Ten years in development, the Planscriber laser-scans buildings room by room, creating plan drawings as it goes. This system doesn't depend on square walls or right corners; it reduces real shapes instantly to drawings accurate to within a few millimetres, any shape or size, showing all rooms in exact correlation.


planscriber surveying systemThe machine is unique in being able to relate rooms to each other. It can for instance determine exactly the thickness of blind walls even if the other side of the wall is reached by a tenuous route.


In use, it is set on a sturdy tripod and is controlled remotely from a hand-held computer. It emits a horizontal laser which is “driven” by the user around the tripod axis to points which would be needed on a drawing: room corners; windows, doors etc. Lines are created between these chosen points, much in the way that a room shape would be created on the drawing board. A drawing is created electronically within its memory.


A second, identical tripod carries a simple target. A foresight reading is taken to this and the machine then swapped with the target and a backsight reading taken. The relationship between the two is then known in trigonometrical terms. This process is what makes the system unique. It is able to progress through a building, room by room, returning to previous stations where necessary. The electronic drawing created becomes more complete as each room is scanned and it is easy to check that all areas have been surveyed.


It has the ability to link to scans carried out by “Total Stations” commonly used by surveyors for external surveys. These machines can accurately produce start points within or just outside the property, from which the Planscriber takes over, drawing interiors which relate exactly to external land surveys.


It is not a 3D scanner and produces only floor plans. These can however be produced at multi levels creating slices through a building. It was developed specifically for architects to enable accurate floor plans of complex building shapes to be produced.



Key Personnel


David C Townend, BSc, MIStructE


David Townend, DirectorDavid Townend is a structural engineer specialising in the design of building structures, involving some innovative design. He works throughout Britain and overseas, occasionally as far afield as Atlanta where he was involved in the 1996 Olympic Games.

After working for six consultancy partnerships in Leeds and Norwich, he set up his own consultancy in 1985 which is still flourishing.

David is often required to produce accurate plans of buildings as part of his routine business. Since nothing had been available to help with this beyond the basic "sketch and measure" process, he set about solving this problem. As a result, the Planscriber drawing system was born.

Working with a team of electronic engineers, product designers and programmers, the concept has now become a unique British-built product, able to do what has been previously impossible. The Planscriber drawing system is now producing fast accurate plan drawings on behalf of clients.



Peter Chignell



peter_chignellPeter Chignell has been involved in the joinery and construction industry for 45 years and in recent years mainly involving specialist timber frame buildings. He is fully aware of the problems associated with inaccurately produced building plans. Having worked with David Townend for many years on building projects, he was aware of the development of a machine which promised to overcome this long standing problem. Peter realised the potential of Planscriber and decided to become involved both financially and eventually in a management capacity.

He has headed the management team for the last eighteen months finalizing the field testing and development of the production model.