Case studies

  • Customer: Mecserve
  • Project: The Malls Basingstoke
  • Date: 2009

The Challenge

Engineering consultants Mecserve were awarded the contract to improve the aesthetics of The Malls shopping centre in the heart of Basingstoke, this task included designing and erecting a new free standing canopy over the main pedestrian entrance. To achieve this goal they knew that a detailed understanding of the location, depth and volume of underground services in front of the 1960’s building would also be a must from the start.

A busy shopping centre that was operating seven days a week with a high footfall of shoppers entering and leaving through the doors that opened onto the proposed canopy site would be enough to manage, but unexpectedly coming across unknown and potentially dangerous underground services, that was a definite no-no. The likely hazards involved when exposing utilities with so many people passing close to the construction site, as well as the cost and possible business interruption that could occur if one single service was accidently disconnected, meant that seeing into the underground at the planning stage was mandatory.

The Solution

The canopy outline design was agreed, but until the position of the four load bearing legs of the structure could be confirmed, it would not be signed off. Mecserve instructed Geotec Surveys to map all underground utilities in front of the main entrance to The Mall, as they knew that the CAD drawn results would show in detail the depth, position and even the types of utilities running through their work space.

By cross referencing stats from the utility companies with state-of-the-art on site technologies such as Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), radio frequency locating, cover lifting, sondes, dyes etc. meant that Geotec Surveys could deliver to Mecserve an almost 3D view of the underground services on the site.

The Result

Once the drawing was in their hands they could make final decisions on design, cost for excavations, draft relevant site safety plans, as well as identify what options they had for relocating any pipes or cables that lay where the proposed load bearing bases were to be constructed.


Stuart Axson of Mecserve comments; “ The clear results allowed us to safely plan our work, minimise disruption to the shopping centre and the public, whilst creating a striking design that enhances and updates the look and attractiveness of The Malls.“ Stuart continues “Underground mapping is a key tool that we try to use whenever we are working in the urban environment as the risks involved in planning any excavations is not acceptable without the area first being mapped by a professional company like Geotec Surveys. “

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