A word from our client: Thomson Habitats

Technics has been working with Thomson Habitats over the last 18 months on a pioneering ‘green corridor’ wildlife project being delivered alongside Britain’s new high speed rail line, HS2. We spoke with Simon Mackrell, Director at Thomson Habitats, to learn more about how Technics supported the project, including highlights and challenges, and future plans for the company.

What have been some of the key highlights for your business over the last year?

We recently completed the successful delivery of a multimillion-pound, 18-month project for Britain’s new high speed rail link, HS2, which involved the creation of new wildlife sites around Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.

This is just one part of HS2’s ‘green corridor’ project which will see an interlinked series of new wildlife habitats, woodland and community facilities created alongside the line between London and the West Midlands. Our part of the project included the planting of more than 55,000 trees, creation of a total of 37 newt ponds, as well as dozens of hectares of wildflower meadows and new fox conservation areas. We worked with 35 supply chain partners including Technics, who carried out a PAS 128 survey on site at the start of excavation, allowing the project to proceed. This was one of the most demanding and testing projects we have ever done, and as a result of its successful delivery, we have been awarded a very large HS2 follow-up mitigation project which will commence in 2020.

Can you tell us about a time you encountered a challenge and Technics was able to help you resolve the issue?

Given the size and scope, the HS2 green corridor project was met with many unexpected challenges and situations. In addition to the survey work at the start, Technics was on standby throughout the duration of the works for any unusual occurrences. For example, we would excavate a hole into the ground, and if we observed anything expected underneath the surface, Technics would come out and scan the area again for fresh results. Another issue we encountered was at the start of the project, when some of the designs and coordination points on the plans, which had been compiled by another project partner, were incorrect to the point that we were compromising site boundaries. We asked Technics to help redesign those features and re-set the points. They did a very quick turnaround, and we were really impressed by the level of their responsiveness and the meticulous attention they paid to detail.

What are the two most important things you would consider when choosing a surveyor?

I would rate flexibility and responsiveness at the top – it is very important to be able to turn around things quickly as in this business, time is money. It is also very important to understand your client’s business inside and out, which also helps you turn around things more quickly and also pre-empt issues before they occur. Technics demonstrated a great symbiosis of these two qualities, which prevented the project from complications and delays. It also helps to have the right balance between cost and quality, which is not easy to achieve in this competitive industry.

Can you tell us about any changes you plan to make to your business in the coming year?

There are two major developments that will take place in 2020. The first is that we will carry on with our second mitigation project for the HS2 corridor. There are several more of these green corridor projects taking place up and down the country, which will need to be in place before the actual project can begin. We have created a specialist team to deal specifically with HS2 and are looking forward to continuing our involvement as the plans progress. We will also be furthering our work with big infrastructure companies and continuing to advance our specialist teams in non-HS2 work as well. This includes various vegetation clearing and arboriculture works projects this winter for various Tier 1 contractors, as well as badger sett construction and invasive species management.

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