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Women of World War II Memorial

A seven metre high bronze sculpture in Whitehall, London commemorating the courage and resilience of British women who served their country during the Second World War. The memorial was scheduled to be opened by HM the Queen but late civils and buried utilities complications almost put an end to the project.

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Summary of Events

  • Planning consent granted for a strict position for the monument.

  • Late statutory utility investigation necessitated re-siting of the sculpture 1.5m away.

  • Consent granted.

  • Deep foundations were required due to heavy load.

  • Excavation work soon to commence.

  • SUMO utility survey confirmed two MP gas mains within foundation area

  • Transco diversionary costs £335,000. No funds available to meet costs.

  • Time was running out, HM the Queen was due to unveil in less than 4 months.

  • Further investigation of the SUMO survey results revealed alternative site 12m away.

  • Consent given for re-siting with minor diversionary costs of £50,000.


The Savings and Benefits

  • The non-invasive survey cost was £1,500... it resulted in savings of £100,000’s

  • Avoided a lengthy delay had excavation work commenced.

  • Revealed an alternative site and allowed the project to proceed without planning issues.

  • Facilitated completion on time for scheduled unveiling by HM the Queen.

  • Greatly reduced utility rectification work and costs.


Some Fascinating Notes


2m below ground in the construction area, a small amount of post medieval sequence survived, animal bones and a small quantity of circa 16th-17th century pottery was found. Previous utilities installation had truncated the medieval sequence.


A time capsule designed for 200 years is buried under the monument which included the utility survey plans and makes reference to the methodology and technology used to detect the buried obstructions.

Survey techniques used in this case study...


Utility Survey

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Ground Probing Radar (GPR)


Electromagnetic Location (EML)




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