Servant Dunbrack McKenzie & MacDonald Ltd

Advancing the Future of Professional Surveying & Engineering in Atlantic Canada

With their strong roots and historical success in Halifax, Servant Dunbrack McKenzie & MacDonald Ltd. (SDMM) is recognizably one of the oldest and largest surveying and engineering firms in Atlantic Canada. Their highly trained surveyors and engineers have been influential in the development of the community while continually enhancing the region’s viable and thriving future.

Their professionals have an in-depth understanding of the regulatory process as well as first-rate working relationships with the people and departments responsible for those processes. This expertise levers an extensive internal library of records as well as the company’s cumulative history to ensure a successful and hassle-free land transaction.

“Our focus is on service,”says Chris Foran, VP Innovation. ”We’re interested in being an excellent company both in product and service. We respond to clients that reciprocate this philosophy and who are willing to build a positive relationship with SDMM.”

A result of collaborating closely with the construction industry and government regulatory agencies, the engineers at SDMM are able to provide comprehensive designs and procedural guidance when it comes to industrial, commercial and institutional projects. Highly knowledgeable, experienced and well-respected, SDMM is leading the way with expertise on innovative, sustainable design solutions and construction services.

Mapping Out a Modern Approach to Surveying

A large percentage of issues uncovered in construction originate during the building design process, resulting in delays and costly rework, adversely affecting the overall outcome of the project. Traditional methods of managing and operating real property assets no longer support the needs of today’s sophisticated building owner and their increasingly technology savvy staff. “As a perceived commodity service, in order to differentiate ourselves, we have to perform better and faster than our competition,” says Foran. “We embrace technology to give us that cutting edge. Through the integration of exciting new technological advancements, SDMM is capable of surveying in places that were previously unthinkable.”

SDMM started laser scanning in 2012 and quickly realized how this would change the future of their surveying business in Atlantic Canada. Reality capture technologies are an innovative way to allow for faster, easier and accurate collection of site information which can help identify potential conflicts and deficiencies during construction. “When seeking out the latest technology we always ask ourselves if it is relevant to better serving our clients,” says Ray Landry, President.

Embracing the use of robotic equipment, laser scanners, GPS, high resolution digital photography, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), mobile computers and the latest software, SDMM is capable of capturing highly accurate spatial data anywhere, quickly and safely.

Continuous Innovation and Serving Clients Better

SDMM’s new 3D Imaging group has a competitive edge when it comes to delivering current and accurate existing conditions documentation. These services revolve around three primary functions: capture, compute, and create. All of the phases of a client’s project can be supported by point clouds, virtual site access, Revit models for BIM, 3D models for CAD, photo-textured meshes and 2D plans. Providing their customers with durable, reality-based information promotes certainty and mitigates risk.

Laser scanning is a method of high-accuracy mapping or reality capture that uses laser beams to quickly capture complete geometric detail on the surface of an object (e.g. a building) or space (e.g. a construction site) – much like a 360 degree photo, but with an accurate position on every pixel. The captured data is highly detailed and is commonly represented in a 3D point cloud. The point cloud can then be used to reconstruct the object using modelling tools and techniques. Point clouds become comprehensive digital records of an entire project space that can be re-used without limit to reveal key elements about a project site or answer new questions as they arise.

“Two of our significant 3D imaging projects in the last year have been nominated for awards with CanBIM,” says Foran. “First, the Avalon Mall in St.John’s Newfoundland undertook a large field capture exercise to map the 100 acre site in complete detail, including the interior and exterior of the buildings, because the owner/developer did not have the necessary records needed to begin future re-design work. Capturing that information in 3D and presenting it back to them enabled them to better understand their asset and move forward with confidence.”

Second, the owners of a large processing plant needed accurate records of their facility’s existing conditions to support a major renovation effort. Due to the complexity of the environment, SDMM was contracted to scan and model a portion of the plant’s interior including the architectural envelope, structural components, mechanical equipment and other plant features. The resulting 3D information provided exact measurements and immersive visuals in a format that everyone involved in the project could share and understand, eliminating uncertainty and saving time.

SDMM’s laser scanning and 3D modeling services continue to be an important focus and have become an integral part of their client BIM projects. The use of scanning has quickly become the effective approach to successfully capture existing conditions at a magnitude of detail far greater than conventional methods. “We’re beginning to see real progress in the Atlantic market,” says Landry. “Our initial projects were the result of us pushing into the market. Now, the market is setting out the path for us as we partner with several high profile clients across the region.”

The people at SDMM play an integral part in the company’s long-term success and highly respected reputation. Committed to excellence in their profession and their community, they share a passion for their work and the role they play in their client projects. “We take hiring new staff seriously with the intent to retain our employees long-term so that we can continue to operate like a well-oiled machine,” says Foran “We want to help people develop their own strengths and careers while moving in a direction that is going to grow our company. We’re becoming more of an employee-centric idea based firm.”

SDMM’s success is built on a commitment to excellence, knowledge and service delivery. “Networking and engagement is crucial to our success,” says Landry. “We are actively involved with different boards and members of our team are involved with various industry associations. We are always seeking out ways to increase our value to our clients.”

The company strives to maintain a healthy rate of growth in their engineering and surveying business. The world is your market now and technology is allowing people to do business remotely,” says Foran. “This is starting to become a reality in our business and partnerships. We want to significantly expand our computing business lines and extend their geographical reach allowing us to embrace new markets.”

SDMM is committed to being industry leaders in the Atlantic Region. Their continuous innovation and pursuit of new and better technologies highlights an approach that encourages possibilities for their clients to succeed in the process of planning, design and construction.

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