Forethought takes NZ architects to the forefront - Gary Pidd Architect Ltd (now Studio 26)

ClientMinistry of Education, NZLocationNew Zealand
ConsultantGary Pidd ArchitectContractorGary Pidd

Project Summary

New Zealand firm Gary Pidd Architect Ltd has jumped on the cutting edge of technology with its innovative use of 12d Model for an ongoing project to build a database of over 200 schools.

The project involves surveying each site and recording all buildings and features such as paving, ramps, trees, play equipment, covered ways, car parking facilities, sealed areas, and grass areas. This information is then converted into DWG files for supply to the customer.

The firm had previously won a smaller contract to survey schools, but had completed this by hand. When competing for this larger contract, Gary Pidd Architect investigated modern equipment to see what it could do for them.


The Challenge

True first-time users, the firm had not previously used any surveying software, and had only used manual theodolites.


The Solution

Mr Pidd initially found the New Zealand distributor for 12d Model on the Internet using a search engine. Sokkia in Wellington gave the firm a demonstration of Sokkia instruments and 12d Model software. Mr Pidd was impressed right from the outset. “With Sokkia, we went to a school site, took some measurements, then went back to our office and downloaded it straight onto our computer from the data recorder,” he said.

“We wanted a system which functioned so that when we coded the data in the field, it was automatically given colours, linestyles, symbols such as trees and flagpoles at points when downloaded and reduced. With no extra work, it was then all there as a basic outline of the school!”

Other choices of equipment for the contract included an aerial photograph system and GPS, which Gary Pidd Architect discovered couldn’t give them the accuracy they needed for this job. Using a Practise Version of 12d Model combined with the intended use of Sokkia instruments, the firm put together their proposal, and their chosen methodology won them the contract.

The company has completed plans for 20 schools to date, and estimate the project will take about 9 more months to complete. They have calculated the amount of time saved using 12d Model rather than previous methods as being around 20%!

“The program is so tailorable,” Mr Pidd said. “You don’t have to know all the codes that are in there; just use the one system that you have set up! It’s brilliant! Some of the sites have up to 400 measurements, yet you come back into the office with them, and 15 minutes later, there you are with a plan!”

Another aspect of this modern technology the firm found particularly helpful was the ability to download data files on-site, and email them back to their main office. “Some of the schools are miles away, so this is a great feature for us,” said Mr Pidd.

The Result

The firm plans to use 12d Model on all future work. In the words of Mr Pidd, “We will never use just the old theodolite equipment again!”

Download this Case Study as a PDF HERE