Technology

Topcon robotics helps £175m rebuild in central London

4 February 2019 | By Andrew Pring

The £175m reconstruction of a former Grade 1 Listed building in central London has been accelerated by an automated measuring system from Topcon.

The GT series of robotic total stations provides the efficiency of a single-operator robot combined with long-range reflectorless measurements.

The project in Regent’s Crescent, which is being managed by the JRL Group, will see the creation of more than 70 luxury apartments on a site where the original building was damaged during the war and rebuilt before being demolished in more recent times. It is being rebuilt to be in keeping with the surrounding architecture.

The team was working within the confines of relatively small, indoor spaces during the initial planning stages of the project, so needed a technology that allowed each point to be laid out within an extremely tight tolerance of 2mm – compared to a more typical allowance of 10mm.

The shape of each apartment also added an extra layer of complexity for the team. Each room used three separate grid systems, with one taking an arch shape to match the original designs of the building, making it difficult to set out gridlines.

“We selected Topcon as a one-stop solution to set out and produce as-builts,” explained Trevor Homes, construction survey manager at JRL Group. “The field controller set up is completely intuitive – we had an intern working on the Regent’s Crescent project and within a day she was up and running, setting out in applications.”

The Regent’s Crescent project will deliver 70 luxury apartments

Topcon’s Magnet Field controller was used alongside the GT robotic total stations, to control and verify the points set out during the initial phase of the project. The controllers offer a range of connectivity and instruction options, allowing JRL Group to remotely control job file layers and select different options, such as the circle centres of line intersections. The GT robotic total stations are a third smaller than others in size, making them ideal for use in the confined working areas.

Throughout the project, JRL Group has used Topcon Magnet Field software – a user interface designed to work with the Topcon positioning tools. All mapping or positioning tasks can be performed with a satellite image background to give the team visual context. The wi-fi or cellular connection allows the site and office teams to get an overall picture of the project at all times and in real-time, which helps to keep the teams connected.

Homes said: “Topcon’s Magnet Office has been great for our reporting, particularly on the levelness of the concrete floor. The technology has a great CAD package and we’ve been able to pull reports in just 15 minutes, so it’s really helped us save time on site.”

He added: “Some of our group of 40 field engineers were resistant to change at first, but we’re now working to standardise all of our projects around a Topcon field-office software workflow.”

Simon Crowhen, national sales manager at Topcon Positioning (GB), said: “This is an example of how using complete workflow solutions can save time and money for teams. It would have taken JRL Group two hours to create the plans for the project using traditional hand-drawn methods, but they’ve been able to finalise them in just 15 minutes by using our technology.”