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December 2019
1080 565 Andy McFarland

A Day in the Life of an As-Built Surveyor-Drafter

Meet Rogelio Medina a.k.a. Rogi (row-gee)
As-Built Surveyor and Drafter

Mornings at our PPM headquarters in Long Beach, California range between a quiet, small group to a loud, boisterous crew. It really depends on where our As-Built surveyor-drafters are stationed for the day. We greet the morning as a team in what we call The Bustation Declaration. You might be wondering, “what the heck is that?” For us, it’s a morning ritual that gets the juices flowing and pumps us up to “bust” for our clients throughout the week. Each day, a few team members “declare” what they’re working on, their core value of focus, and the week’s motivation (usually something fun and non-work-related).

It’s a special treat when our surveyor-drafters are in the office. These guys are often out on the road, battling heavy traffic, greeting our clients on site visits, and laser scanning properties to collect point cloud data to carefully draft As-Built plans for our clients. They hold a special role at PPM, because they’re usually the only team members who meet our clients face to face. When we have the pleasure of hanging out with them in our morning Bustation Declarations, we often get a sneak peek into their time in the field – from interesting houses and locations they get to visit to tricky roofs they scanned through some obscure troubleshooting technique. For them, no day is ever the same, and they play a crucial role in our success as well as the success of our clients. At PPM, we’re lucky to have incredibly talented, hardworking surveyors, and we’d like to introduce one of them to you today!

Meet Rogelio Medina, known to the team as “Rogi” (pronounced row-gee). He’s been a valuable asset to PPM for almost half a decade! In total, Rogi’s been surveying and drafting properties for five years. Coming from an architectural background, he began his career at PPM four and a half years ago and has had a front row seat to the evolving technology used to survey and draft As-Built plans. Morning “Bustation Declarations” with him are often an interesting recap of his on-site experiences. He’s usually got a good story to tell, so we sat down with him for a closer look behind the scenes of his day-to-day as a surveyor-drafter and to learn a bit more about Rogelio when he’s not hard at work for PPM.

Abby: How did you come to be a surveyor-drafter?

Rogi: I have my bachelor’s degree in Architecture, so I used to work at an architecture firm where we did CD (construction documents) for OSHPD (Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development). I would often be asked to go measure clinics and offices within the clinics. I would create the As-Builts for the new equipment to be laid out. I soon realized that I like the balance of being in and out of the office.  After I left that architecture firm, I decided that I wanted to find a job where I was not in the office all the time. I came across PPM and decided to apply for the surveyor position. This gave me an opportunity to have a job where I’m in and out of the office. And, 4 ½ years later, I’m still here.

Abby: What’s your favorite part of the job?

Rogi: My favorite part of the job is that I get to have client interactions. I like to explain our processes, and I like to show our points clouds to the client/homeowners. I really enjoy seeing their faces when they see what laser scanning technology can do.

Abby: When did you start using laser scanners?

Rogi: I began to use laser scanner with PPM. I would say about 2 ½ years ago.

Abby: How has using laser scanners changed your day to day?

Rogi: Laser scanning has changed how we work completely, from the on-site surveying to the actual drafting. In the past, we used to hand sketch. We later used to have a tablet that was paired with the DISTO (a handheld Leica single laser scanner). Before 3D laser scanners, a project would take a whole day or sometimes even multiple days to gather all the measurements needed to draft an accurate set of plans. Today, with the laser scanner, we can do a regular sized project in about 4-5 hours. The information we collect with the scan is much faster and more precise.

The drafting has also changed. In the past, we used to draft from sketches, or we used to have the DWG (digital drawing) from the tablet and finish the rest of the plans in the office using only AutoCAD. Today with the new technology that is laser scanning, we need to use multiple programs like GeoSlam, Cloud Compare and AutoCAD. PPM also had to invest in more powerful computers that could handle the needs of the point clouds. Overall, laser scanning completely changed how we do our As-Builts.       

Abby: What’s the most challenging part of the job?

Rogi: The most challenging part of the job for me, would be making sure the client understands our process to do a laser scan. We need to prepare the house before we start the actual scanning. We need to open all interior doors and most exterior doors. We need to open closet doors, run curtains, open blinds, cover mirrors and sometimes open cabinets. We also try to minimize movement within the property such as cleaning crew and/or other contractors working at the same time we are surveying, etc. I think making sure all these elements are prepared before starting the scan is the most challenging part of the job for me.  

Abby: Where do you see the industry going in 10 years?

Rogi: I think that only technology will dictate that. In a way, we are pioneers in the laser scanning industry. I can not imagine what other kind of technology we will have available in ten years, but whatever it’ll be, we will be there for it.

Abby: Working in Southern California means a lot of traffic to site visits. What do you do to pass the drive time?

Rogi: Yes, traffic is the worst in SoCal. Sometimes a project is not even that far but traffic makes it feel very far. The way I cope with traffic is singing, I sing and listen to the radio when I find myself stuck in traffic.

Abby: Love that! What are your go-to jams?

Rogi: Pop music. Whatever is popular and playing on the radio.

Abby: What’s the most rewarding part of the job?

Rogi: The most rewarding part of the job is when we get emails from clients praising our work. I like it when they say we were very professional during our site visit and when they say our drawings were accurate and easy to work with. Knowing that what we deliver to the client is accurate and well done makes me happy to work for PPM.

Abby: We all hugely appreciate what you do for PPM and our clients. Your positive attitude is always infectious, and we love having you in the office. When you have down time, what’s an ideal day off look like for you?

Rogi: A fun day off for me would be playing with my two dogs (Lilo and Sally). I love playing with them at my house, but we also like to go to the dog park. Lilo likes to fetch, so we play for a while until she gets tired. Sally on the other hand, likes to find branches to chew on, so I have to watch her most of the time to make sure she doesn’t actually eat them. I also love going to the movie theater. I like to watch movies on the big screen when they come out, but I also like to collect them. Once I buy the hard copy, I like to see all the behind the scenes material. I find it fascinating to learn how they make a movie.  

THIS OR THAT?

Games and activities are a big thing here at PPM, so before signing off with Rogi, I had to catch a quick round of “This or That.”

Abby: Which part of the job do you like best? Surveying or drafting?

Rogi: This is a difficult, because I really love both. I love being out on my feet, but I also like drafting and creating drawings.

Abby: Do you like single-family residential or commercial projects best?

Rogi: I enjoy residential projects better. They are unique and every house has a different personality in a kind of way.

Abby: Tape measure or laser scanner?

Rogi: I would have to say laser scanner because it makes odd shape buildings easier to measure.

Abby: Which ice cream would you choose? Rocky Road or Mint Chip?

Rogi: This is also a difficult question for me because these 2 are my most favorite ice cream flavors. Every time I go to Disneyland, I order a two-scoop ice cream cone with rocky road and mint chip in a waffle cone.

(I had no idea these were Rogi’s favs! #nailedit)

Abby: Cheesecake or ice cream cake?

Rogi: I would go for cheesecake. New York-Style cheesecake specifically.

Abby: Star Wars or Star Trek?

Rogi: Star Wars! Have you seen the Mandalorian? Have you seen BABY YODA? He is so cute!

Abby: Camping or 5-star hotel?

Rogi: Camping for sure. I love nature.

For more team profiles and behind-the-scenes, stay tuned on our blog!

About PPM

At PPM, our goal is to help set you and your project up for success from the start. While we are dedicated to tried-and-true process and deliver consistently accurate plans, success is not just in the numbers – it’s a feeling of trust, confidence, ownership and teamwork. Our team is committed to Core Values that drive our business and our clients’ success. We’re here to support you every step of the way.

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