A Home Architectural Survey Defined

Has your Architect told you that you need an Architectural Survey performed on your house, in order for him to create the home remodeling drawings that you hired him for? Well, if this is so, then you’re not the first person to have heard this. Such a survey is prerequisite on some home remodel projects, and herein will be discussed.


As a CAD Drafter, more than once I’ve received a phone call from a homeowner asking, “What is an architectural survey?”, or, “Do you provide architectural building surveys services?” The typical scenario for such a call is that a homeowner has hired an Architect to design modifications to his home, and in the initial stage of the project the Architect told the homeowner that an architectural survey of his house was needed.

Setting the Stage

Let me consider the following hypothetical project. A homeowner has hired an Architect in order to remodel his home. The Architect has told the homeowner that an architectural survey of his house will need to be performed as a preliminary part of the remodel project. The homeowner has done some online research in order to learn what an architectural survey is, but has only come away from his search confused. The reason for the homeowner’s confusion is because all of his search results primarily yielded information connecting this phrase to historic preservation work, but his home is not historic.

An Answer

First let me say that there ARE certain homes that are categorized, by governing authorities, to be historic homes. Such homes cannot be modified according to any whim of the homeowner. However, if someone were to own such a home, then he would probably be aware that his home had historic significance.

The hypothetical project that I have mentioned is not for a historic home, but rather for a run-of-the-mill home. Confusion has arisen in this scenario because the Architect has used the phrase “architectural survey” in a different context than a historical preservation context. The Architect has applied a totally different meaning to the term than the homeowner’s online search results yielded.

The Architect used the term in an alternate manner, because within the US AEC industry the phrase is used in this capacity. Although, as a layperson the homeowner was not able to find this out from a Google search.

What the Architect meant was that he needs as-constructed floor plan and elevation drawings of the home. The reason the Architect needs as-is drawings of the home is because once the Architect has drawings of the as-is conditions, then he can create a set of renovation plans that show how the remodel will integrate with or change what exists.

In Closing

I have described one specific hypothetical situation, which may or may not hold true for anyone reading this article. The best thing to do in a situation similar to the one that I’ve mentioned is to find out exactly what the Architect is talking about. That could be done by asking the Architect to speak in layman’s terms. He should be more than happy to do so!!


About Brian M. Curran

I'm Brian M. Curran and I run a drafting services business in NYC. My aim is to create quality drawings, and to be entrusted with important projects. For some project on-site videos, please visit my Google profile.
This entry was posted in AEC industry. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A Home Architectural Survey Defined

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *