Explained: Feature and Level Survey for a Car Park Design Upgrade
WHAT IS A FEATURE AND LEVEL SURVEY?
Our client is from a ASX listed supermarket chain and was investigating a redesign proposal for their current car parking infrastructure at a Inner West location in Sydney. It had already been identified that the vehicle movement patterns in the existing design had multiple flaws which was creating constantly high levels of congestion across the car park. The higher congestion rates was deemed a high risk for people visiting the site & considered unacceptable for the retailer.
In order to help solve this property management issue and improve the car parking facilities available the experienced Realserve land survey team set about creating a Features and Levels Survey. A feature and level survey deals with the ground level and the contours of the surrounding land, identifies existing or adjoining structures (including current buildings and fences), shows things like trees or other vegetation and helps to identify underground factors like drains and utility services.
The detail provided in a feature and level survey can help to make decisions around what potential there is for the development of an existing building or infrastructure in relation to where or how it is placed on the property. Some people may refer to this as a Detail & Contour Survey and it essentially means the same thing.
HOW DID WE COMBINE 3D BUILDING SCANNING WITH A FEATURE AND LEVEL SURVEY?
The heavy traffic movement in and around the car park complex in Sydney’s Inner West meant the Realserve survey field technicians had to really think outside the box to complete this project. Using traditional survey techniques to complete this job was going to be too difficult because having our Realserve surveyors set up in the car park for extended periods of time would have been a safety risk to them and the general public. Therefore, to reduce the time spent in the carpark the Realserve team created a workflow which utilised a combination of traditional feature and level survey techniques combined with 3D terrestrial laser scanning.
Traditional 2D Survey for the outside
The features and levels survey details outside the car park were collected using traditional survey techniques along with locating the control targets for the 3D data to ensure accurate registration and to Australian Height Datum (AHD).
3D Building Scanning for the inside
On the inside of the busy car park we used one of our FARO 3D terrestrial scanners that were safely set up in multiple locations where they could complete scans in a few minutes per set up to collect the necessary data to complete the project. It meant we could return to the office and use the data from the scanner to create a 3D point cloud where all the information required to complete the Feature and Levels Survey was extracted.
Utilising the Faro 3D scanner enabled our team to capture the as built data in precise detail in approximately half the time that traditional surveying alone would have taken. The other benefits of utilising modern 3D surveying technology to complement the traditional surveying methods on this project included;
- Capturing additional information; not just the essential data but further information which could give designers a greater visual picture for reference on this project and future developments
- Reduced disruption to the carpark traffic flow by having less survey staff on site and thus less areas closed off for safe work practices
- The ability to safely survey in normal business hours. Traditional surveying methods alone on this project would have required an assistant’s help to survey each existing individual car park. Typically to avoid Work Health and Safety risks associated with taking these measurements, surveys would need to be conducted outside of the supermarket trading hours.
By using 3D building scanning technology the Realserve surveying team can deliver more detail. Rather than supplying a Feature and Level survey on its own as a PDF and CAD file, the 3D scanning done for this project allowed us to supply the client with the Feature and Level Survey combined with the 3D point cloud data to Australian Height Datum (AHD).
3D Building Scanning data can be used for other purposes
One of the other benefits of 3D building scanning is that the data can be utilised by a property owner, the Realserve team, or architects for a multitude of other purposes. Realserve could use the point cloud data collected to prepare an Existing Conditions / As Built Building Elevations plan for example which would provide the client with information regarding the building facade heights, current signage etc.
For this project the other aspect that could have been addressed was if the property owner was looking to extend the retail property access roads or the actual car park to create better traffic flows we could have provided a Boundary Identification Survey to ensure absolutely clarity around the space available.
THE FEATURE AND LEVEL SURVEY OUTPUTS
- Accuracy – the combination of survey techniques meant the Feature and Level Survey was extremely accurate
- Safety – our process ensured that our own team, the general public and our client’s staff were kept safe at all times.
- Efficiency – our surveying technique meant that the property could function as normal without any impact on trading while we conducted the survey. Using the combination of technology meant we could complete the required work quickly and safely.
- Detailed – through the utilisation of our 3D laser scanner we could deliver a Feature and Level Survey that was extremely detailed & accurate.
WHAT ELSE COULD HAVE BEEN DONE?
For this project the client could have also had the following completed;
- Have had a 2D Existing Conditions drawing produced which the engineers and architects could have used to create new design for the improved carpark.
- Have a 3D Revit Model produced from which the new design could have been created.
- Had a Car Parking Plan created if redesigning the car park was not a viable option from which they could have optimised traffic management for the existing design.
- Had a Matterport 3D Virtual Tour produced of the car park allowing the design team to easily visualise the current conditions helping them make informed decisions for the new design.