Optical Surveying: Structural & Total Stations

When the topic of construction safety is discussed, the focus is usually geared towards protecting the on-sight crew and any passersby. While this concern is vital, there is another area of construction safety that isn’t as obvious to the general public.  

Any minor or major construction project also causes concerns with the safety of surrounding structures. Activities associated with new foundations such as excavating, underpinning or demolition generate a variety of vibrations and tremors. If these shocks are significant, they may cause lateral and horizontal movements in nearby structures. When these movements are strong enough, they impact the structural integrity of these properties. And that impacts the safety of everyone in the surrounding area. 

Protecting the integrity of structures around a construction site is of the utmost importance in New York City. With such a high concentration of buildings in the area, engineers, architects, developers and construction teams have to ensure that their work is not damaging any nearby properties. And these concerns are not just strictly limited to buildings. There are numerous other structures that need to be protected, including bridges, subway tunnels, utilities, overpasses, ramps, and historical landmarks, to name a few. 

That’s why engineers and developers working in NYC rely on Saltus Construction Monitoring Services. Our team has the necessary knowledge, technology and equipment to monitor these structures to determine if any movement is due to construction. This is done through our optical surveying services and the use of innovative equipment called total stations. 

What are Total Stations? 

Total stations are the most important optical surveying tool in the construction monitoring industry. These instruments measure the distance, angle and slope to a reflecting prism or prisms. Once the surrounding structures that could be potentially impacted by construction are identified, our team locates prisms on these properties and installs total stations outside of the construction site to monitor and record any activity.  

If the position of the prisms shifts at any time during construction, the total stations detect and record this movement. After analyzing the information collected by the total stations, the engineers and developers can then determine if new workflow processes need to be implemented to reduce any potential risks. Or, in the event of unavoidable risks, they may determine that the construction needs to be permanently halted. 

One Service – Two Different Methods 

Since our founding, Saltus has built a solid reputation as the go-to choice for optical surveying services. Trusted by numerous construction firms operating in NYC, we offer two distinct types of optical surveying methods to meet the specific requirements of the construction projects: Manned and Automated. 

Manned Services

If construction workflow processes require optical structural surveying services on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly schedule, our manned services are a great choice. With this option, our surveyor arrives at the site on the scheduled day with total stations and manually sets up benchmarks and documents any movement. If movement is detected, the surveyor will generate the necessary reports for review by the engineering and construction experts. 

Automated Services

If continual monitoring during the entire construction process is required, our automated services provide the necessary documentation. Our surveyors arrive on site with a series of Automated Motorized Total Stations (AMTS). Using specially-designed mounting brackets and towers, the surveyors install the AMTS units in positions outside the construction zone to deliver clear lines-of-sight to the established monitoring and control points on the identified structures. 

Unlike our manned services, ATMS do not require an on-site operator. They are completely automated and unattended. Not only is this automated option the most efficient and effective service, it also provides a high level of real-time detail, documentation and accuracy as each ATMS provides continuous monitoring. 

All recorded data is then sent to a secure website platform where our clients can access, review and analyze this vital information to determine if any lateral and horizontal movements have occurred. 

If your construction firm requires on-site optical monitoring services, Saltus is here for you. With both manual and automated options available, our optical surveying services provide you with highly accurate documentation and reporting to help identify any potential risk factors that could impede your construction and cause damage to structures in close proximity to your building site.   

To learn more about our optical surveying and monitoring services, please contact us today! We would be happy to discuss your project and determine which service best suits your specific needs.