I may have found myself the "retirement" job, the apple in my eye, the greatest adventure yet. The total job will take 5 to 7 years, several contracts yet to be awarded, but a closed shop with in-house surveyors. Our contract is to deliver civil structures. Waking up to 35 or 40 below is standard, the sun won't rise until late February. I love my toys, got lots of them.

I want to share with you my experiences from a land that is north of Norway Sweden or Finland. Been surveying and designing within the heavy construction industry, mostly roads and bridges to support hydro and mine projects, and more recently full phase construction from earthworks to structural. Just imagine having to locate a full bench road across 80%-130% solid rock, then survey & design the works and hand over to your construction manager, just so that he can hound you day in and day out on how you could have designed this this way or that that way. Do that for 25 to 30 years, and the day will come when they tell you that you cannot be out in the field anymore, too valuable a resource, or let the kids do it, or its not your job anymore. Man, that sucks. What really sucked was that my equipment was no longer in the budget. Well, tabernac.

I have this for support survey equipment, in other words it is on site and ready to be used at a moments notice. I have no assistant. I perform QC

Altus APS3



Leica Rugby 840

Leica Disto D5

Interesting situation arose with a building erection, whereas an overzealous observer made comments about observations made of the foundation block layout. In my defense, the design engineer provided me with a dxf file of the layout that I loaded into my Nomad, I used the RTK to find my corners and I pounded 4 corner nails, and off we went. The in-house surveyors came in with their total station and found that i was within 20 mm off 4 square, and I had a 25 mm tolerance. Altus APS3 in temperatures no warmer than 35 below, using a 2 m rod for the rover.

So you can use an Altus APS3 in dayum cold weather, and with proper care and control including a steady hold of your rover rod, you can easily maintain a better than 25 mm accuracy.

I always have a complete second set of batteries for both the base and rover, and was getting 4-5 hours with normal use. Have not needed to go to a 12V battery system yet, but all indications point to a heated cooler to maintain a complete day of charge when under heavy use, as was shared with me by the local surveyors. It it is not really cold yet.

The Disto D5 will help me stop breaking tapes. If it is not a steel tape, forget about it. The Disto is an expensive alternative, but if you can take a measure in less than 15 seconds then you have a chance of maintaining warm hands all day. And it stores the measurement so you can go back to the heated office to download the results, no need to try and write with a pencil with your triple lined mitts, never mind turning a page in your note book.

The Rugby 840 Laser level is more overkill, when you got 10 mm to play with. But when you have a killer crew of carpenters and erectors that want to compete with the other killer crew, well they can try and beat our 6 mm average any time they want to borrow the machine. An experienced crew knows what to look for and trust what they know. Like they tell me, erecting a prefabricated building on 12T building blocks without using shims is a straight and level building. It is no longer about pride, it is all all about production and anything that can help production is a good tool.

With regards to implementation of quality control management plans, this is where life gets beautiful. The flow of information must be error free, and the result must be the same time after time: structure meets or exceeds specifications. You must trust, but you have to verify. Having the balls to say you can do the job does not guarantee that you will have a set of balls when the job is done. So far, the same errors can be found  there or anywhere else, including drawing typos and wrong dimensions, survey busts, mislabeled parts, and turnaround drops. Nothing is easy, yet survey is the only common language that is used to transmit information from designers to contractors to manufacturers: here is the drawing we used and this is how it lays out, now this is the problem...

Anyways, heading back there this weekend and getting into some pretty hard core situations. I hope to learn something and share that with you here. Happy New Years!

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