Engineer firms

Wanted: Control Freaks – Canadian Consulting Engineer

The price was right and the job was done quickly.

But there was a small problem – the boundaries were misplaced, about 100 yards from where they should be. The construction therefore took place on the right-of-way of an oil company, in alarming proximity to a pipeline.

Now it was a wholesale problem (for another survey firm that we will not name).

Critical components

“There was a security aspect to this project,” says Dene Gott, project manager at GeoVerra (who had no connection to the project). “They could have built a foundation directly into an active pipeline. On top of that, they couldn’t get permits to continue construction on the project until it was settled, which usually meant removing the building. This is an expensive item that was neither planned nor possible. »

This is one of the many reasons why working with a professional and qualified surveyor is essential – the cost, structural and safety ramifications can be monumental if you don’t. After all, location is the most important factor when it comes to any project, with parcels or legal boundaries acting as your initial and ongoing form of control.

When success is predictable

Without control, we get unpredictability – a stress, cost and risk factor. “Yet it’s happening even more than expected,” Gott says. “Our team helps fix projects like this example, projects that didn’t have the proper controls from the start.”

To completely avoid these experiences and set both parties up for success, control investigations must be carefully planned. They establish reliable and enduring benchmarks to use as a foundation for and throughout a project’s lifecycle and beyond. Once the surveyor has determined the control points, all subsequent work consistent with the control survey will be consistent and transparent, there to inform engineering and development planning.

In addition to focusing on the time and effort required to establish an accurate control network, Gott and his team educate clients on what to understand from the survey results and how the control s integrated into the project from the start. An example of technical knowledge is knowing the limitations of equipment, such as when it is appropriate to use GPS or laser measurements to achieve the highest level of accuracy. “Our knowledge ensures that the engineer’s design will translate well in the field,” says Gott.

Ultimate cost control

Survey control is also very important due to the large and expensive assets arriving at project sites. “On a recent project, a major component cost around $150 million,” Gott explains. Built off-site, these ships and modules require greater confidence in control to be precise – within three millimeters of precision to be exact!

“If the control isn’t precise when the crews get into these modules or receptacles, the bolts just don’t fit,” Gott says. This means modifying in the field or using a crane – extremely expensive solutions that also come with associated safety risks.

“If it doesn’t fit on the spot, not many people can pay that bill,” Gott says. “Unfortunately, these avoidable scenarios are happening, costing a lot of money, extending the timeline and having potential security implications.”

Given the scope of what control surveys can, well, control, it’s crucial that an experienced team with a proven track record begins your next project. At GeoVerra, we ensure that the foundation of your project is built on unparalleled quality control services. Contact us today.

Dene Gott is a manager in the infrastructure team at GeoVerra, one of the largest surveying and geomatics companies in Canada. He brings his technical expertise to engineering and construction firms working on large-scale industrial and infrastructure projects. To learn more about GeoVerra’s capability and experience, connect with Gott Dene or director of business development, Pat McNally.