SEP Technical Services

We provide a wide range of technical requirements that you may come across before or during any construction project. Our experts have a full understanding of what is required, timescales of completion and the resources to offer niche or bespoke survey solutions . Read More…

Our Technical Services department is fully equipped to advise, tackle and report back on many alternate forms of surveys that do not crop up on a regular basis. Since 1986 we have been the solution to many difficult questions and provided answers willingly. Our office based technical support teams are on hand to send over reports, assessments and recommendations in a professional and practical way. Things we can cover include:


Large scale current mapping is the crucial basis for any infrastructure project. It is vital that the mapping, being the base point for planning, is both current, accurate and holds the most relevant data. Many of us are familiar with Google Earth, Bing Maps and other similar web based mapping programs. At SEP we can build on this mapping, by supplying current data, at a level of detail to suit your needs.

Our Aerial Mapping equipment is capable of producing mapping images down to a resolution of 3cm and has the ability to derive digital elevation models (DEM) from the data collected. All this can be carried out very quickly; we can cover around 10km2 per day, and have usable data ready for delivery the following day!

Whether you are looking for a full 3D model of a larger area or a more intricate detailed photographic record of current site conditions taken from the skies, rest assured our aerial solution can be tailored to your needs.


A dilapidation survey is an important part of many site works and SEP’s dilapidation surveys provide an in-depth record of any damage to the site prior to the commencement of works.

The condition of street furniture, kerb and channel, roadways, pavements and utilities are usually included in the survey record. Surveys can also incorporate the internal condition of a building or even a daily site aerial photographic record taken by our remote control drone.

SEP can deliver a snapshot of time with aerial and photographic records, a full-colour 3D laser scan, a videoed site walk over or drawings showing photographic positions, along with any damage.

As contractors are often held responsible for damage to third party properties, a dilapidation survey from SEP can provide the proof required to defend any claims/cost disputes regarding damage caused by construction works.

It is also vital for protecting a contractor’s reputation, financial position and insurance claims history, and could even be dovetailed into an insurance policy.

So, whether the site is a private dwelling or a large multi-million-pound infrastructure project, can you afford not to carry out a dilapidation survey?


SEP is dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of the UK’s natural habitats, wildlife and landscape, balancing those environmental goals with clients’ commercial requirements and business development opportunities.

Potential environmental problems can jeopardise planning applications and changes to environmental and ecological legislation exacerbate this problem.

When protected species are involved, it is even more important for all partners to demonstrate that they are not only willing to mitigate any loss of biodiversity, but are also in a position to improve the area’s ecology to the satisfaction of Natural England and relevant Local Authorities.

By carrying out on-site ecological surveys and desktop studies and working closely with our clients and local authorities, we can improve the environment surrounding a project whilst achieving our client’s objectives.

Talk to us today about our environmental surveys, which include:

  • Pre-Purchase Ecological Surveys
  • Planning Applications
  • Protected Species
  • BS5837 Tree Surveys
  • Phase One (and Two) Habitat Evaluations
  • Bespoke Mitigation
  • Eco-Homes Report
  • Greenbelt Issues
  • Landscape Management Plans
  • Breeding Bird Surveys
  • Flood Risk Assessments


SEP specialises in flood risk assessments, carried out by MICE and MCIWEM qualified experts.

Our flood protection systems cover a diverse range of circumstances and could also save you money thanks to both our competitive fees and advice on avoiding potential planning fee losses.

Our services are:

  • Drainage assessments
  • Assessments of future flood risks based on the Environmental Agency and global projections. This is, of course, under continual review
  • The establishment of models to provide exact knowledge of anticipated flood levels
  • Design of flood alleviation schemes
  • Consultancy on how to approach a single or multi-unit development to win the support of the Environment Agency prior to the submission of a planning application

SEP can pinpoint your site and provide up-to-date information on recent flood events, highlighting the likelihood of any future floods.

As part of our reporting, we can confirm which Environment Agency zone your site falls into, provide flood risk assessments and outline insurance risk perceptions of the local area.

SEP can tie all this information together for you with our topographical survey service, ensuring that you have a clear picture of the potential effects flooding could have on your site.

To see if your site is in a flood zone, you can use the country-specific flood zone maps listed below:

For country-specific policies on flood risk assessments or flood consequence assessments see:


This service is for builders, contractors, developers, surveyors, architects and engineers that need to obtain planning consent and a cost-effective foundation option for their project.

Our extensive track record in undertaking such works for both public and private sector clients includes major infrastructure projects, PFI initiatives and proposals ranging from single residential housing plots to major commercial developments.

Working within the timescales and budget for any proposed development, we will deliver all the technical input you need with a first rate, professional service, analysing samples for contamination levels using our close links with a number of UKAS laboratories.

Our ground investigation service can be linked to other SEP services to provide a complete package, involving volume reports, planning applications and topographical surveys to establish an accurate understanding of the nature of a site.

SEP’s capabilities include:

  • Five conventional light cable percussion drilling rigs for use in superficial deposits
  • A cut down light cable percussion drilling rig for use in low headroom and / or difficult access areas
  • Four window sampler / dynamic probing rigs for drilling in zones of poor quality soils or sites affected by near surface contamination
  • Rotary drilling using both openholing and coring techniques
  • Two concrete coring rigs for coring through existing floor slabs or hardstandings
  • Trial pitting by machine excavation supervised by a qualified engineering geologist
  • Hand excavated pits to inspect, photograph and log existing foundations in detail
  • Laboratory testing of recovered soil / rock samples or contaminated soils undertaken using only UKAS-accredited laboratories
  • Ancillary fieldwork activities including the installation of gas / groundwater wells for subsequent monitoring
  • Technical reports that can be provided after completion of intrusive investigations covering all geotechnical and / or environmental aspects of your project
  • Post investigation services such as advice on construction problems or monitoring / validation or remedial works for combating ground contamination
  • Additional services such as plate load testing, in-situ CBR testing, and sand replacement tests

Phase One Desktop Study

SEP can undertake a phase one desktop study / preliminary risk assessment to identify potential problems affecting a site due to former land use and produce a conceptual site model.

This information is then used to propose the scope of the phase two investigation, for example, cable percussion/rotary/window sampler drilling, trial pits, in-situ sampling and testing and laboratory testing and objectives of the final report.

At all stages, appropriate approvals and liaison with the regulatory authorities are maintained to ensure you obtain a final discharge of any planning conditions.

Phase two Intrusive Investigation

SEP can carry out the intrusive investigation and prepare the phase two report, including revisions to the risk assessment and remediation strategy if appropriate, together with a comprehensive geotechnical appraisal.

All work, including drilling operations, is carried out to current industry standards and technical codes/guidance by qualified, in-house staff.

Appropriate approvals and liaison with the regulatory authorities are maintained at all stages to ensure you receive a final discharge of any planning conditions.

Phase Three Remediation

The remediation method statement will provide details of proposed remedial options, health and safety issues and a detailed remediation strategy.

Phase Four Validation

The post-remediation validation report will provide a summary of remedial works carried out together with relevant documentary evidence and post remediation test results.


Whether it’s for compliance testing, earthworks validation or the stability of platforms for piling rigs and cranes, our experienced team of field technicians will provide a professional independent assessment of the underlying materials

We can also offer a sampling of soils and aggregates, including:

  • Plate Bearing Tests
  • California Bearing Ratio (CBR)
  • In-Situ Density Testing
  • Sampling

Plate Bearing Tests

A service for those planning to erect a structure or heavy plant on land that may not have enough bearing capacity – for example on imported fill – this test will provide peace of mind and certification to prove that the land is suitable, or give you the information you need to take further action.

Typical examples include ensuring that buildings won’t suffer excessive settlement once constructed, or that large equipment, such as cranes and piling rigs, can be supported by the ground.

In order to perform this test, it is important to have sufficient kentledge to jack against to test bearing capacity. This could be equipment you have on the site such as a 360⁰ excavator, a mobile crane or a wagon loaded with material. The choice of plate size depends upon required bearing pressure and kentledge availability.

We also offer

  • California Bearing Ratio (CBR) Tests
  • In-Situ Density Testing
  • Sampling


Working with our strategic partners, SEP can offer a fully-independent, UKAS-accredited geotechnical and materials testing facility with a team of almost 40 laboratory and field staff.

Excellent access to the UK motorway network ensures that we can meet any requirements for samples or in-situ testing at your convenience, regardless of site location.

Our flexibility and client-focused approach have seen us work on some of the nation’s most prestigious projects such as the Olympic Park and Village and numerous road and rail schemes.

Our senior management team has 70 years of combined experience, ensuring that you can always rely on expert advice from SEP.

Since first gaining UKAS certification in 2006, we have added to our scope of accredited methods year on year, ensuring that we can now offer a full range of in-situ testing techniques, along with testing for the subsidence claims industry.

We are equipped to carry out a wide range of testing as specified in BS 1377, SHW, ISRM, BRE and various BSEN methods and, in addition to routine testing, we also specialise in soil testing for ground improvement techniques, such as lime and cement stabilisation and swelling/heave and soil suction testing for the subsidence claims industry.

All our reports are supplied by email and can include AGS data if required.

Chemical and Electrochemical

  • BRE & TRL Sulphate
  • pH
  • Organic/Loss on ignition
  • Chloride
  • Redox & Resistivity testing
  • Contamination
  • Waste acceptance

Classification Testing

  • Moisture Content
  • Atterberg Limits
  • Particle Density
  • Particle Size Analysis
  • Bulk / Dry Density
  • Soil Suction

Earthworks & Landfill Testing

  • 12 No. Triaxial Permeability Systems
  • 5Kg Compaction
  • Vibrating Hammer Compaction
  • Moisture Condition Value (MCV)
  • California Bearing Ratio (CBR)
  • Stabilisation trials

Effective Stress Testing

  • 15 fully-automated effective stress testing systems. This state-of-the-art equipment records testing 24 hours a day and reduces the test duration of a standard manual test by around a third
  • 15 fully-automated VJ Tech systems which are able to offer testing under drained or undrained conditions testing with cell pressures to 2000 kPa on specimens from 38mm to 100mm in diameter

Rock and Materials

  • Tests on Sub base and capping materials
  • Constituents of recycled materials
  • Point load index
  • UCS
  • Los Angeles and 10% fines
  • Slag expansion
  • Frost susceptibility

Settlement and Strength

  • 72 consol test cells
  • One Dimensional Consolidation Properties
  • Swelling Pressure & Swell/Heave potential testing
  • Unconsolidated Undrained Triaxial Testing
  • Unconfined compressive strength
  • 60mm Shear Box
  • Peak and Residual testing

Concrete Scanning with the Hilti PS 1000 X System


  • Provides a real-time view of the inside of concrete structures and generates true images automatically, for direct on-site evaluation of scan data by the user.
  • Features three scan modes for specific applications: Quickscan detection, Quickscan recording and Imagescan (2D and 3D data visualisation with top view and cross sectional views)
  • Offers a compact all-in-one hand-held scanner with easy, user-friendly operation, quick start-up for speed of use and unmatched data visualisation
  • Displays a top view of the scan for easy mapping of the objects detected plus cross sections in both directions for easy identification of multiple layers in concrete structures
  • Includes a powerful monitor unit for in-depth, on-site scan analysis, along with PC software for subsequent data evaluation and documentation
  • Reduces risks by locating the safest places to cut or drill, enabling inspection of hundreds of square meters of concrete in a day

Hilti PS200 Ferroscan

The Hilti PS200 Ferroscan provides a non-destructive and accurate means of locating reinforcing bars and measuring the depth of concrete cover using the induction principle. It can also estimate the diameter of any reinforcing bars found.

Scan results are displayed on the integral portable monitor and are as easy to interpret as 2D images.

The recorded scan data can be transferred to a PC for further analysis, the creation of assessment reports or archiving.

The benefits of a Hilti PS200 Ferroscan include:

  • Quick, easy scanning of large areas
  • Individual scans over lengths of up to 30m
  • Cordless scanning for maximum freedom of movement
  • Data transfer from scanner by infrared link for monitor viewing
  • Immediate production of a high resolution image for a clear picture of the reinforcement
  • Professional data evaluation and management software

Widely used in buildings, bridges and roads, concrete is the single most important construction material in the world…so it’s vital that it complies with relevant British and European Standards.

Via our strategic partners, we can offer a range of services, including:

  • Compressive Strength of Hardened Concrete Cubes
  • Curing of Hardened Concrete Cubes
  • Shape & Dimension of Hardened Concrete Cubes
  • Density of Hardened Concrete Cubes
  • Making Hardened Concrete Cubes for Strength Testing
  • Sampling Fresh Concrete
  • Testing Concrete in Structures – Cored Specimens. Taking, Examining and Testing in Compression
  • Slump Testing
  • Chloride Content
  • Mix Proportions
  • Petrographic Analysis
  • Pull – Off
  • Trial Mixes

If the test you require is not listed above please do not hesitate to contact us as we pride ourselves on being flexible enough to provide tailored solutions for all your business needs.

Because contractor’s clients need to understand the impact any works will have on their business, SEP can provide a breakdown detailing the timescales for all works and the subsequent effects.

For example, a large supermarket chain will need to manage any potential implications for car parking, petrol station forecourts, footpaths and customers safety at each stage of completion.

Where longer projects are planned, the order of works may be vital to planning permission being granted – as with quarrying of minerals, for example. SEP has previously planned for the quarrying and restoration sequence for several clay quarries and this type of project preparation can be tied into the volume calculations, providing you with a breakdown of how much material will be extracted and when. Read Less

Construction Phase

We keep on top of the CDM regulations to ensure that health and safety issues are properly considered during a project's development to reduce the risk for you and your workers on site.

Ground Investigation

Geotechnical or geotech engineering to complete window sampling, soil contamination, soil investigation often linked with desktop study investigations.

Plate load test

Plate load testing provides accurate data on the soil bearing capacity through a plate bearing test on the undersoil in accordance with regulation.

Concrete scanning

Utility mapping a site? There is a risk of rebar, we provide scanning, coring and compressive testing using the latest models from Hilti UK.

Flood Risk

Or Flood map is used to assess the risk of flooding for land-use planning for the environmental agency (if in england) in accordance with the NPFF.

Soakaway Testing

Or percolation testing the traditional way of disposing stormwater from buildings and paved areas by measuring time taken to discharge water in accordance with the BRE digest 365

Noise & Vibration Monitoring

Predictive maintenance by identifying significant changes is sound or vibration. Noise Level Meters are used to check noise pollution or sound testing to produce a noise risk assessment to discharge a planning condition for a development.

Breaking barriers, offering advice and support for even the most specific requirements we offer total commitment for your surveying needs, SEP are your solution.

  • Foundation Pits
  • Soakaway Testing
  • Concrete Scanning
  • Construction Phase Planning
  • Environmental studies and inspections
  • Flood Risk Asessments
  • Noise Detection
  • Vibration Monitoring
  • Plate Load Testing
  • One Stop Shop For all Your Surveying Needs

Call : 01695 729 835 OR request a call back.


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Client Testimonials

  • Kier Northern have used the Engineering & Surveying expertise of SEP for over 25 years. They provide a professional, responsive, consistent and economic one-stop service. From pre-contract, site investigations and survey reports, to construction phase engineering and quality management, through to as-built information and CCTV surveys at completion. At our recently completed Wythenshawe Transport Interchange project SEP provided excellent support to both our bid and delivery teams.
    Graham Harwood-Senior Bid Manager, Kier Northern
  • Adana Construction have partnered with SEP exclusively for over 17 years, providing us with expert Engineering, Surveying and Management services on many projects. The reasons why are simple; SEP provide quality Site Engineers and Surveying services with the know-how and capabilities to support us on the delivery of complex Building, Civil, and Infrastructure schemes. Their flexible, one-stop approach means they can always provide an economic service which has never let us down!
    Joe Jassim-Managing Director, Adana Construction
  • I have personally known and partnered with SEP for over 25 years, throughout which their client focussed service has always met my full expectations. Their Surveying expertise has aided Morgan Sindall during the bid stage of many projects, giving us the leading edge over our competition. And in addition, our Project teams have engaged their Site Engineers & Managers with great success, supporting the delivery of over 200 schemes during this time, projects ranging from £500k to £100m
    Frank Reynolds-Senior Bid Manager, Morgan Sindall Construction & Infrastructure
  • I have used SEP for over 10 years and have always found their Engineers & Surveyors to be reliable and experts in their field. I often recommend them to colleagues and other businesses.
    Jeff Boothroyd-Senior Operations Manager, Morgan Sindall Construction & Infrastructure