All set for modern living design

Case study

Author: Ilona Bihlmayer

Managing and planning living spaces is becoming more and more complex due to decreasing space for new buildings together with increasing customer demands on design and comfort. Across the residential building industry, including single- and multi-family housing construction, there is a growing importance for construction companies to be ready to deal with multiple building regulations regarding environmental protection and living space optimisation.

Especially in the luxury single-housing construction industry, these regulations have to be combined with special designs and smart ways of construction to fulfil the requirements of demanding customers. To satisfy the needs of today’s residential building construction industry, a transition from time and labour-intense traditional analogue layout methods, such as tapes, stringlines, batter boards and chalklines to modern digital layout techniques is inevitable.


Witnessing the development in building construction



Mike Sharp & Son is a general contractor company for luxury residential single- and multi-family houses in the United Kingdom. Established in Wallingford and founded in 1980, the company looks back to close to 40 years of development in the building construction industry. Increasing government building regulations and design requests on the customer side require digital layout techniques to achieve the highest productivity and accuracy.



Typical residential single-family houses designed and built by Mike Sharp & Son

Mike Sharp, CEO at Mike Sharp & Son explains, “The demands of our customers have increased a lot in the last couple of years. The rising complexity in the designs of our houses made us think about alternatives in our layout techniques to fulfil customer’s requirements. Sharp explains the layout accuracy for the inner walls is extremely important, “for a kitchen manufacturer, for example, a deviation of just a few millimetres between two walls means additional rework. Additional work, which causes time, money and, in the worst case, unsatisfied customers.”

Matthew Sharp, working in the family company, is responsible for the layout measurements of all trades involved in the building projects – from defining reference points to start the actual design, laying out the outer and inner lines of the house, to defining the fall of sewer lines. Without a survey background, Matthew Sharp got trained on construction layout tasks on various construction sites. An easy-to-use but highly accurate construction layout solution, designed specifically for the building construction industry, helps him to do layout tasks efficiently.


Digitising construction layout



Mike Sharp & Son purchased a Leica iCON robotic total station with Leica Geosystems’ construction-tailored field iCON field software to do layout tasks automatically. Before the company did layout measurements conventionally by using tapes, stringlines and waterlevels. These procedures were time consuming and stretched the team’s limits with the increasing complexity of designs.

“When we realised that we lose lots of time in the layout process, we started to look for modern alternatives that help us facilitate the whole layout process. One of the reasons why we choose the Leica iCON solution is the ease-of-use of both, instrument and software. The intuitive software interface makes it simple to operate, even for employees without a professional layout background,” states Mike Sharp.



Design data of the staircase of a standard Mike Sharp & Son single-family house

Since working with the iCON robotic total station, Mike Sharp & Son achieves much higher accuracy in its projects in a shorter time. The company has found especially helpful to look at the visualisation of the whole design file in .dxf format. This way employees can show every trade working at the construction site the entire project and everyone knows right on the spot the status of the project and where teams come into play. Mike Sharp explains, “Moving away from 2D design on paper plans to 3D design data directly and intuitively shown in the iCON field construction software ensures the latest design files are available without outdated or missing elements.”

Another reason for Mike Sharp & Son to go with an iCON robotic total station from Leica Geosystems was the great consulting, support and outstanding training before, during and also after the purchasing process they received from SCCS Survey. SCCS Survey is a Leica Geosystems, part of Hexagon, authorised distributor and service partner in the U.K.

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