- the proposed amendments to the Reservoirs
Act 1975 may not be the most exciting bedtime reading available,
but many owners and operators of currently exempt reservoirs
will literally be on the edge of their seats, awaiting the
outcome. Currently, dammed or bunded reservoirs of less than
25,000 cubic metres capacity are exempt from the expensive
provisions of this Act but if proposals to reduce this figure
to 10,000 cubic metres become law, many more people will
be required to engage the services of a registered 'Panel Engineer.
expecting a veritable flood of enquiries to accurately survey
and quantify reservoir volumes which appear close to the
expected 10,000 cubic metre limit. Hopefully, our highly
experienced team of surveyors and CAD personnel will be able
to cope with the anticipated increase in workload, but as
we have the largest dedicated inland hydrographic team in
the UK, we don't anticipate a problem.
1 - Coastal Monitoring - being one of
UKs leading coastal surveying companies and a major user
of both 3D laser scanning and high precision GPS, it seemed
a logical development to combine the methodologies and instrumentation
of all three into a single unified approach. Primarily developed
to accurately monitor and quantify changes in coastal hinterlands,
this approach is ideally suited to detailing both dune and
cliff terrain. Given the increasing use of airborne
lidar to map our coastal regions, terrestrial lidar methods
such as this are most effective and significantly more economical
where the area of interest is several kilometres or less
in length, a higher level of detail is needed or vertical
faces are required to be surveyed. In an extreme survey scenario
we could, for example, complete a high intensity survey of
over a kilometre of cliff face, from beach level, within
a single intertidal window. Due to the mobility of this approach,
our surveyors can also quickly respond to record the impact
of a particular storm or other natural event.
Synergy 2 - Highway Surveying -
based on our experiences of combining survey methods to suit
a particular client need, we have most recently turned our attentions
to the problem of remotely surveying sections of highway to the
highest possible accuracy. Whilst a number of high speed, dynamically
positioned approaches have been developed, the limiting factor
upon the survey datas' usefulness has been that of level accuracy
and although significant lengths of highway can be recorded in
very short periods of time, level accuracies are limited to typically
2 to 3cm when compared to traditional survey methods.
Currently, our approach is achieving typically 4mm repeatability,
which is similar to traditional survey methods, but due to the
intense coverage of the scanned carriageway, smaller localised
level problems are more easily identified, can be accurately
quantified, and monitored to isolate developing problems.
are approximately 28,000 churches in England alone, of which
14,000 are listed buildings. In fact, 45% of all Grade 1 listed
buildings are churches so it is not surprising that a large proportion
of our building survey workload relates to either current or
former, places of worship. Increasingly, we are using high density
3D laser scanning to fully detail these intricate, historic structures
and increasingly, our clients are appreciating the advantages
of our fully modelled approach. As a logical progression from
churches and chapels, Survey Operations are
currently surveying Liverpools' Anglican Cathedral, the largest
cathedral in Britain.
Slipforming poses a number of problems for engineering surveyors
and despite close tolerance control systems, vertical displacements
and axis rotations will always occur. In recent years, Survey
Operations have been developing systems
to both minimise construction errors and to quantify post-construction
problems which would have a direct impact on subsequent operations.
Frequently, we are called in at two or more stages per slipform
to not only identify any overall service core problems, but
to also assess tolerances on exposed openings and cast-in elements.
This approach gives the earliest possible indication of complications
and therefore minimises any programme delays which may arise.
On completion of a core, we will also complete an internal
survey of each lift shaft to ensure tolerance compliance. Using
an approach we developed with one of the worlds largest lift
manufacturers, we can define the maximum design operating rectangle
for each shaft and provide internal setting-out information
to assist installation. Reassuringly, having worked on some
of Britain's tallest buildings, Survey Operations name
is 'muzak' to our clients
During the current recession, most of the major survey companies
have had to downsize to reflect their reduced workload but
thanks to a broad and diverse client base, Survey
Operations have retained full working capacity.
Whilst this is not an issue for most clients, we have recently
won a number of major topographical surveys due to this retained
capacity and its direct impact upon project timescale.
One such project covers some 340Ha of farmland, woodland moor
and heathland and requires a variety of survey methods to fully
detail the area. Whilst gps is the preferred method for main
control and open soft terrain, traditional survey methods
are used to record hard features, structures and in dense woodland.
The photograph on the left shows one of our gps quads which
we first developed for beach erosion monitoring but are now
used to quickly 'grid level' any large inland or intertidal
within culverts and deep tunnels is becoming
something of a lost art and accordingly, our specialist confined
spaces teams have never been busier. Our contracts within the
water industry predominantly involve the precise traversing,
detailing and alignment of deep sewers and culverts.
working in tunnels of 1.2m diameter and above, these surveys
require specialist surveyors applying tried and tested methods
in an often hostile environment. Commonly undertaken to enable
the design of an above ground piling layout, we recently positioned
the entire Moorfields underground railway station complex in
Liverpool relative to our surface topographical survey, to
enable the piling design for the proposed Magistrates Court
above. We have also introduced 3D Laser Scanning methods to
a number of confined spaces environments to allow design visualisations
and maintenance planning without further man-entry.
Hovercraft - Survey Operations are
probably the only survey company in the UK to own commercial
hovercraft, and they are certainly the only one to operate
this unique design specially built by the company who make
hovercraft for James Bond (the movies). This machine is used
to access difficult coastal and estuary locations and is currently
operational surveying large areas of beach and sandbank in
connection with our coastal erosion monitoring contracts. As
the most experienced coastal surveyors in the UK, our people
need the best transport.
Ground penetrating radar,
or GPR, has been in use by utilities tracing surveyors for some
years now but is still relatively misunderstood by many potential
clients. Primarily, GPR is used to locate non-metallic or non-conductive
services such as modern water and gas pipes, but it has a multitude
of other uses including the location of underground voids, cellars,
abandoned storage tanks and even buried walls and foundations.
In addition to their traditional utilities workload, in recent
years, our surveyors have located numerous ancient foundations
and historic dock walls around the UK including sections of Liverpool's
first dock and the remains of the worlds first steam powered
mill in Manchester; both subsequently featured on Channel Fours'