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Surveying Dilapidated Structures

Surveying dilapidated structures

Some built structures become dilapidated structures due to environmental conditions or lack of maintenance, whereas others are the victims of arson or vandalism. Regardless of the reason that a building has become a dilapidated structure, it is important that a survey give a complete picture about the current state of the structure and report on any areas of the building that are prone to future structural issues.

Often the challenge of surveying dilapidated structures is of health and safety. You can’t enter a building that is unsafe, so other techniques that allow surveys to do their work at a distance must be used. This includes 3D laser scanning and drones. Here is why surveying dilapidated structures is important.

Evaluation and Planning

After damage to a building occurs, it is important to get a survey of it to determine its structural stability as well as to evaluate what the level of damage is. This feeds into planning and decision making for the structure. Unfortunately in some cases, the structures are not salvageable, but having a clear indication of this gives decision makers the best data to base their planning on. In other cases, the building may be salvageable and planning for the next steps of what to do with the structure are aided by the findings of a survey.


Surveys are crucial for architects who are involved in the design process in the restoration of a dilapidated structure. While architects are skilled at being able to craft creative solutions for dilapidated structures, they need the best data available to base their designs on. This often includes 3D laser scans and drone surveying. Combining multiple types of survey techniques gives the most accurate data in the safest way. This was not the case even a decade ago, when it was more difficult to survey dilapidated structures due to the technology available.


Even if a dilapidated structure is not restored, it may still be preserved in its current state which means being able to plan for ongoing maintenance in the future. The challenges of maintaining a dilapidated structure are similar to those of a full structure but also different as a dilapidated structure are more prone to environmental damage from greater exposure to the elements. Having data about how quickly a structure is degrading will help give realistic expectations in what will be required for maintenance.

Dilapidated structures are unique and have their own challenges to survey. If you have a dilapidated structure that would benefit from a survey, get in touch.