2018 - Review of the Year
With hundreds of projects successfully delivered it’s been another busy year for Plowman Craven - here’s just a few highlights from an eventful 12 months...
The year began with the delivery of a massive urban regeneration scheme at Clapham Park in London. With requirements for BIM, Point Cloud, UGS, Topo, UAV, laser scanning and more this was the project that had everything! By deploying multiple teams across day and night shifts, and using drones to cover the huge site, we took just one week to capture what would have normally taken 10 weeks… driving massive cost, risk and programme savings for a very happy client.
On a slightly less grand scale, we also worked across the Capital on a number of small-site residential developments at places like Croydon, Wandsworth and Lambeth, helping to fulfil housing strategies at a local level. With massive demands on local authorities for social housing across the City we’re looking forward to working with more London Boroughs in 2019.
Up the Creek...
Our specialist structural and environmental monitoring division, PC Monitoring, has worked on a number of high-profile projects in 2018, providing vital data, expert advice and early warning of any movement of assets during demolition, excavation and construction works.
In 2018 we also began providing a range of independent engineering services, particularly on developments of a modular construction such as Greenwich Creekside, where we issued daily reports to the clients and a range of independent surveys that covered everything from survey control and as-built verification to slab deflection monitoring and gridline/datum setting out.
March was awards season here at Plowman Craven, with our ground-breaking UAV Rail Survey solution – Vogel R3D – shortlisted for three prestigious awards. The system was Highly Commended in the Construction News Specialists Awards and the Rail Business Awards, before winning Service Innovation of the Year at the UK Rail Industry Awards.
“We’re delighted to have won this prestigious award, it means a great deal to the company for our Vogel R3D system to be recognised in this way,” says Director, Malcolm Donald. “We’ve enjoyed strong support from the rail and infrastructure industry throughout its development and we’re proud to have created something that really does represent a step change in the surveying of these inaccessible environments.”
Over the course of the year our UAV team completed more than 2,000 flights across the UK, and even achieved the milestone of flying five separate projects on the same day.
Early in 2018 our Property Management team provided area measurement reports (dual reporting both IPMS and RICS 6th) for a number of extremely challenging developments. At both the BBC Television Centre and the King’s Cross Gasholders, where unique circular shells now house luxury apartments, our surveyors faced massive challenges to accurately measure every single finished unit.
Wedge shaped and with complex geometries, these high-end flats demanded bespoke surveying solutions for clients requiring high-accuracy GIA, NIA, ITZA, GEA and NSA reports. With our expertise in area measurement we were A-OK! Later in the year, we were able to apply the knowledge from these projects to the equally challenging Coal Drops Yard at King’s Cross and the new Bloomberg HQ.
Despite being one of the busiest times of the year, May was the month when a number of different staff wellbeing activities took place… with particular attention being paid to the promotion of Mental Health Awareness Week which helped us to recognise the signs and sources of stress - and find ways to manage it. We now have 18 fully-trained Mental Health First Aiders in the business who are always on hand to help. Later in the year, after we won a Property Industry Sailing Regatta, we were delighted to be able to donate our £1,000 prize to the Hertfordshire Mind Network, a leading provider of mental health services in our local area.
On a lighter note, an intrepid team of more than 30 staff took on the Six Peaks Challenge in the Lake District over one sunny (yes, really!) weekend in Cumbria. A great time was had by all in completing the 16-mile circuit.
Consult, Trust, Innovate...
This summer our industry-leading BIM team continued to develop Plowman Craven’s BIM capability, delivering on a range of prestigious projects from sports stadiums to iconic landmarks. We also supplemented our existing ‘Scan to BIM’ expertise with a new BIM Consultancy service that enables us to provide practical and strategic BIM support for our clients throughout the entire project lifecycle. This includes helping clients to develop their BIM strategy, information management and 4D construction sequencing.
Later in the year, the team undertook the final few steps needed for BIM Level 2 Certification that formally recognises our expertise in all elements of BIM as well as information management & security. We hope to have this signed off early in 2019, further confirming our expertise in the field.
Back to Nature...
It was a busy summer for our in-house environmental planning team with a number of projects being worked on, including Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) for Thamesmead Gateway where we completed a range of surveys to establish an environmental baseline against which the impact of the development can be assessed. Working with key stakeholders such as the Environment Agency, Natural England and the Royal Borough of Greenwich, this work included acoustic monitoring, air quality monitoring, ecology and arboricultural surveys, townscape and visual, and even archaeology.
Elsewhere, it was also a busy time for ecological assessments, many of which we provided as part of the Priority School Building and Free School Programme. Following strict guidelines and approved time-frames we surveyed dozens of schools for the presence of reptiles, bats and great-crested news, as well as assessing flood risk, heritage risk and potential arboricultural damage.
Stuck in the Middle...
We’ve worked extensively across the UK for more than 50 years, and in August we announced our formal expansion into the Midlands with an increased presence in Birmingham. We also hosted a number of Breakfast Briefings in the city – as well as in Manchester and London – aimed at raising awareness of changes to the way commercial property is measured and the use of drones to speed up the data capture process.
Later in the year we were also a finalist in the Matching Up Birmingham initiative, where we presented our drone survey capabilities to an assessment panel looking for innovative solutions that will enable the creation of smart cities. We're hopeful that this will enable us to play a lead role in the application of drones in the many developments taking place in the region in 2019.
2018 might have been a challenging year for the property industry, but the industrial sector was more than holding its own and our teams continued to work extensively for some of the largest distributors and online retailers in Europe. As the demand for facilities to accommodate automated and robotic solutions rises, so too does the need for us to provide greater technical and tolerance specifications and more innovative measurement solutions, such as high-accuracy 3D laser scanning, near-time Construction Verification, setting out, floor flatness and finished surface reading.
With the release of the International Property Measurement Standard (IPMS) for Industrial & Logistics buildings (which will soon be incorporated into the RICS Property Measurement) we are able to provide a new, higher-level standard that will provide greater clarity for those purchasing or leasing within this market place.
In October Plowman Craven collaborated with BAM Nuttall and Network Rail on an innovative virtual reality project that would showcase to rail users the extensive works taking place to upgrade the Aberdeen to Inverness line in Scotland (a project our survey teams have worked extensively on).
Using our industry-leading Vogel R3D drone survey system, fitted with a 4k, high-resolution 360-degree camera, we overflew the railway line to capture incredibly detailed footage that was turned into an immersive video experience by M7 Virtual. A bespoke six-metre cylindrical ‘cinema’ pod was then constructed at Aberdeen Station by Igloo Vision, enabling the public to enjoy a bird’s-eye-view of the extensive work being undertaken on the route and better understand the full extent of the project.
More recently, we presented BAM Nuttall with an interactive 3D model of the Don Viaduct, showcasing the benefits of BIM to the Highland Enhancement Programme.
Our Utilities division has enjoyed a very successful 2018, with an expanded team and improved range of underground surveying services helping to drive the business forward. Towards the back end of 2018 we began to deploy two very exciting technologies that offer massive benefits compared to more traditional surveying methods.
We invested heavily in gyroscopic underground mapping technology that can autonomously trace and map pipelines, sewers, ducts and tunnels without the need for topside personnel or man-entry, as well as using a confined space UAV for condition surveying and asset inspection. This amazing drone flies inside a protective cage and can reach even the most inaccessible locations such as lift shafts, tunnels and underneath bridges. We expect both technologies to grow in popularity with our clients in 2019.
A Time for Giving...
It’s been another successful year for Plowman Craven as a business, but it’s just as important for us make valuable contributions to good causes and support community initiatives. We sponsored the Herts 10K Fun Run for a third year in a row, and once again entered a team of 20 runners. This amazing event helps raise much-needed funds to support the work of Rennie Grove in providing care and support for people with life-limiting illnesses.
This Christmas we are sponsoring a Rennie Grove night team, enabling nurses to visit patients at home, and instead of a Secret Santa in the office, we worked with the Kids Out charity to create a 'Giving Tree'. This is a brilliant initiative whereby staff buy or donate a range of presents, ensuring children who have escaped domestic violence or had to flee their homes receive presents this Christmas.
Other fundraising activities in 2018 included raising funds for the school we sponsor in Sierra Leone, a football shirt day for Cancer Research, a MacMillan Coffee Morning and our annual day spent helping out at Batford Springs nature reserve. This year we were also proud to have been involved with the BBC TV show DIY SOS, joining dozens of other companies in donating our services and expertise to help rebuild the boxing club at Grenfell Tower. It was a very emotional project for all those involved but we’re proud to have been able to contribute in some small way to the recovery process for a devastated community.
As the year draws to a close, we wish all of our customers, partners and suppliers a very merry Christmas and a prosperous 2019…
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Plowman Craven has more than 50 years’ experience, we provide integrated measurement and consultancy services.