Saturday, March 19, 2016

McCafferty Consultancy Ltd is 6!

Here we are, celebrating our 6th birthday!  2010 seems a long time ago; but at the same time, the past six years have gone by in a flash.

Things continue to be busy here, with a range of work steadily passing through the circuits.  We would like to acknowledge and thank our wonderful clients for making this possible, and also express gratitude to the friends and family that have offered such great support over the years.

Much of the work is still concentrated on 3d modelling and earthwork analysis, with the majority of this activity being for residential housing development sites.  We recently carried out a series of exercises and built a number of models for a housing site of over 330 units.

In terms of civil engineering, we have been proud to have been working with BAM Nuttall on a number of major projects since late 2014, and have been pleased to have been selected to carry out 3d modelling and volumetric analysis on a number of major projects throughout Scotland by the top ranking company.

We continue with our utility mapping service - around 150 locations in the UK have now been plotted - including a recent project at Grangemouth, that required over half a million metres of buried utility apparatus to be produced in CAD...

Continuing in our marine and offshore activities, we have produced a number of 3d models for sub-sea and harbour improvement projects, and have prepared data for GPS and machine guidance systems.  The image on the right is from a pier protection scheme for a Scottish Highlands road bridge.


At the start of 2016, a new website was launched to replace the original version.  If you haven't checked it out yet, take a look at 

So - the first six years are now behind us... let's see what the next six have in store!


Saturday, October 3, 2015

5.5 years later

Time, thou anticipat’st my dread exploits.
The flighty purpose never is o'ertook
Unless the deed go with it. From this moment
The very firstlings of my heart shall be
The firstlings of my hand. And even now,
To crown my thoughts with acts, be it thought and done...
Followers of The Bard will maybe spot the topical reference to Macbeth... topical, because just yesterday I was looking at the cinema listings, and this seems to be the film of the moment.  But why open this post with such a quote?  Well, shamefully, it has been  a couple of years since I updated this blog!

The passage above is spoken by Macbeth and tells of his new determination to act immediately and to start following his thoughts with actions.  He goes on to tell how he plans to raid Macduff, seize Fife and kill, well... pretty much everyone.  I will be much less dramatic, and merely seize my thoughts to the point of finally mashing the keyboard and hopefully producing a brief blog update (how the world has changed since those bloodthirsty days of old!).

Time has flown, and it is now just over five and a half years since the birth of McCafferty Consultancy Ltd.  Despite the absence of blog, twitter, Facebook, or YouTube updates, we are still busy analysing construction sites and mapping assets up and down the country, and have taken on some really interesting projects since the last posting.

We have now carried out volumetric analysis on around 100 residential housing sites in Scotland, producing crucial information relating to the earthwork movements required on these.

We have also worked on some major, large-scale civil engineering projects - including hydro schemes, electrical substations, windfarms, and even the A9 dualling project.  

Our portfolio has extended into offshore and subsea, where we have been engaged to produce models to allow for the construction of sea roads, harbours and carry out essential dredging and maintenance projects.
Utility avoidance continues to be an active and busy are of the business, having now provided CAD plans for countless projects across the UK.

What about the BIM???  Well, BIM remains a subject of great interest, and one that we are keen to continue to work at, raising awareness and enabling organisations to realise the benefits that can be achieved.  We were approached by a global contractor to develop a pre-construction conflict avoidance process that was borne out of a BIM-aware approach to project delivery.  
Using our expertise in 3d modelling, and drawing on our knowledge and experience in project delivery, we created a process that was able to successfully identify potential conflicts in subterranean infrastructure that was proposed for a major development.  This process would allow for the avoidance of problems that might only have been discovered during the construction phase, and permit a re-design before any material, resource, or crucially - money, was committed on the site.

Interestingly, I've been thinking this week about how organisations are looking at ways of being able to track and record financial expenditure towards various build assets.  This is becoming a very important task, and is presenting some major issues for the organisations trying to undertake these exercises.  Essentially, what is required is the ability to know where assets are located, how much value is attributable to them, when they were formed and how they have been maintained - with the ability to export, share, and reuse this information...  Yet, "BIM" isn't something that's being said.  The association of intelligent, accurate and dynamic data into assets, and the interoperability of this data is what BIM is about... maybe people are more engaged in BIM than they realise...
So life carries on.  We continue to turn out the projects, and we are continually grateful for the support and the business we are given by our clients.

The office move is complete, so this is being written from the softer and more comfortable new surroundings (see right).

And with a picture taken many years ago of Glamis Castle, finally, a blog update is written... what's done is done (Act 3, Scene 2).

Monday, March 11, 2013

3 years and counting...

We're approaching the end of another busy year here at McCafferty Consultancy Ltd.  Updates have been somewhat lacking lately - apologies to all those who are hanging on to the edge of their seats, waiting to learn what's been happening ;o)

Our third year has seen some exiting changes.  We have now completed a number of contracts for a new, multi-billion pound, global client and look forward to a continued relationship with them.

Stevie has also completed a very interesting contract with a local authority, an undertaking which has seen a permanent role being realised.  It remains very much "business as usual" here, and we look forward to continuing to deliver projects and consultancy services into year four and beyond.

As we come to the end of year three of successful trading, we thought some statistics might be nice (who doesn't love a statistic?!?) ;o)

Over our first three years, we have represented several million miles of buried utilities, providing plans for 52 projects, including 17 windfarms.

We have calculated, quantified and analysed countless tonnes of earthworks, modelling and profiling 23 housing projects.

We have even taken our services away from "Terra firma" and have delivered some very interesting off-shore / coastal volumetrics packages, including 1 dock and 1 harbour project, as well as a major hydro-energy infrastructure project.

We'd like to take this opportunity to reiterate our appreciation for all the support and encouragement we've received so far.  Three years ago, we started as a small idea.  The time has flown by so far, but we're looking forward to a very long future, and lots of exciting things to come.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Update - been a while!

An update is long overdue here, so here's a quick update on what's been happening at McCafferty Consultancy Ltd.

We have continued to provide mainly CAD and Volumetric services to our existing clientbase, but have been pleased to welcome some new clients from the utilities and drainage sector.

Utilities still remains to be the biggest sector that we are serving.  Mapping and planning of underground services is a vital service, with designers and contractors depending on the information provided to plan and deliver a wide range of construction projects safely.

We are pleased to say our partnership with National One Call is going strong as they continue to deliver their extremely useful "dial before you dig" service.

We have recently been awarded our eleventh onshore windfarm CAD project for utilities mapping, and look forward to many more.  Other exciting projects have been the "Portsmouth project", where an impressive 11799 objects were plotted.  This was a total of 1,221,952m of known buried services - that's over 759 miles of cables and pipes!

Additionally, in this sector, we are currently working on a nice looking project based around the Reebok Stadium - home to Bolton Wanderers FC, and are just about to start five projects covering Greater Manchester.

Away from utilities, we have been working to provide detailed measurement and volumetric analysis services, still predominantly for the private housing sector (this being one of our main areas of expertise).  We are very keen to expand our client base in this sector, so if you or someone you know are involved in developments that would benefit from an accurate earthworks assessment, get in touch :o)
This month, a new service was requested and successfully delivered by McCafferty Consultancy Ltd. as we undertook our first measured survey project.  An existing client had a requirement for an as-built drawing to be prepared, so came to us to undertake a site survey and produce the plans.  This went well, and the relevant drawings were produced and delivered to the clients' satisfaction.

We are now looking to continue this service, and are currently tendering for larger projects of a similar nature.  With our background, we can handle a range of this type of work, from simple as built measurements, to topographical / built environment surveys - even 3D laser scanning.

This year has seen further investment in our IT, with the addition of another high-performance workstation to cater for the increasingly large projects that are being commissioned.  We have invested considerably in the latest software packages to ensure that we can handle and deliver the widest range of projects as efficiently and accurately as possible.

So, while the blogging has been neglected, it remains business as usual here.  It just remains to say thanks to our clients for the continued business, and thanks to our friends for all the support.

You can also catch us on Twitter @mccafferty_uk and why not check out our Facebook page at - as well as the usual

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Not just BIM?!?

Did you know... McCafferty Consultancy Ltd. is not just about BIM?  In fact, in terms of BIM, most of what we do here is try to promote BIM and educate how the processes can be used to provide additional value to construction companies, consultants, practitioners and the industry as a whole.

We love construction, and the goal is to see our industry operating as intelligently and as smart is as possible, utilising the latest in management practices and leveraging the latest technologies to gain maximum value and achieve the highest standards possible.

The majority of our workload is focused on providing CAD services and volumetric analysis for construction companies and specialist service providers.  In fact - and don't go crazy here - a great deal of this is even 2D!

We regularly turn out some pretty nice 3D work, mostly in our volumetric packages, where we form detailed models to represent proposed construction sites and incorporate existing survey data.

Take a look at a feature video...

Another, perhaps lesser known, service that we provide is our area takeoff service.  This is something that is particularly useful for groundwork companies or developers, and involves the preparation of site-wide take-off drawings, that are categorised into different physical areas.  A detailed spreadsheet then accompanies the take-off drawing, detailing the individual and aggregate measured areas across the proposed site.  This information can be useful during planning, development, tender and ongoing build stages.

Take a look at a feature video...

These are just a couple of the other services that we are able to provide, but if you think they could be of interest, or even if you wish to discuss our other capabilities or investigate how we can help your business, please feel free to get in touch.

Friday, February 17, 2012

BIM first, ask questions later

It's been a while since the last post here, but the time has come to put across my view on the tricky question of BIM ownership.  I'm not an active "BIM practitioner", but am a self-declared advocate and enthusiast, so these thoughts should be read with that in mind.

This is a much-debated and frequently raised subject, and not one that I'm particularly fond of, but it's clearly something that needs to be discussed.

Who owns the model?

During a recent talk I gave at Glasgow University, a point that I made was that the construction industry would really be required to re-visit and re-think its approach to contractual relationships in order for BIM to be allowed to flourish.  This is no easy or small ask, as it would involve a completely fresh approach to the way that information and data is shared and handled between stakeholders and key parties.


At present, I believe there is no suitable contractual framework in the UK to address this issue.  This is essential, as BIM by nature is based on a notion of openness and sharing of information.

Such a contractual framework would need to outline and define the level of modeling required for a particular project, the responsibilities of each party or stakeholder involved in input or manipulation of data, as well as the deliverable expected from the model to each party.

In USA, addenda have been introduced – AIA-E202 & ConsensusDocs301.  The objective of these was to balance the risk and benefits associated with the sharing of models and intellectual data.   

Part of AIA states: Drawings, Specifications and other documents, including those in electronic form, prepared by the Architect and the Architect's consultants are Instruments of Service for use solely with respect to this project. The Architect and Architect's consultants shall be deemed the authors and owners of their respective Instruments of Service and shall retain all common law, statutory and other reserved right, including copyrights.”

This seems to fit the general state in the UK, where the architect / designer would be the “owner”.  However, my thoughts are that the building itself ultimately would be the “owner” of the model, and each party would act as a “custodian” during the period that they were engaged in inputting data (see previous blog post).  The data relates specifically to the project, and so should be “owned” by the same.  Practically speaking, the client / project owner would be the keeper of the BIM, and would act as the legacy manager for it.  In order for BIM to succeed and for the full benefits to be realised, the true owner must be the building / project owner – i.e. the client.

Through out the life of a building for example, the largest cost / profit / benefit / use is post-construction, during the occupation of the building.  The aim of BIM is to define and create a usable pool of data that can be leveraged to extract value during the design, delivery, but crucially the operation of the building.  The building owner will be the last party (prior to decommissioning) who will handle and use the data, so they should be the ultimate owner of the BIM.

What about liability?

My own belief is that liability would remain largely unchanged throughout the design and delivery process, when transitioning to BIM.  My own thought, as outlined above, is that each party – designer, consultant, engineer, contractor, etc – simply act as “custodians” of the data for a period in the project lifecycle.  Their input and the expectations of their delivery would remain largely the same within or outwith a BIM-centred project.

Key to this would be the main point outlined above – the contractual framework.  As stated, this would need to define and address the deliverable expected from each party.  Simply, does that party meet the expectation defined for their role within the framework?

 Additionally, the form of deliverable from the BIM to each party could be detailed and scheduled.  This could be something as simple as a spreadsheet schedule or plan 2D PDF be extracted from the data for a particular party to use for a particular activity.  This could remove some of the complexity or uncertainty that an individual may feel is a barrier if required to navigate around the data-rich model itself.  Just because all the data is available, doesn’t mean that it all needs to be used by everyone.

At present, I do not believe there is a specific policy that has been developed in the UK for limiting liability of parties engaged in BIM.  Would current insurance be appropriate?  I’m no lawyer, but I would expect that a deliverable could be assessed on the basis of “does the outcome meet the expectation?”.

With the fundamental basis of collaboration and the sharing of data in place, it’s not unreasonable to expect that a greater level of transparency and auditability could be demonstrated during the development and execution of a project.  Regular data audits could be performed, and used as the basis to assess the performance of the “BIM”.  Appropriate levels of data, of the right quality could be determined, along with the point in the project timeline when the data was added, and therefore the party responsible.

Moving to a more efficient, higher-quality method of project delivery is in everyone’s interest.  The ability to produce better projects that have higher-performance levels as well as a lower environmental and financial impact is a goal that we would all like to see achieved.

As an industry, is it possible or practicable to make a move to come together to try and achieve this ideal and start collaborating more without delaying to consider how we can apportion blame if we can’t play nicely together?

BIM first, ask questions later?*

*no kittens were harmed during the writing of this post

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Yo, VIP, let's kick it!

I doubt many people are going to admit to recognising the title of this post, although I'm sure it's triggering some memories for a few of you.  

The year was 1990, and the artist was Robert Van Winkle - aka Vanilla Ice.

Of course, the lyrics I should have used come only a few lines later...

 Stop, Collaborate and Listen.

What a great way to go about thinking about making a transition to operating within a BIM process.

This week, I was delighted to attend a great BIM event in Glasgow - twitter users out there, search #BIMSCOTLAND to find out a little more.

I was very pleased to hear the message being firmly pushed home that in order to make a succesful move into "BIM", we - as an industry - need to put aside our conventional methods and perceptions and open our minds to a completely new way of working.

Procurement, development and relationships all need to be re-visited or re-learned to allow the BIM to realise its potential.

Let's "do" BIM - step 1... throw away the rule books; 
forget "the way it's always been done"

Sure, this won't be easy and there will be stumbles along the way... but believe me, the journey will be worth the effort.

We'll overcome the classic questions that often appear as obsitcles, such as "who owns the model?".  In my view, when considering a building, I'd suggest that the building itself "owns" the model... different stakeholders will act as "stewards" of that model at various stages throughout the development, ownership and maintenance of the asset.  Each steward will have their own responsibilites, risks and rewards during their period of ownership.

Thinking about "throwing away the rule book", what better opportunity can we ask for to start afresh with new forms of contract etc, that suit construction today - rather than yesterday?

With a young family, I'm acutely aware of the trials and adventures that take place at East High School, in Albuquerque (the uninitiated should google "High School Musical").  The Wildcats present us with a fitting notion...

"We're all in this together".

If ever there was a message to be applied to enabling or implementing BIM, I'd suggest this is the one.