The five steps to a successful monitoring project
David Mainwaring, Business Development Director – June 5, 2023
Structural and environmental monitoring provides essential data to understand the impact of demolition, excavation, tunnelling, construction or heavy groundwork on nearby buildings and assets, as well as the local environment – both above and below ground. The data can help determine whether there are any potential problems that require remedial action.
Our monitoring solutions combine the latest in monitoring technologies alongside secure cloud based hosting and reporting systems. We offer a full range of monitoring services and solutions. Our specialist teams in our offices across the UK have years of experience designing, specifying, installing and carrying out monitoring programmes on buildings, from new builds to heritage properties, commercial, retail and leisure buildings, as well as major structures including bridges, viaducts, sea defences and retaining walls.
We’ve broken down a monitoring programme into five stages to give you an understanding of what’s involved when you request a structural and/or environmental scheme from us.
Stage one – project scope
As a first step we will need the project specification from your principal contractor or structural engineers. This includes a full set of drawings of the area, buildings and assets to be monitored, as well as consents from any third parties – for example, owners and landlords of buildings included in the specification. We are always more than happy to assist and advise at this stage. Having reviewed the specification, and depending on scale, we will conduct a site visit to fully understand the requirements and thoroughly assess the site.
Stage two – planning and design
The next step is to design an appropriate monitoring solution. What this involves will obviously depend on your project’s bespoke requirements. When it comes to monitoring devices and technology there are lots of options, from prisms that can be attached to structures via adhesive, magnet, or bolts to non-intrusive laser scanning, as well as electronic crack gauges, tilt-sensors and vibrometers. We will design a solution using the most appropriate technology for your project. By tailoring the solution to your specific requirements and with the knowledge gained from the site visit, we will design a cost effective and tailored solution which means you will only pay for exactly what you need.
In the planning and design stage we will also ascertain the length of time baseline readings will be measured, as well as tolerances and thresholds, and any specific requirements for set-up and installation – for example, are mobile elevation working platforms required to install sensors at height?
In any monitoring project communication is absolutely key. Our monitoring programme will take into consideration your project’s works schedule as this is likely to impact tolerances and thresholds. As part of this stage we will also agree and define reporting and alerting requirements – ensuring that all nominated stakeholders receive the data and intelligence they need at the right time via the most appropriate channel.
Our alert systems vary and can include email and SMS alerts, as well as audible and visible alerts for site workers. It is designed to ensure you do not miss critical information at the time you need it. If you are alerted to issues too late it can have serious repercussions and there could also be the risk of financial penalties or an increase in insurance premiums.
At the end of this stage you will receive bespoke technology and costing proposals.
Stage three – installation and configuration
Once our experts have installed your monitoring system on site, which will include a communications unit that receives data from the devices and sensors and sends it to our in-house secure portal, we will thoroughly test it to make sure the live feeds are working, before configuring the back-office end of the solution. For automated solutions this includes configuring the on-site monitoring system into our online, secure hosting platform and configuring your pre-defined tolerances. At this stage we will also build in the trigger levels and create the project specific reporting templates.
Having one reporting system ensures all site data is stored and recorded in one place. It eliminates the need for multiple portals measuring different impacts of the development, where you run the risk of vital data being missed. Having one platform also makes it easier to train and onboard new members of the project team.
Stage four – go live and maintenance
Once your monitoring system goes live, we will give you 24/7 access to our monitoring platform. This provides you and members of your team with accurate, real-time readings and data. Your stakeholders will automatically receive alerts and reports, as agreed in the project scope, and our team will also monitor the data and receive alerts when frequencies change and thresholds are breached.
Maintenance of the system is an essential part of any monitoring survey. We will schedule regular proactive visits to the site to ensure the system is maintained to the highest standards and to resolve any issues. On site visits are also necessary to update and amend the solution as your project evolves. What our clients value is the fact that although there may be a number of surveyors working on your project, you will be assigned an account manager as a single point of contact and communication.
Stage five – decommissioning
At the end of your project we will attend the site to safely decommission and remove all the equipment and technology. We will also identify areas that have been affected by our equipment and make good – as agreed by the scope of works. On completion of the project we will provide you with a full data set and a project report for your records.
Keen to know more?
If you’d like to discuss a construction or demolition project or learn more about our monitoring solutions and services, then please complete the enquiry form below and a member of our team will be in touch.
Read more about structural monitoring solutions
Read more about environmental monitoring solutions
Download a copy of our monitoring service guide