Large Scale Topo and Utility Surveys for HS2 and Skanska Costain STRABAG JV

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Large Scale Topo and Utility Surveys for HS2 and Skanska Costain STRABAG JV

Project summary:

A detailed 3D topographical and subsurface model was required by the main contractor, Skanska Costain STRABAG JV (SCS JV), working on the HS2 state-of-the-art, high-speed rail line – the UK’s biggest infrastructure project.

The brief:

Murphy Geospatial successfully delivered this large contract for the HS2 project, which will increase rail capacity and connectivity across the country, connecting London, the West Midlands, Manchester and Leeds.

The brief was to support one of HS2’s principal contractors, Skanska Costain STRABAG Joint Venture (SCS JV), which is delivering the 26.4km London section of HS2’s journey from West Ruislip to its southern terminus in Euston.

The project required topographic and utility surveys to help the design of utility diversions needed for the new railway line’s construction. The area of survey is one of the most complex as it’s close to central London with high levels of pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

The scale of the work:

Our involvement began in August 2019 and we completed contracted elements in April 2021.  We initially focused on a number of large road intersections along parts of the proposed route – this included 20 sites, covering a combined area of 162,000 sqm.

The challenges:

One of the biggest hurdles was managing the works during the COVID-19 pandemic. We had to plan our works carefully and according to lockdown restrictions. With safety being our highest priority, we paused our work to give us time to plan our schedule so it aligned with the COVID-19 guidelines.

Community and stakeholder engagement was vital in helping us shape our final work plan and gain the necessary approvals to complete the project.

Our plan of action: 

Following several site visits and meetings, we rearranged the schedule to take account of feedback raised by the public and local stakeholders. This included:

  • Planning and splitting scoped works to make sure road diversions were kept as short as possible, minimising disruption to the local communities
  • Considering the local infrastructure, such as scheduling works near schools during school holidays, and those near shops at night-time or early morning, again taking into consideration the needs of the public
  • Liaising closely with local authorities and SCS JV to keep lane closures and bus stop and parking suspensions to a minimum
  • Planning closures and suspensions on a nightly or daily basis instead of large or lengthy closures which would affect residents and traffic flow

We also:

  • Produced a detailed risk assessment and method statement for each site, including traffic management to ensure the works could be carried out safely, with minimised risk and disruption
  • Provided a detailed programme of works, in accordance with the contract and NEC3 requirements, which was regularly updated and communicated to the project manager

Large Scale Topo and Utility Surveys for HS2 and Skanska Costain STRABAG JV - Murphy Geospatial

How the team worked:

The site and office works were managed by a dedicated project manager with ultimate responsibility for all quality, delivery and management of the budget.

Weekly progress meetings were held with the client, with input provided into their PowerBI tool to keep track of our works and enabling clarity on progress and reporting. All risks, issues, and delays were reported and resolved in accordance with the NEC3 contract.

Constant communication with the client, the third party liaison officer and subcontractors was essential to keep the project on track. Being agile enough to deal with unexpected changes played a large part in the success of this project.

All the on-site inspections carried out by the project manager, health and safety managers and the clients were passed with no issues, and we received good feedback throughout the project.

OK-Conditions-resized - Murphy Geospatial


We used the latest technology from Leica, IDS and 3D radar for site works and our bespoke project management tool, Kompass BSM, to manage all tasks, resources and equipment in addition to tracking hours planned and spent. Our Kompass software is linked to our quality management system and integral to our workflows, project planning, reporting and quality assurance procedures. 

Our London office carried out the post-processing of survey data, which went through a rigorous and documented quality assurance workflow from start to finish, incorporating site, office and pre-delivery checks.


The project was delivered successfully by Skanska Costain STRABAG JV (SCS JV) and Murphy Geospatial through efficient processes and communication. We have effectively managed our own staff, subcontractors and processors using our Kompass software to assist in the successful delivery of the required survey information to the client’s specification and BIM standard.

Regarding the parking suspension costs, SCS JV had estimated approximately £45,000 to £65,000. We have reduced this to around £8,000, providing significant savings. 

Our strategic plan of action around the sites has helped ease stakeholder concerns and we were also able to deliver on time and within budget.

Our conclusion:

Our collaborative working culture with our supply chain and SCS JV helped us to effectively deliver the works to the timescales provided. Our use of rapid data capture technologies including the ground penetrating radar (GPR) and mobile mapping helped us cover the areas more quickly and provide efficiencies and cost savings.

As an SME local to the route, Murphy Geospatial has benefited from our involvement on the HS2 project. It has helped us and other local companies to keep staff working safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. With careful planning and strategy, the project works are executed with the aim of minimising disruption to the local community.

HS2 has also opened a broad range of career opportunities and prospects within our business. We look forward to supporting the project through our extensive range of services by providing geospatial certainty you can trust.

About Skanska Costain STRABAG JV (SCS JV):

Skanska Costain STRABAG Joint Venture (SCS JV) is working to deliver HS2 along the final 26.4km journey to its southern terminus in Euston. The JV will complete challenging works taking the railway from Northolt to Euston via Old Oak Common, building a variety of structures requiring expert precision and care. As 95% (21km) of the route will be in tunnel, SCS will be running seven tunnel boring machines (TBMs), of which five will operate simultaneously.


For more information on this project, please contact David Sayad at or +44 203 598 3775

  • Client

    Skanska Costain STRABAG JV (SCS JV)

  • Sector/Market


  • Services

    Subsurface InvestigationTopographical Surveys

  • Location


" ‘Murphy Geospatial were attentive to our needs on such a large and complex project. Collaboration was key to delivering these works in time. They were proactive and suggested productive action plans. "

Yogapirabu Selvaraj, Section Engineer, SCS JV

BAD Conditions - Murphy Geospatial

Services Used

Subsurface Investigation and Mapping

Subsurface Investigation

Topographical Surveys - Murphy Geospatial

Topographical Surveys

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