During construction and renovation projects, contractors often perform a field measure of the site at several points throughout the project schedule. A field measure ensures that each element or component will fit as intended within the space, and improves the overall accuracy of the installation. The field measure process also reduces problems and conflicts between various parts of a projects, and alerts contractors to potential issues early on in the schedule so they can take steps to remedy these problems.
In the average building project, contractors rely on architectural drawings developed by designers and engineers. In most cases, these drawings are schematic. While they show the relationship between various walls and furnishings, they are not meant to be a precise representation of where every building component should be placed. Even drawings with fairly accurate measurements listed may cause problems if contractors install walls or other objects even a few millimeters out of line. Sometimes additions or changes to the project are not even shown on the drawings, which can lead to costly problems for later installers.
To understand how a field measure takes place, picture a restaurant manager planning to renovate a kitchen. After the contractor has built new walls and installed floors and ceilings, the cabinet installers may come in to install the specified cabinets. If every element on the project plans wasn't installed perfectly, the cabinets may not fit in the designated space. In this situation, the contractor would have to order new cabinets, and conflicts would arise over who would pay this added cost.
Instead of relying on the drawings, the cabinet manufacturer will instead perform a field measure prior to making the cabinets. He waits until all applicable structures have been installed nearby, then comes in to measure the true dimensions of the kitchen. Using these measurements, he builds cabinets that will fit within the space as it is now, now how designers had planned for it to look before the project began. A similar process takes place prior to door installation, furniture production, and selection of other major equipment or building components.
Contractors and manufacturers rely on a number of different tools to help them perform field measures. Many use laser-based measuring devices and laser levels to check not only measurements but the accuracy of an installation. Others work with a simple measuring tape, while some may even require surveying tools on large-scale projects. Plumb bobs and other similar tools also allow workers to measure the alignment of objects.