Measured Building Surveys: External Elevations and Floor Layouts for Churches

It’s always a joy to survey an old building, not least because there is always an element of surprise. This is particularly the case with churches – the combination of their age, their unique architecture and the inevitable additions/alterations which have been made over time make them a fascinating subject.

Churches have become something of a speciality for us, thanks in part to our collaboration with the team at Paterson Macaulay Owen Architects, based in Mold, who have been commissioned to create plans for a number of churches in the North Wales region.

Just recently we’ve completed a particularly interesting measured building survey at St John’s Church, Porthmadog. The church has a beautiful tower just over 81 feet high, but many of its sandstone blocks are in need of repair.Front Elevation of St Peters Church, Porthmadog

In order to assess the extent of the repair work, and map which specific sandstones need attention, it has been necessary to produce a detailed elevation of each and every sandstone block which makes up the church.

Rear Elevation of St Peter's Church PorthmadogOur initial assessment of the work suggested the need for a relatively straight-forward measured building survey, which we undertook using our specialist Leica TS15 equipment. However, once on site it was apparent that the layout of the sandstones was more complex than anticipated.

Our analysis of the stones showed there was little uniformity between each of the sandstones – they were all different shapes and sizes. As a result, each stone had to be individually analysed and drawn into the plans.

It was painstaking work and probably one of the most detailed measured building surveys we’ve ever undertaken, and a reminder to us of the amazing engineering capability of our ancestors who created these wonderful buildings which have truly stood the test of time.

Case studies

Other measured building surveys we’ve undertaken for Paterson Macaulay Owen Architects include:

St Peter’s Church, Pwllheli

An internal survey to support the development of new amenities, including a kitchen area, within the church.

Tywyn Baptist Church, Tywyn

A survey of the exterior to enable the development of a small extension.

St Tydecho Church Cross Sections

St Tydecho Church, Mallwyd

A detailed dimensional survey of a number of the timber roof trusses to determine where they were as there has been some twisting and bowing over the centuries (church dated 1640).


St Collen Parish Church, LLangollen

We carried out a measured internal floor plan with cross sections through the building producing beautiful drawings.

St Collens Church Cross SectionSt Collens Floor Plan