A basic survey is a useful tool providing an overview of the condition of a site, normally as a preliminary stage in a wider programme of survey and investigation. Basic surveys are also frequently undertaken where work is carried out adjacent to a ruin, for example in the construction of a visitor centre, where it is necessary to record and monitor the condition of the ruin before and during construction. A basic survey is typically comparatively inexpensive to undertake and can limit expenditure in the early stages of a project, which may not proceed further.
Ground-level surveys are often used for a simple (limited) scope of work — for example, to understand the condition of a single section of a ruined structure and plan for a small package of conservation work. They can also be used where a monument is regularly maintained and the aim of the condition survey is one of monitoring past repair and conservation work. For masonry ruins a basic survey is not normally particularly useful because of the limited access from ground level. Budget constraints should not dictate the type of survey; a more appropriate type for ruins is typically a detailed condition survey, particularly where a programme of conservation and repair is planned.
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