How To Find The Best As-Built Surveyors
At Precision Property Measurements, our Multi-Site survey programs depend on our ability to get a qualified As-Built surveyor onsite, at every location that our client needs As-Built plans. We have done surveys in all 50 states, in just about every nook and cranny of the United States. If you threw a dart at a U.S. map (which you should NOT try at home, kids) the odds are that PPM has completed As-Built drawings for a building within 50 miles of the spot you hit – provided that you didn’t hit an ocean, of course.
This means that we need a LOT of professional As-Built surveyors on our team in order to service these big national programs. The cost and time of travel, particularly to smaller towns, is prohibitive for the types of site surveys that our clients need, and the speed with which they need them. So our goal is to have a qualified, capable, and available surveyor within 100 miles of all the large/medium size population centers in America. In areas where demand is particularly high we need two or more surveyors. We aren’t all the way there, but we are close – we currently have over 500 surveyors in our network, of which about 100 that we are actively working with. This map shows the locations of our current survey coverage.
How does an As-Built surveyor become a part of the PPM team?
The first step is finding each other! We have numerous ways to do this including website job ads, referrals from other surveyors, internet searches, and more. We also get inquiries all the time from prospective surveyors that have heard about us, or find us through an internet search. However that connection is made, the first thing we ask them to do is fill out this application on our website. The application asks them some basic questions about their experience, As-Built tools and methods, availability, and more. We take this information and we give the surveyor a rating of “High, Mid, or Declined”, based on our assessment as to whether or not this person is someone that we think could meet the high standards our client’s expect, and therefore is someone we could potentially work with on our As-Built projects. Only about 15% of all applicants receive a “High” score at this phase. But there are still several more hurdles to clear before someone can officially become a “PPM Surveyor”. Here’s what happens next in our onboarding process:
- We schedule a phone call with the prospective surveyor. They speak with either our Director of Field Services, or our Field Manager, and we further assess their ability level and fit with our standards of communication, quality, customer service, etc…
- If they pass, we flag them for a test project. But before we do any tests we do another call to go over any other questions, the specifics of working with us, wrap up the legal stuff, what we expect of our surveyors…etc. At this point they begin their “probationary” period.
- Then comes the first test survey project. We either have them survey a building we have already completed (so that we can compare the results), or if this is not possible due to location we give them a very simple new live As-Built project.
- When they turn in the project, we do a full review of the As-Built plans, comparing them against previous plans, client-provided plans, photos, etc… We then schedule another call with the surveyor so that we can talk about the results, provide feedback, and understand the reasons for any issues they may have had with accuracy, detail, or anything else. They may not have completely understood our expectations, so we want to make sure there isn’t any miscommunication about what we expect on any future projects.
- Depending on the results and discussion of this first test project, both parties make the decision whether to pursue more projects together. Our relationship continues with about 50% of the surveyors that make it to this point.
- If there is mutual agreement to proceed, then the surveyor continues their probationary period for 2 additional projects, which receive more feedback in the same manner. Again, alignment of expectations and culture are the primary focus.
- Assuming everything goes well with the last 2 test projects, the probationary period ends and we move them to our normal roster of “PPM Surveyors”. At this point our Project Managers are free to work with them as needed.
A PPM Surveyor in action
Add it all up and only about 1 out of every 25 applicants will become a PPM Surveyor. This Onboarding process is definitely time consuming for us, and it can be frustrating when we think we have a great new surveyor but things just don’t work out, and we have to start all over with someone new. But we feel (and we have learned from experience) that a gauntlet such as this is necessary if we want to uphold the high standards of quality and professionalism that we are known for. The performance of our As-Built surveyors is a critical component in our ability to fulfill our promise to our clients – so we want to make sure we are working with the Best!
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