Regency Builders - Hillcrest, protecting the trees

The Importance of Surveying Land for Your Custom Home

Land surveying has changed a lot since Jahnke & Jahnke Associates was formed in 1961, but the principles have stayed the same. Once a very arduous mathematical process, the science has evolved to a true technologically advanced industry. As leaders in the sciences of geometry, trigonometry, physics, engineering, and the law, land surveyors were early to develop tools and technologies of the trade that make the process more efficient and accurate. Today, we talk with John Stigler of the surveying consulting firm, Jahnke & Jahnke Associates, who shares more about their process.

“Our work may seem simple, but it is very technical in nature. Those little pink flags that mark the foundation corners are placed with an exact science that takes so many elements into consideration,” John starts to explain. When positioning the home on a lot, the surveying crew must take into consideration the setback regulations, floor elevations for foundations, and the overall topographic nature of the land.

“From the very beginning, Regency Builders works with an architectural and engineering team to determine the right sunlight, soil, and other site conditions for the build. It’s our job to ensure they leverage those plans to the fullest, ensuring the proper execution along the way,” John shares.

Many of Regency’s custom homes are built on setbacks, so there are three important steps when surveying a home. First off, Jahnke & Jahnke Associates of surveyors stake the proposed property and confirms it with the municipalities verifying the foundation meets all setbacks and height restrictions. Then we will typically stake the footings and poured wall forms prior to pouring to ensure that there are no violations to setbacks. The second step is performing a recertification of the poured walls prior to pouring which makes Regency one of the only builders that asks John to do this. The third step Regency takes is to have John’s team return to the site after the foundation is poured to resurvey and re-certify one final time as required by the bank and title companies. Upon confirmation, the rough team can begin work to set the deck of the first floor, commencing the carpentry phase of construction.

The History of Surveying Technology

Site surveying has occurred for thousands of years…evolving rapidly with technology over the past 10-15 years. Believe it or not, the science dates back to Egyptian pyramids, where a rope would be used to establish the simple geometrical boundaries identified with the annual flooding of the Nile River. And, Stonehenge was set out by early surveyors using a peg and rope approach.

The evolution of the Total Station Theodolite (TST) was an example of an early revolution. Between the 1500-1700’s, the founding fathers of surveying equipment made incremental advancements in this technology, changing the game forever. For hundreds of years, this tripod based tool has used both electronic and optical instruments to read slopes, distances, and angles. Today the on-board computer uses advanced processing equipment to calculate exact distances. And while it relies on the exacting knowledge of the operator, further advances such as robotic TST stations allow the operator to control remote units – making the process much swifter!

Today, tools such as satellite real time kinematic (RTK) positioning, global positions systems (GPS), and even drone equipment have perfected the science. In turn, the cost of these systems is dropping, making the science more affordable, and commonplace.

About Jahnke & Jahnke Associates and Regency Builders

Partnering for decades, Jahnke & Jahnke Associates appreciates the hands on approach of the Regency team. “We work hand-in-hand, using time and resources wisely. Neither team likes surprises, so everyone is thought of as much as possible on the frontend of a project.,“ John shares. “They also request a cut and fill analysis to better determine the amount of fill that may need to be trucked to or from a site for solid trucking costs. Their hands-on approach at the early stages of design helps prepare the client for the necessary steps that it takes to go through permitting with the county.”

Jahnke & Jahnke Associates was formed in 1961 by two brothers, the firm now staffs several survey crews, most with 20+ years of experience. As the previous planner for the city and a civil engineer in a municipal position, John appreciates the relationships that Regency seeks to build with local government, knowing that planning, and construction are a team effort.

Regency Builders - Hillcrest, protecting the trees