Scottish Power Energy Networks - British Power International

Project at a glance:

Client Scottish Power Energy Networks
Project OHL Aerial Survey and Design
Type OHL Distribution
Sector Utility
Location North Wales – Cheshire - Scotland
Year 2013
Duration Ongoing

Scottish Power Energy Networks OHL Aerial Survey and Design

Scottish Power Energy Networks

The brief

The client had a significant overhead line re-build programme to deliver on the 11kV and 33kV distribution networks.  BPI was contacted and asked to review the requirements and establish a plan that would enable the targets to be achieved.

The approach

BPI established a small team of experts from within the company to review the resource requirements and the overall timescales for delivery.  It was immediately apparent that a massive increase in survey resource would be required to meet the programme; it was also apparent that this skilled workforce was not currently available in the UK.

The team also identified that the existing methodology for taking each circuit from conception through to construction was inefficient, with multiple lines of communication and approval processes that were resulting in delays throughout the process.  At this stage the team was joined by a representative from the client organisation to provide detailed knowledge of their internal processes.

The challenges

There were numerous challenges that the team faced in developing a plan, process and the resource that would be able to deliver an economical solution within the timescales required.  These included:

  • Survey resource
  • Design resource
  • Available technology
  • Approval processes
  • Multiple stakeholders – internal and external
  • Multiple lines of communication
  • Cost effective delivery

The delivery

BPI had been working with a specialist company that carried out surveys utilising helicopter LiDAR technology to carry out inspections and surveys on infrastructure projects, including transmission overhead lines.  They were brought in to advise on the potential of using this technology on the distribution network and it was immediately identified that this was a game changer both in terms of innovation and delivery timescales for the survey element of the work.  A process was developed to allow the aerial survey data and the video imagery to be used in PLS-CADD to design the overhead line circuits to very accurate levels of detail.

Following further review, BPI put forward a proposal to the client that a project group office be set up to specifically target the overall delivery of the 710 km of re-build required.  This would include members from BPI, wayleave, and construction departments along with staff from the client's engineering, delivery and wayleave departments.

This team would work together at the project office to ensure that all decisions, communications and reviews could take place as efficiently as possible, removing unnecessary delays.  This would also enable early review of the designs, with input from all elements to ensure that the designs were undertaken with wayleave/landowner requirements considered at an early stage and with any construction constraints taken into account.  

The office was established and has evolved during the project, which has been extended and continues to grow.  In particular, the use of the aerial survey linked to the design has been a major success with approved designs flowing through to wayleaves very quickly.  This also enables any changes subsequently asked for by landowners to be agreed in the office without the need for additional costly and time consuming site visits.

 

Comment from the client's Project Engineer: 

"The Aerial Survey and Design project has been a very positive innovation for the business.  The accuracy and flexibility of the data has enabled a very quick and simple design review process to be established.  We can add and remove poles, check clearances, span lengths, pole heights and tree clearances at the click of a computer key with no requirement to revisit the sites.  We have also been able to identify and remove potential health and safety issues that would not be easily spotted using conventional survey techniques."

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