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Case Study
Southampton Central Station Quarter

No delays at this station!

…but there may have been serious delays to the design and construction process if it wasn’t for a SUMO Stratascan geophysical survey.

The development of the Southampton Station Quarter is expected to create an exciting arrival experience fit for a major city


The development of the Southampton Station Quarter is expected to create an exciting arrival experience fit for a major city

The problem...

  • £3M of improvement works faced delays after last minute concerns of attenuation tanks in the construction area.
  • No records were available to confirm their existence.
  • Their accurate location was urgently needed.
  • Digging trial holes was costly, risky and time consuming.
  • SUMO Stratascan was consulted to devise a non-invasive solution to locate all buried anomalies.

The solution...

  • SUMO Stratascan carried out an initial reconnaissance of the site.
  • No surface responses were visible and so multi-geophysical survey techniques were required.
  • The entire 1,000 square metre site was surveyed on a 1.0 metre transect grid with low frequency ground penetrating radar (GPR) backed-up with an electromagnetic ground conductivity survey.
  • The survey data revealed eight well defined parallel linear anomalies crossing the site, characteristic of the responses expected from attenuation tanks.
  • The crowns of the GPR images indicated eight tanks approximately 0.9 metres beneath the ground level.
  • Unknown areas of re-inforced concrete buried under asphalt were also detected.
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Typical configuration of attenuation tanks

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Two examples of actual survey data indicating parallel anomalies confirming the existence of the tanks

Costs and benefits...

The survey cost was only £2,500, but the accurate detection of all buried obstructions in the construction area avoided the need for trial holes costing several times more without the added risk of damage. Furthermore, the prompt delivery of the survey report allowed the project to continue on time.


“The results were very accurate and expedited the overall design process without incurring additional costs from excavating trial holes and also minimised disruption to the public by carrying out the work overnight.”

Balfour Beatty Senior Engineer


Survey techniques used in this case study...

Ground Probing Radar (GPR)

Geophysical