Berkeley Homes and WSP expedited their planning application process, avoiding 6 months of land access agreements

In collaboration with:

Sensat have created a high definition digital twin of a 900 acre site as part of the multi-million pound Milton Keynes East development to support Berkeley Group in submitting a successful planning application.

The multi-million pound Milton Keynes East development will result in the delivery of 5,000 new homes, the creation of 6,500 jobs and unprecedented economic growth. Berkeley Group are the lead developers on this large mixed use development.

The project and challenges

The project came with a number of challenges. Obtaining topographical data for this vast site was essential to supplement the technical design work required to support the allocation of the site in the Milton Keynes Plan MK. Obtaining this level of data using traditional means would have meant a programme of up to 6 months and numerous agreements with landowners, tenants and Highways England.

Political “interest” mounted extra pressure on the client to get preliminary design completed before the end of the year. 

Also, the safety of people involved in the project was important to the client, who wanted to avoid any personal interaction with the adjacent M1. Technical challenges had also occurred, as the existing site imagery and topography data were outdated and misleading. Therefore, highly accurate 2D and 3D topography data outputs were required – accurate to +-50mm – which was challenging due to many variables.

Lastly, the client needed to easily and securely share output data with multiple consultants whilst being able to track access and sharing of data, in compliance with client’s ISO 27001 accreditation.

6 months

Using UAVs to digitise the site allowed Sensat to speed up the data capture phase by 6 months

The solution

Sensat successfully digitised the entire development area while delivering the highest detail model of the site ever created. It also provided engineering firm WSP with the technical information required to design strategic infrastructure, thus helping Berkeley Group work towards securing planning permission.

Sensat’s use of autonomous mapping drones and Extended Visual Line of Sight permission allowed to capture data of high accuracy quickly and safely, while eliminating the need for constant landowner engagement. 

Sensat’s cloud-based platform allowed the client to discuss and manage the project in a virtual and intuitive way, which is also easily shareable to various sources, and offers the avenue to engage all the stakeholders involved.

The benefits

Faster: Using autonomous mapping drones to digitise the site allowed Sensat to speed up the data capture phase by 6 months and removed the need to continually establish new agreements with landowners, tenants and Highways England. 

Collaboration: Time and efforts of both Berkeley designers and project managers were saved by having the entire 6km² point cloud available to view and interact with on Sensat’s platform. Since the data is all in one place and accessible anywhere, it means face-to-face meetings can hold as remote meetings.

“Sensat’s drone data
capture service and
software enabled us
to accelerate the
infrastructure design
programme whilst
also providing a
powerful tool for
future public

Aaron Wadhams, Berkeley Strategic Land Technical Director

Moving forward

All data is hosted in formats that can be integrated directly into existing design software such as Autodesk and Bentley. 

Sensat’s platform can host, combine, and share point clouds up to 1 billion points in a single platform, on a standard Wifi connection. This ability was invaluable to the project, as the client required over 30 team members to view the data, but wanted to avoid committing to costly, proprietary software.

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