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Case Study - Airspace Development Project , London

In recent times there has been a significant increase in the number of “building up” projects, or Airspace Development. Spare plots have been in short supply for many years, forcing developers to look at alternative ways to create space within the city. The latest of which is to take advantage of unused rooftops on existing buildings. Modern construction technology now allows for much of the construction to take place off-site, with the on-site assembly carried out in a fraction of the time, making projects much more viable than they once were.

Whilst the government relaxed planning regulations for rooftop extensions back in 2020, these rooftop projects remain complex, and therefore require experienced consultants to ensure successful bids. Those consultants need accurate and reliable data on each site to enable them to carry out the relevant feasibility studies, make informed decisions and ensure the successful bid.…..That’s where we come in.

Scan & Model were commissioned in 2023 to assist a leading Airspace Development consultancy with the design of a rooftop development in Westminster, London.

The role of Scan & Model was to carry out the initial measurement of the existing property and build a 3D Revit model to act as the basis for the final design proposal. The success of any rooftop development relies on the ability of the design to fit in with the immediate built environment and architecture, while also confirming that the existing structure will allow for the construction of additional levels with minimal alterations needing to be made to the building below.

To ensure the above can be achieved, a comprehensive survey was required to include all external facades and rooftop spaces, as well as all accessible internal core structure. Often this can be achieved without the need to access the existing occupied/tenanted spaces and therefore timescales and costs for the survey are reduced as well as the impact on the existing occupants.

In the case of this project, the team were able to access all communal spaces and stair cores, as well as ground and basement level service yards. This provided the consultants and design team with all the relevant measurement data required to proceed.

Method Overview

- Comprehensive point cloud survey carried out using Leica terrestrial laser scanners.

- All roofs, external facades, communal spaces, stairs and service yards surveyed.

- Survey related to OS National Grid Coordinates/Datum using GNSS equipment.

- Coordinated point cloud data registered and exported to appropriate format.

- 3D Revit model generated by in-house modellers based on the final point cloud.

Limitations/Health & Safety

As with any project involving roof spaces and high-level working environments, safety is paramount. Every project is assessed carefully to determine the appropriate survey method. If direct roof access is not possible due to an unsafe access route or lack of edge protection, the survey team will then work closely with the client to establish other methods of data capture. This may include the use of UAVs or even rope access teams. Although in many cases these spaces can be surveyed remotely from nearby vantage points such as safe roofs on neighbouring buildings.

If you are looking for a reliable survey partner to assist with a similar project, or with any other design projects, please contact the team to discuss your requirements.

T: 01905 20134


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