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Objective Trapeze comes to life with Microsoft Surface

Objective Trapeze software is used by hundreds of local councils in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom to streamline how planning applications and building permits are reviewed, assessed and approved.

Purpose-built for planners, building surveyors and other teams involved in the assessment process, the application allows councils to review, compare, mark up and stamp digital plans far more efficiently and accurately than before. When used on a Surface device there is advanced functionality, custom developed for Surface, allowing planning and building teams to transform their inefficient paper-based processes. Objective Trapeze delivers productivity boosts for planners and building surveyors, faster decisions for the community and improved information governance for councils.


“Before Trapeze, everything was done manually using paper. It would take you maybe a few hours to measure the floor space ratio, for example, of a large building. With Trapeze, you can do it in literally about 15 minutes or so.” – Marty Southwell, Customer Success Director (Australia), Objective Trapeze.

Trapeze digitises the entire Development Approvals process, allowing planners and building surveyors to easily perform complex measurements at scale, mark up PDF or TIFF documents on-screen, review any changes made by automatically highlighting amendments and apply customised digital stamps.

By all but eliminating the use of paper, pencil and scale ruler, the direct cost savings from the technology transformation are significant.

“We hear from our customers that using Objective Trapeze has allowed them to gain significant efficiencies just by going to a more digital format. They’re allowed to collaborate more easily. They’re allowed to access plans and measure something on the spot if they need to, without having to pre-plan and print whatever is needed. That is a significant step. If you’re reviewing plans with other stakeholders or your external stakeholders, if you’re going out on site for an inspection for example, having access to the information that you need at your fingertips is very important.” – Rafael Garcia, Customer Success Director (UK), Objective Trapeze.


Trapeze’s functionality is aided further by the software’s integration with Microsoft Surface devices, developed by Objective Corporation. Planners and building surveyors can use the Surface touchscreens to perform intuitive actions like pinch to zoom, panning and scrolling using gestures and drawing directly on plans using the Surface pen. The Trapeze app is designed to work with the Surface Dial accessory, such as enlarging specific areas or controlling the level of transparency on overlaid plans.

Andrew Karrasch, Lead Product Designer at Objective explains, “The Surface brings together the best of both worlds. It allows us to take what used to be an analog way of looking at plans, to a digital world. So those natural gestures that we use in the real world transfer across to the Surface for our users.”.

Using the Surface Studio is the ultimate integration of Trapeze’s intelligent software and Surface’s intuitive hardware. Planners working on an application can lay the Surface Studio flat on the desk and mark up the building plans using the Surface pen. It’s replicating council planners’ traditional way of working but making it far more efficient, accurate and convenient.

“The Trapeze user experience is exceptional on the Surface Studio. We built it that way because people do need to use gestures. They do want to use the pens and the dial and the digital rulers that come with it. So we specifically designed Trapeze to work really well utilising these tools on the Surface Studio”, Karrasch explains.

A common use case for council officers is to conduct site inspections and assessments. While in the field and on the move, the Surface Go is designed for portability at 10 inches and perfect for site inspections thanks to its laptop-to-tablet flexibility and supports the same pen and ink inputs and touchscreen features.


A key pain point for council officers involved in the assessment process is manually reviewing amendments or revisions that are made to building plans. Changes are often relatively minor or on a single page, but the council officer needs to review the entire set of plans to ensure that nothing is missed. This is time-consuming but necessary as there is potential for significant impacts to arise from missed amendments.

Trapeze Professional solves this pain point by performing a pixel by pixel comparison of every page across two documents and highlighting any changes on the screen for easy identification. This groundbreaking feature provides planning and building officers with confidence in the plans that they are approving, and the certainty that no changes have slipped through unnoticed.

“When you’re looking for differences between plans, planners used to have to go to a lightbox with massive sheets of paper and overlay them manually. Whereas now, you can do it so quickly and simply using Trapeze. With our Document Compare tool you can very quickly find the difference between one document and another.” Marty Southwell, Customer Success Director (Australia), Objective Trapeze.


Applicants, architects and developers who engage with their council in relation to a proposed development are all after the same outcome: Council’s official approval stamp applied on their building plans. Custom stamps, including a logo image and the delegated officer’s signature, can easily be applied with Objective Trapeze at various stages of the assessment process with only a few clicks using Smart Stamping.

“Trapeze Professional allows our customers to apply their stamps to hundreds of pages at once. Best of all, our Smart Stamping feature detects clear space on each page and applies stamps without obstructing important information. Manually reviewing and moving stamps on hundreds of pages used to take hours… now, our customers can successfully stamp very large documents in minutes.” – Rafael Garcia, Customer Success Director (UK), Objective Trapeze.


More than 500 local authorities in Australia, New Zealand and the UK rely on Objective Trapeze to assess digital plans faster. These purpose-built tools allow them to efficiently and accurately measure, calculate, compare, mark-up and stamp digital plans and drawings.

The result from this digital transformation?  Productivity boosts for planning and building teams. Faster decisions for applicants. Cost reductions and improved information governance for council and better outcomes for the community.

Learn more about Objective Trapeze and Microsoft Surface.