When Being Passive Just Isn’t Enough

The last decade has seen the Passivhaus standard become established as the gold standard for ‘eco’ housing in the UK. The original Passivhaus standard has recently been upgraded, with two new, more demanding levels added. The most stringent of these – Passivhaus Premium – has yet to be achieved in the UK.

So we are particularly excited to have been appointed as Project Manager, overseeing the design and construction of The Sheds which aims to be the UK’s first Passivhaus Premium house. Our in-house Certified Passivhaus Designer is currently leading the design effort, including PHPP midelling, and will then be overseeing the construction on site, ensuring that the rigorous building standards are met. We’ll be posting regular updates here as the project progresses.

Corana Virus – 3D Printing Face Masks

The BBC yesterday published an article asking for people with 3D printers to volunteer to print facemasks for NHS staff and other health professionals. We’re proud to say that we’ve joined the effort and our 3D printer, which we normally use for prototyping equipment designs and for printing disposable parts, has been pressed into action and is now working 24/7 printing face mask components.

Plate Bearing Testing

To meet the needs of the increasing demand for offsite construction for modular structures, highlighted by the government’s awarding of £3bn modular schools framework, we have invested in another set of fully accredited plate bearing testing equipment for assessing the suitability of temporary foundations or siting crane outriggers.
 
Of course, for those larger projects, we can offer full geo-environmental investigations, topographic surveys, utility surveys, laboratory testing, infiltration testing and CBR testing, all using our own equipment.

For more information, please contact Steven Partridge – 01296 739413

Under Pressure

We do a lot of plate bearing and CBR tests every year. We can generally complete up to ten in a day, depending on ground conditions; softer ground takes longer to test. Our test kit is fully calibrated and we can provide you with results on the day of testing. If you’d like to know more then please contact Steven Partridge – 01296 739413.

Heavy Lifting

There really is something quite hypnotic about watching very large aircraft taking off and landing, so our site team jumped at the chance of spending a few days carrying out soakaway testing at an RAF base.

It Pays To Check

Anyone who has served in the armed forces is probably familiar with the saying “time spent on reconnaissance is rarely wasted”. The civilian equivalent might be “prior planning prevents poor performance”. We think this is good advice and so we always do a comprehensive underground utility survey, including reviewing records held by the relevant utility companies, before breaking ground at any site. If you think this might seem overkill then we recommend that you click on this link.

If you’d like to know more about our underground utility surveys please contact Steven Partridge – 01296 739413

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Out In the Cold

It  certainly feels like autumn today. Both temperatures and leaves are falling; winter is coming!

So it seemed like the perfect time to take our latest set of surveying equipment out on site for a test drive. It may not look much but the TopCon DS103 Robotic Total Station is the very latest in precision survey kit, whether for carrying out topographic surveys prior to scheme design or for setting out on a construction site.

We’d be delighted to discuss any survey requirements you have. Please contact Steven Partridge – 01296 739413

Back to School

We were recently appointed to complete Geo-Environmental Investigations at two new school sites, to be constructed using the latest modular construction methods.

Our investigation involved 100m of linear drilling, environmental and geotechnical laboratory testing, over 50m of dynamic probing, soakaway testing, trial pits, CBR tests, Plate Bearing Tests, Topographic surveys, CCTV surveys and utility surveys. All the site works were completed within 3 days and reports issued within 2 weeks.
Surely that gets an A*!

Accuracy v Precision

We live in an age dominated by IT and its ability to crunch data. Without doubt this can yield significant benefits, but do we sometimes lose sight of reality as a result?

We were recently asked by a regulator to supply CBR results to two decimal places. Now, we can calculate data to any number of decimal places using the IT tools available to us, but just because we can doesn’t mean we should. Anyone familaiar with CBR testing will know that the test just isn’t that accurate. Quoting a CBR result to the nearest 0.1% might (just) be realistic for soft/loose materials. But quoting a result to the nearest 0.01% implies an accuracy that just isn’t warranted. The precision of the answer isn’t justified by the accuracy of the test.

So this is a plea for regulators (and anyone else for that matter) to apply a little common sense, and to remember the difference between accuracy and precision.

It’s What You Can’t See….

Spot The Buried Tank!

We were asked to carry out an environmental ground investigation at a disused transport depot. Not surprisingly this identified diesel contamination at ~2m below ground level.

There was no sign of any obvious contamination source and given the site’s previuous use as a transport depot, we thought it likely that an abandoned below ground fuel tank might be present.

We therefore went back to the site and carried out a shallow trial pitting exercise which revealed……well, you can see for yourself.