When it comes to multi-site programs and projects, creating a detailed scope of work presents many challenges. The end goal may be consistent across all sites, but the attributes and conditions of each individual site may be drastically different. Site surveys help businesses understand the attributes and conditions of the assets in their portfolio, which is critical to creating and prioritizing work scopes in alignment with program objectives. We sat down with Nick Peters, Sevan’s Senior Vice President of Operations, to explain the importance of site surveys and how they can help you manage your sites:
Q: How would you define a site survey?
Peters: A site survey is the process of collecting data from a physical site and bringing that data offsite to transform it into actionable information that can be made available to all project stakeholders. This information can be shaped into many formats, including as-built drawings, 3D models, rendered imaging, condition reports and many other variations of site representations to help the client make the best decisions for their program.
Q: What type of data is collected during a site survey?
Peters: The data collected from a site survey can filter into four buckets: visual data, spatial data, quantitative data and qualitative data. Visual data refers to a collection of media which can be turned into virtual tours. This allows clients to “walk” their sites remotely. Spatial data serves to create accurate 2D or 3D models of spaces which we convey in our as-built and point cloud models. Quantitative data lists measurable, objective information about an asset. This could include asset measurements, weight, serial numbers and other numerical information about the asset. Qualitative data lists subjective information about the condition of an asset based on predefined criteria and standards. The information collected will be descriptive information about the asset that will help stakeholders decide on what to do with the asset.
Q: When are site surveys conducted?
Peters: Site surveys are useful at any points of the asset lifecycle. They are mainly utilized at the start of the project to accurately assess the site, determine the proper scope of work and form the foundation of required design documentation. Some clients will request site surveys at a project closeout to provide benchmark documentation of each site and to support a current and comprehensive library of their entire portfolio. Current and accurate information supports the ability to track assets over the site lifecycle, effectively identify maintenance or renovation needs and prioritize the deployment capital to align with business objectives. Surveys are also an essential component of the site acquisition process.
Q: Why are site surveys important?
Peters: Site surveys are important for multiple reasons. Site surveys provide accurate, baseline information that becomes the foundation of a project’s scope of work and design documentation. Another important aspect of a comprehensive site survey is that they digitize site attributes and conditions, allowing all project stakeholders to have remote access to critical information about their sites. As mentioned above, surveys collect data and then that data is turned into actionable information, which in turn provides insight for further decision making. Digital access to accurate site information speeds up the review and approval processes that would otherwise be constrained by stakeholders having to physically meet at each site. Clients and stakeholders can remotely collaborate and advance the planning, scoping and design activities of a project without ever needing to step foot onsite. This is a huge benefit for clients that have multi-site programs with multiple project stakeholders because it helps reduce project costs and expedites the program execution process which in turn provides a quicker path to increased revenues that result from the program initiative.
Q: What elements of a site do site surveys look at and what is trying to be discovered?
Peters: The exact elements of a site a survey focuses on will depend on the scope of the survey. In general, surveys may inspect specific building sections and components, structural elements, mechanical-electrical-plumbing systems, operational equipment, fixtures and really any other component that is part of the physical site. While survey scopes can be very comprehensive, they can also be focused toward a very particular initiative. For example, if an interior and exterior remodel program is being planned, a full building as-built will be combined with a conditions assessment and a virtual tour. With this information in hand, the client can prioritize projects, and the project execution and design teams will be able to scope, design, procure and construct the remodel in alignment with the program objectives.
Q: How long do site surveys take?
Peters: Site survey times can vary wildly depending on the purpose and type of survey, the size of the facility and the amount of assets being assessed. For example, assessing an equipment line for a national roll-out of an equipment swap out may take as little as 30 minutes. Conversely, a comprehensive laser scan and condition assessment of a large grocery store or manufacturing facility may take multiple days. Whether or not the facility is occupied and operational is also a factor. Facilities that are closed or have not opened yet are easier to survey since surveyors aren’t restricted on what they can assess and when they can assess it. Facilities that need to remain open may take longer to survey. Depending on the business, surveyors may not be allowed to work during operating hours and may need to incorporate cleaning time into their schedule to make sure the facility can open without disruption the next day.
Q: What should a client expect when purchasing a survey?
Peters: First, clients should expect reliable completion of the survey deliverables within the agreed upon deadlines. Since a survey is often the first and foundational activity enabling the subsequent project activities, it is vital that deadlines are met and produce high quality deliverables. Clients should expect a clear communication plan and progress updates at both the site level and the program level. Clients should also expect that their core business activity remains the on-site priority. If a client wants to stay open during the survey process, it is up to the surveyor to work within the parameters defined by the client to complete the project. Finally, clients should expect a high ROI. The information and insights gained from site survey should ultimately be recaptured in multiples through reduced project costs, a faster realization of revenue gains, and more effective decision making across their entire site portfolio.
Q: Once a survey is complete, what are the next steps?
Peters: Once the physical site survey is complete, the data collected will be uploaded for back-end staff to configure it and produce the survey scope deliverables. The deliverables could be in the form of a floor plan, virtual tour, 3D point cloud model, developed BIM file, asset condition report and various other formats provide the basis for a client to plan and execute their program. The survey deliverables can be shared via dashboard style portals, direct e-mail, or even on a client specific platform to all project stakeholders.
Q: What type of unique surveys has Sevan conducted for their clients?
Peters: Sevan has surveyed a variety of interesting locations and interesting buildings since offering surveys to our clients. Our team has surveyed everything from fully open and operational businesses, buildings under construction, vacant spaces, buildings without functional utilities and properties damaged by fire and other natural disasters. Unique designs and challenging locations are a specialty for Sevan’s survey team. We have successfully executed a wide range of as-built drawings for historical buildings, complex manufacturing facilities and even a fun UFO shaped restaurant in Roswell, New Mexico. Sevan surveyors have conducted surveys across much of North America and various U.S. Territories including surveying facilities in Canada; Guam, Saipan and Puerto Rico; all 50 states including multiple Hawaiian Islands and even a building on Santa Claus Lane in North Pole, Alaska.
Q: Why should a client choose Sevan to conduct their surveys?
Peters: Our focus is to provide our clients exceptional value. We do this by executing surveys with our own direct employees and enabling our employees with the training and technology required to be leaders in the industry. Our teams work carefully to accomplish their work without disrupting the operations and the customer experience at the client’s sites. Sevan’s deep experience in multi-site program management offers the perfect environment for our survey team to provide unique and high value survey solutions to our clients.
Sevan surveys give our clients a glimpse of the quality of service we can provide for their projects. We have completed more than 30,000 surveys totaling over a billion square feet of space. Our survey team has conducted a wide range of survey work facilitating the successful execution of some of the largest programs by many of the most respected companies in the country. We continually invest in our surveying capabilities to provide our clients fast and accurate information to help them achieve their goals, increase the ROI on their capital deployment and delight their customers. To learn more about the various surveys Sevan can conduct and how they can help your business, click here.