Why a detailed physical survey is worthwhile

Why a detailed physical survey is worthwhile

When you’re planning to invest time and money into a project there’s some things you shouldn’t skimp on. This includes a physical survey of the site to ensure you have accurate information about the topography, existing structures and services, natural features, boundaries, and other relevant details. 

A physical site survey is an expense upfront that will, without a shadow of a doubt, save you time and money in the long run. Once you have accurate knowledge of the site, this can be provided to your consultants to use as the basis for their designs, whether that be for buildings or other works.

If consultants have correct information, they can adjust the design and ensure it will work with the constraints of the site as they are currently. Outdated or no information leads to designers making assumptions and that can be a problem once you get on site. If something is not as expected changing the completed design will cost you time and money.

Variations made when you are already on site are guaranteed to be more expensive than if you had invested in a survey upfront. Whilst you cannot foresee every issue, you are more likely to capture most of them with a detailed, physical site survey.

Information from councils should not be relied upon as a substitute for a survey as it is not always complete or correct. Usually council expects property owners to provide them with information about where services are located on a site.  Site surveys are also an opportunity to pick up on where existing fences and walls are built relative to the boundary line. There’s always a chance your neighbour could have built over their boundary, which may have flow on impacts for your project.

The Wilkinson Shaw & Associates team provides survey briefs for each of our projects to the surveyor and is happy to provide further information about what’s involved.

Get in touch with our team via office@wilkinsonshaw.com.au or call (07) 3555 9888 to discuss your survey needs.

Please note that whilst every effort has been made to provide current and accurate information, Wilkinson Shaw & Associates does not guarantee that this blog is free from errors or omissions or is suitable for your intended use. Standards and requirements change frequently so every proposal should be thoroughly investigated.

Operational Works explained

Operational Works explained

Operational Works is defined in Queensland’s planning legislation and is work – other than building, plumbing or drainage – that impacts a site.

Basically, the term encompasses a wide variety of tasks that will change the land.

Types of Operational Works (OW) include:

  • Earthworks including excavation, filling of land or changing ground levels
  • Removing vegetation on site
  • Civil work for subdivisions like connecting to existing infrastructure or other works that need to be done as part of changing the use of a site
  • Roadworks
  • Stormwater, water, and sewer infrastructure
  • Driveway crossovers
  • Car parks
  • Streetscape modifications
  • Putting up an advertising device (e.g. billboard)
  • Prescribed tidal works.

In all cases a development permit is needed to undertake any Operational Works on a site. This approval might be required separately to, or together with, a development application.

Civil engineers complete the Operational Works application to council for the required works. This process includes reviewing the site, gathering all the documentation required by council and preparing designs as well as plans related to the Operational Works needed.

Each site is unique so the Operational Works required can vary greatly. The expertise of a civil engineer will help you identify and appropriately plan for the application and execution of the work.

Wilkinson Shaw & Associates can help you obtain Operational Works approval for your project. Get in touch with our team via office@wilkinsonshaw.com.au or call (07) 3555 9888 to discuss your project.

Please note that whilst every effort has been made to provide current and accurate information, Wilkinson Shaw & Associates does not guarantee that this blog is free from errors or omissions or is suitable for your intended use. Standards and requirements change frequently so every proposal should be thoroughly investigated.

Aerial surveys and imagery

Did you know that Wilkinson Shaw & Associates have the ability to undertake surveys and aerial imagery with our drone?  Drones are cutting down surveying times to hours instead of days.  While traditional survey will still be required there’s a lot that drones can help with on your project.

A few areas that drones are advancing the civil design and construction industry are:

  • Cutting down on times to start conceptual design.  In some instances you can capture some preliminary site levels and have the data available to start conceptual earthworks design within a day.
  • Speeding up site verification of levels.  You no longer have to rely on a surveyor taking shots with a GPS rover and then wait for the data to be processed as drones allow you to quickly survey a site when construction is in full swing.    Once we have flown the site the data is uploaded and processed.  From here we can provide cut/fill volumes and other information such as difference in levels from the final design surface.
  • Verifying progress claims.  Undertaking regular drone surveys can also help contractors and/or the superintendent to verify claims for earthworks quantities and percentage of works completed.
  • Resolving disputes.  As drone survey data provides a visual record of works undertaken it can be used as a tool to help resolve disputes with contractors.

If you are interested in drone surveys of your site please give us a call on (07)3555-9888 to discuss what we can do for you.

Can I subdivide my property? – An engineering perspective

There are numerous factors that determine if a property can be subdivided. Each Council has its own set of rules and regulations (known as a Planning Scheme).  These rules set the framework for what is considered allowable development. While the rules change from Council to Council, what remains relatively the same is the engineering requirements that need to be met for a subdivision to occur.

As Civil Engineers with years of experience with subdividing land, we have a good grasp of minimum lots sizes, minimum frontages and average block widths and we can give you an indication of your expected lot yield. What we can also do, that generally a town planner or surveyor can’t, is tell you which engineering issues are going to stop your project before it even starts. There are 3 engineering requirements for a subdivision to occur:

– A connection point for sewer;
– A connection point for water; and
– A lawful point of discharge for stormwater

At WSA we offer a service called a “Discovery Review”. For a cost of $550 including GST, we will undertake a desktop review of a site in relation to sewer and water connections and a lawful point of discharge for stormwater. We will then hold a meeting with the client at our office or on the phone for up to one hour with either a Director or Principal Engineer to discuss the outcomes of the review.  A small up front free from an experienced civil consultant such as WSA could save you a fortune in fees from surveyors and town planners if a project is not viable from an engineering perspective. Give us a call on 3555 9888 to discuss your site today.