Floorplans are an essential part of your asbestos survey report, they show your client the precise location of any asbestos risks within their building.
There are many ways to draw floorplans. Some surveyors use free tools like Microsoft Word, others use tools within their asbestos surveying app, or (and this is usually the best option) you can use dedicated floorplan drawing software.
Your Floorplan Drawing Process; Pros and Cons
When considering floorplan drawing software, you should start by considering your process and how you want to create floorplans. Your process will depend on your personal preference, skills, and willingness for draw plans yourself.
Each process has pros and cons:
- Sketch and annotate plans on-site, then finalise them in the office using floorplan drawing software; a fast approach that means you don't have to hang around on-site
Our co-founder, David King, found this was the fastest way of drawing floorplans when he was the software architect for Lucion Environmental. You draw a floorplan sketch on paper (or annotate an existing plan if you have one), then take a photo of your sketch and upload it to your asbestos reporting app. When you're back at the office, use your sketch as a guide to help you draw the finished floor plan. You can use a browser-based asbestos surveying package like Microsoft Visio or AutoCAD to create the final floorplan design.
- Sketch and annotate plans on-site, then outsource the final plans; you'll spend less time on-site and don't have to draw the final floorplans yourself
Sketch and annotate the plans on-site, then take a photo of your sketch and upload it to your asbestos reporting app. After the survey, you send your hand-drawn sketch to a company that specialises in outsourced floorplans, and they'll send back the final floorplan design. This approach is ideal if you don't have the skills to draw floorplans or want to focus on other tasks like sales and marketing.
- Draw final floorplans during the survey; this means extra time on-site, and you'll need a device and software that supports this
Use an Android or iOS-compatible software product like Floorplan Creator or MagicPlan to draw the full floorplans on-site. Some surveyors like this process because you can create the bulk of the report on-site. However, if you're doing jobs where you want to be in and out of buildings quickly (like social housing), the extra time on-site might not be desirable.
Choosing Floorplan Drawing Software
What's "best" for you will largely depend on your personal preference and process (e.g. Do you want to create plans on-site or back in the office?).
For a deep dive into this topic, check out our Floorplan Software Guide. I've outlined a couple of commonly used software choices that may suit your floorplan drawing process below:
Mobile compatible software - for drawing floorplans on-site
- Floorplan Creator; Android-based app loved by many in the industry
Floorplan Creator lets you create detailed floorplans; the website says that it's "fast and precise" and offers many features, including a customisable symbol library. This software is available for Android and browsers. Our clients mention this software a lot, and the price is excellent, making it a good choice for start-ups.
"Floorplan Creator is simple and cost-effective."
- Daniel Albert - Fusion Technical Asbestos Services
- MagicPlan; Android and iOS app with a touch of magic
This floorplan software offers a touch of "magic". Simply walk around a room and point your camera at different points. Then the app will convert the data into a 2d/3d floorplan automatically, amazing!
"MagicPlan works a treat!"
- Muhaimen Siddique - Adams Environmental
Browser-based software - for drawing floorplans in the office
- Microsoft Visio; great for drawing simple floorplans and its beginner friendly
Microsoft Visio is good for drafting; it's great for simple and small line diagrams, easy to use, and beginner friendly. You can become a Visio expert within 2–3 days with practice. It's an economic tool for creating, maintaining and deploying diagrams and drawings. However, Visio doesn't have layers, making drawing floorplans with lots of details difficult.
- AutoCAD; create complex drawings, but there's a steeper learning curve and its costly
AutoCAD is widely used to create complex 2D and 3D floorplans. However, the software is costly and takes longer to learn than other tools like Microsoft Visio. There's no limitation to the drawing size you can produce; you can create drawings to scale. You can draw from templates to speed up large drawings, and it's easy to sketch over PDF / JPEG drawings.
Outsourcing Your Floorplans
If you want to outsource your floorplans, there are plenty of specialist floorplan drawing companies in the UK or abroad. It means you don't need to worry about floorplan drawing software, you can leave the drawing to the experts who have their own software.