King’s Cross Central


From putting in place the original control grid at King’s Cross station back in 2002, Plowman Craven has been privileged to be the primary survey contractor on the King’s Cross Central regeneration, a site of extraordinary scale and significance.

For 12 years now, we have surveyed, measured and collated accurate survey information across the whole 67 acre site, covering buildings, railway lines, tunnels and utilities – the result being that we have an invaluable knowledge of every square metre of the site and a detailed understanding of what has already been measured.

Due to the unique approach taken by Argent, the master developer and asset manager for the King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership, we have enjoyed close working relationships with all the architects, engineers and design teams as well as with Argent themselves, and this has brought benefits in ensuring absolute suitability of the data for purpose as well as time and cost efficiencies.

The King’s Cross Partnership took the approach that one master set of data would be produced and maintained by Plowman Craven, then supplied as required to the relevant party. We provided consultancy advice from the outset, based on our knowledge of providing measurement services in both construction and rail environments for over 50 years. We were also able to offer insight into the approvals processes required by London Underground and Network Rail as well as cost-saving approaches to data acquisition and management so that data could be used for multiple purposes throughout the project’s lifespan.

Kings Cross 3D Topographical Survey Our first project was to provide monitoring for King’s Cross station and the surrounding buildings while the station upgrade was taking place, when we created and installed the original survey control grid. This grid was then accurately transformed to Ordnance Survey Grid once the development expanded outside of the station, following the overall masterplan being approved in 2006, and steps were being taken to apply for planning. Being the largest geomatics survey company in the UK meant that we were, at short notice, able to deploy 15 people to site to generate the data required for the outline planning application and complete this first stage within a demanding two month timeframe.

Since then we have gone on to acquire data through:

In addition to the multiple uses of the data by the developer, architects, engineers and design teams, we have also used it to create:

King's Cross Scan Data 01

King's Cross Coal DropsHaving complete knowledge of the measurements taken across the whole 67 acres meant that we have been able to review the totality of the data available and advise where it can be repurposed or updated to meet the requirements, saving multiple surveys of the same area. It also meant that we had a 360° view of what needed to be done, so if our surveyors were unable to access the area they had planned to on their schedule, then they could simply move on to an alternative activity on site rather than have a wasted visit. It helps having been on site so many times over more than a decade, as does knowing all the security staff.

Remaining fleet footed at all times has been key when acting as an information provider to multiple other parties, as any delays in providing the appropriate data can have a significant impact. We know that speed of response is as important as accuracy when, on a development of this scale, holding up a design team could cost in the region of £1m a month.

Aerial Photo © John Sturrock

For information on our involvement on other Urban Regeneration Projects

Building Tomorrow

In a unique communications partnership, the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) and ITN Productions have produced a news and current affairs-style programme capturing the latest innovations and best practice in building and construction management.

Plowman Craven was a proud contributor to the film.
In it, we showcase our exemplar project at King’s Cross Central. David Norris, Technology Director at Plowman Craven, explains how the use of technology and Building Information Modelling (BIM) transforms Urban Regeneration projects such as this.

See the Plowman Craven contribution to the programme below.

That’s why we value the input and guidance of Plowman Craven…

How do you quantify the problems that haven’t occurred? It’s impossible to put a price on what has been prevented by knowing and being able to understand the site so well, and that’s why we value the input and guidance of Plowman Craven Richard Meier, Director, Argent