The Importance of a Site Survey

Whatever the scope of works, if design work is required then almost certainly a detailed survey is also required.

What is a site survey ?
In it’s simplest terms a site survey is the accurate measurement and mapping of a tract of land.

A survey will mark features such as boundary limits, buildings, roads, fences, vegetation, waterways and services as well as the topography of the site and elevations of important features. The information will typically be presented to scale on paper and in a common digital format that can be read into CAD and Modelling software.

Depending on the landform and other site factors modern surveys are produced using Total Station, GPS positioning and airborne LIDAR surveying techniques, either solely or in combination.

A Total Station measures using infrared light which reflects off a prism. Angles and distances are recorded into a data logger which are downloaded to a computer later.

GPS postioning works using a network of satellites which send signals to reference stations usually mounted on tipods. The Surveyor uses a Rover Receiver which then transmits the postions to a data logger.

Air surveys (LIDAR) involves a aircraft and a laser surveying instrument. Using GPS positioning and laser beams the equipment is able to measure thousands of points per second the distances between the aircraft and the earth’s surface.

How it’s used.
Once we’ve got the survey we can begin the design process. Based on the survey we will do a full topographical analysis which helps us to establish the areas best suited to golf.

A comprehensive design package will then be produced, all of which are done using the survey as a base. On site, the staking plan is used by the surveyor to mark out the key locations such as tees, turning points and greens. Clearing work and mass earthworks will then take place.

Golf Course Staking

Above : Dave Sampson on site at Zavidovo in Russia checking the Golf Course Staking. In the front is a Staking Pole used to locate the Tees, Turning Points and Green Centre Points. In the background smaller poles are used to locate the golf course features such as green / bunker / fairway edge.

The surveyor will use the 3D digital information we provide throughout the construction phase to set-out, level and check the complete golf course. Much of today’s modern construction machinery is fitted with GPS technology which allows the machine operators to accurately follow the design and ensure that what is built is exactly how it was designed.

Peace of mind.
A good site survey can be one of the most important decisions  a client can make. Cutting corners with a site survey at the outset can have a massive impact on budget down the line. If levels or boundary lines are found to be incorrect during construction it may lead to redesign fees or additional earth movement costs as well as delays to the construction programme. Accurately locating and marking out sites of historical, archaeological or environmental importance as well as all underground services is vital as they can all have major design and contruction implications.

It’s also important to have a surveyor onsite during construction checking the works as they progress, compiling detailed as-built plans of all golf features as well as the location of other construction elements such as drainage and irrigation lines.

Is there an alternative ?
Not really. Although you can get detailed aerial images and OS data from the likes of Google, which may be very helpful for presentation work or concepts, a full site survey is something that should always be allowed for in the overall costings.