Morgan Sindall Volker Fitzpatrick JV utilised drone data during lockdown, keeping the Barking Riverside Overground Extension project running

The Sensat Team

March 26, 2020

In collaboration with:

Sensat, on behalf of MSVF,  have been utilising drones to carry out fortnightly site surveys on the Barking Riverside project since January. The digital model needs to be supplemented with regular progress monitoring and up to date topographical information for assessing earthworks.

The project

Morgan Sindall Volker Fitzpatrick JV (MSVFJV), Barking Riverside Overground Extension March 2020

As part of the construction industry’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, construction sites around the world are temporarily closing their doors. Although construction may, from the outside, seem well insulated from the pandemic (as it takes place in open spaces with a dispersed workforce), keeping a 2 metre working distance from each member of staff is difficult. This is particularly true in urban construction sites. Projects are also finding it difficult to maintain a safe level of staffing, with up to 40% of the workforce being sick or self isolating. 

100+ users

accessing up to date site information remotely, via a browser-based platform.

The challenge

The COVID-19 pandemic has no defined end at the time of writing and these construction sites could be shut down for up to 3 months or more. MSVF have been carrying out fortnightly site surveys on the Barking Riverside project, using drones since January. As of 26th March 2020, the project will be on lockdown for an indeterminate period.

The solution

The data has been served to the whole project via Sensat’s software and has been enabling them to take more accurate and regular earthworks quantities (reducing risk and improving cash flow). They have also been using the data to enhance communication both internally with the project teams and externally with their client Transport for London (TfL). They now have 170 users accessing up to date site information remotely, via a browser-based platform.

Jim Bushell, Survey and Monitoring Manager for the project approached Sensat before their latest survey to ask for a full site scan. By forward-thinking, Jim identified the possibility of using high-resolution drone data to create an accurate snapshot of the project at the time of closing.

"In this unprecedented time, we need to create a level of certainty about our project’s programme. Sensat’s data hosted in their visualisation platform will allow us to create a single source of truth over the next period of time to help us assure the project’s programme when we begin again."

Jim Bushell, Survey and Monitoring Manager, MSVF


Barking Riverside will use the data collected from drones to create a project snapshot at the point of lockdown. This will enable them to assure their project throughout the lockdown.

Here are the various ways how Sensat data and software can be used during the lockdown on your project:

  • Programme management and updates accurately and reliably replan programmes for when the project reopens to ensure you hit the ground running  
  • Insurance liability – have an accurate record of your project before you left to help with any current or future insurance claims resulting from the lockdown 

  • Cash flow and quantities for suppliers – Sensat’s visualisation software enables you to make fast and accurate earthworks and progress calculations. This allows quantity surveyors to get more accurate payment calculations to your suppliers to better manage cash flow 

  • Health and safety – make sure your project is left in a safe condition whilst in lockdown. Without people on-site, small issues can become big problems without people noticing. 

  • Security – where security is a potential issue, use Sensat to take regular snapshots of your site throughout the lockdown to ensure your site and equipment is secure.

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