyors can optimize their work profile effectively with help of BIM
  • Accuracy in decision making for spatial planning, material orders, and QTOs – in case of retrofitting

Evolvement of BIM over years has proved that it is here to stay. BIM certainly helps surveyors to do their jobs better & with greater collaborative input. It is clear that with the growing spread and acceptance of BIM amongst rest of the professionals in the building construction and infrastructure development industry, BIM for surveyors is equally vital whether it is a project of new construction works or retrofitting a really old one. There is no scope to be skeptical in accepting it as the benefits are far more than what human factor can do.