Scottish social housing developer makes major investment in machine technology

SOCIAL housing developer First Endeavour LLP has invested in a range of machine technology from SITECH UK & Ireland to optimise time and productivity.

The business, which has offices in Aberdeen and Fife, began discussions to fit its machines with SITECH Trimble tech six months ago after experiencing a shortage of skilled labour, as the business shifted to bring more of its building services in-house and new development sites began to stack up.

With projects lined up for the next eight years for housing providers including Fife, Angus and Aberdeen Councils, First Endeavour LLP has invested in machine control, 3D designs, project monitoring and reporting technology with SITECH. This includes four excavator Trimble 3D Earthworks Kits, a Trimble total station, a GNSS Rover and a drone with Trimble Stratus and Trimble Business Centre modelling software.

Scott Napier, engineering manager at First Endeavour, said, “We’ve purchased four 20-tonne excavators and two 14-tonne excavators which SITECH have fitted with Trimble technology, and we’ve just purchased a 35-tonne excavator and two dump trucks which means we can do our own cut and fill so we’re making some big investments now.

“When we began discussions with Liam at SITECH we were looking for two more engineers and he explained how the technology could help us to progress projects, because we’re so busy with so many sites going through planning that I need to survey and engineer them as efficiently as possible and iron out any issues quickly.

“Surveying using the drone and Trimble Stratus has been a revelation to us as it is a one-stop shop. As soon as we purchase a site we now go out and survey it with the drone then the data goes into the Trimble Stratus software and I get the worksite map back within hours which I can go into and get all sorts of measurements and estimate volumes.

“Our surveyors are using it now to calculate volumes, completed distances and distances to be completed, and we give our clients access to the platform so they can see their site in its entirety while it’s in progress – which they really like.

“From the office I can see where everything is being moved to and from, which saves me a lot of time with site visits. The Trimble Works Manager is fantastic for me as I can make changes, troubleshoot problems, and send solutions straight to the excavator.”

SITECH provided ongoing training and systems support to Scott so he could have full confidence in the new systems. While he admits that some of the operators had concerns about using the machine control technology at first, they now love how simple it is to use and the accuracy it delivers.

“It’s so easy to use Trimble that I can’t fault it or the team at SITECH who always come back to me within the hour if I have an issue,” Scott added. “We’ve not finished investing in connected site technology, as we’ve saved over 15% on concrete alone just in relation to doing footings because of the accuracy of the GPS. This may not seem a lot, but at the volume of concrete we use it means the kit has almost paid for itself – and that’s not considering the time savings in terms of manpower.

“We now have a one-stop shop for projects from inception to completion and the technology from SITECH has certainly exceeded our expectations.”

Liam Payne, regional sales representative at SITECH UK & Ireland, said the accuracy of the GPS technology means customers can work well within tolerances, while the GPS setups along with drone mapping through Trimble Stratus can ‘halve’ engineer labour time on site profiling roads or setting up batter rails.

He added, “It can also eliminate health and safety concerns for site operatives, helping to minimise the risk of suffering trips and falls and reducing the risks present when working around deep excavations.

“We gave Scott a demo on the Trimble SPS986 GPS rover, SPS720 Total Station and Trimble TSC7 survey controller then we talked about drone surveying because Scott oversees multiple sites which would take days to survey and process using more traditional methods. Stratus can carry out a survey in less than an hour and you receive it a few hours later fully processed ready to share with colleagues or clients.

“Having supported Scott and his team to implement the technology from day one I’m really excited to follow them on their journey. Initially Scott and some of his excavator operators were quite apprehensive about using the technology but now they wouldn’t go back, and it’s exciting to see how it is helping First Endeavour LLP to grow.”