3D Ground Penetrating Radar
PTS recently became the first contractor in the UK to own and operate 3D GPR survey equipment. This survey technique unquestionably identifies numerous and significant benefits for our Clients by providing a greater understanding of paved assets through assessment of the sub-surface make-up and condition.
Ground Penetrating Radar is a method of subsurface profiling using electromagnetic pulses transmitted into the pavement and receiving the reflections from interfaces. The 3D GPR can be used to determine pavement make up, thickness of individual layers, construction changes, location of services or utilities, voids, and high moisture locations.
PTS undertake 3D GPR surveys at speeds appropriate to the level of detail required for specific projects. We also provide a 3D GPR Software Viewer as standard with all data.
The following short video clip highlights the level of detail obtained and data applications:
PTS 3D LP+
At PTS we are committed to technical excellence and we want to introduce you to the latest innovation in highway condition surveying which brings together the best in 3D laser scanning technology integrated with image capture technology and utilising AI analysis. It is widely accepted that in order to perform accurate predictions of future road condition, you must have accurate data to base these predictions upon. Data should be comprehensive, accurate, objective, and based on sound engineering and asset management principles.
Welcome to the new 3D Laser Profiler with ADD technology…PTS 3D LP+
3D is exactly what we offer, we go beyond simple visual interpretation of the surface condition and utilise the 2nd generation of LCMS sensors to provide a 3-Dimensional profile of the road surface to 1mm x 1mm x 0.1mm resolution. By doing this, we provide Pavement Engineers and Asset Managers with the data needed to make sound long-term strategic maintenance decisions as opposed to reactive ones.
LP are advanced laser profilers delivering accurate ride quality, texture and roughness measurements. By combining laser scanning technology alongside image detection, we collate the best condition information available.
+ We apply ADD or Automatic Distress Detection technology, which applies sophisticated algorithms to the 3D data to deliver precise and repeatable distress measurements ensuring that we not only tell you where your defects are, but how severe they may be. This machine intelligence also ensures data collected is completely objective.
The outputs from the PTS 3D LP+ can provide all the parameters obtained from traditional UK road condition surveys (SCANNER/TRACS) along with a new set of parameters that can be derived from the 3D datasets. The new parameters will include (but are not limited to): rut shape, crack width and depth, standing water depth, pothole volume, longitudinal construction joint condition, ravelling development indicator, stone loss and localised deformation.
The data can also be used to derive a machine-based Pavement Condition Index (PCI) cutting-down the inspection time required for both highway networks and airports from several weeks to just a few days.
Consequently, we can supply robust, objective, SCANNER accredited, auditable parameter data alongside automated image-based defect detection.
PTS currently operate 9 Neptune long reach Xcalibre drill rigs. The rigs are capable of drilling to 1m in depth through bituminous and cementitious layers with core barrel diameters of 100, 150 and 200mm. We can cater for all testing and logging requirements and 300mm diameter cores are possible by special arrangement. The rigs are fully self-contained with their own water supply and power hydraulic hammers / breakers for necessary reinstatement. Over 20,000 samples are drilled annually. The ground bearing capacity and CBR can be determined from the bottom of the core hole by dynamic cone penetrometer (DCP) testing
Coring for Tar Testing
PTS are experts in coring to identify the presence, chemical composition and material classification of tar bound asphalt. Experienced highway specialists at our UKAS accredited laboratory carry out core sampling and test the samples to determine if there is a presence of tar using a PAK marker in accordance with the latest ADEPT & CDWF Guidance Note.
Falling Weight Deflectometer (FWD / HWD / LWD)
We operate 1 FWD (loading range 7 to 120kN), 3 HWD’s (loading range 30 to 320kN) and 2 LWD’s (loading range 2 to 15kN) all of which are calibrated annually and attend the annual correlation trial, conducted by Highways England as required. The deflection devices can be used to calculate pavement layer stiffness and estimate residual lives and overlays. We have experience of using FWDs for highways, airports, concrete floors, car parks, block paving, ports, and load testing.
Unbound Material Sampler
Unbound material sampling or window sampling as it is commonly known, is a low-cost drilling method for shallow geotechnical and environmental sampling. The Window Sampler is a relatively lightweight, compact, mobile rig and is ideal for sites with restricted or soft ground. The sampler uses one meter long extension rods and is driven into the ground by a percussion method using a drop hammer, obtaining one meter long plastic lined cores to a depth of up to 10m in suitable conditions (generally 6m), providing a full soil profile.
Our Deflectograph measures peak deflections of flexible pavements at approximately 3m intervals to identify homogeneous pavement sections and areas of structural deterioration. With the supporting information of the historic construction plus past and future traffic data, we can provide analysis to determine residual life and provide recommended treatment options.
Grip Testing Surveys
We currently carry out surface friction testing on highways and runways with a MK2 Grip Tester. Also available are accident investigation surveys and network skid policy compilation. We also operate a walked Micro GripTester for completing skid resistance surveys on less accessible locations or on segregated assets such as dedicated cycleways.
Safety Barrier Inspections
Over the past 5 years PTS has developed, in conjunction with Highways England, an accepted method of inspection and reporting for both the compliance and condition of safety barriers. This process feeds into the submission of bids via Highways England’s Value Management (VM) process to obtain funding to replace existing safety barriers. Our methodology of collecting and representing this data has now been adopted by Highways England as the national standard and is to be included in the next version of their VM standard documents.
Retro-reflectivity of Road Markings
PTS owns a high-speed monitor (HSM) which operates at traffic speed to measure the retro-reflectivity of longitudinal road markings and road studs. We also own 2 handheld devices which cover locations that the HSM cannot survey, such as junctions and hatched areas. We have carried out full network surveys in Areas 8, 10, 12, 14 and the NW & SW regions of Scotland. Results are provided in various formats depending on client requirements but are commonly supplied on Google Earth.
Retro-reflectivity of Traffic Signs
PTS carry out retro-reflectivity testing of traffic signs using a handheld retro-reflectometer with built in GPS. All surveys are carried out in accordance with CS 125 and BS EN 12899. Extendable poles are used to access signs that cannot be reached from the ground, which negates the use of ladders on uneven highway verges. Results are provided in various formats depending on client requirements.
Pavement Engineering Reporting
All reporting and analysis are carried out in-house at our consultancy office in Preston. This covers core logs, GPR analysis, FWD back analysis and the production of interpretive pavement reports. We have developed an in-house pavement management system (PMS) to provide an easy, fast, and modern way to store, analyse and present information and data related to the pavement structure. All data is spatially referenced and input is possible through all major file types. Once populated, it is possible to undertake advanced analysis to provide whole life costing and deterioration modelling. Our comprehensive pavement engineering reporting is carried out by our highly experienced team of Chartered Pavement Engineers.
PTS have the capability to carry out a full airside pavement investigation covering structural, surface and friction assessments in accordance with the CAA and ICAO guidance documentation. We have extensive experience in PCN assessment and developing rehabilitation strategies. Our technicians are trained to carry out manual PCI surveys and we can carry out machine-based PCI surveys with our state-of-the art multi-functional survey vehicle. Further details on the PTS 3D LP+ have been provided above in our Featured Technology section.
The PTS 3D LP+ can provide 100% survey coverage of a runway at night and in a single shift. All our surveys can be directly loaded into a PAVER management system. We also provide pavement management system support including setting-up new PAVER installations and technical support.
PTS have extensive airport survey experience and have worked on many international airports including Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, and East Midlands.
NVQ Level 3 Diploma in Laboratory and Associated Technical Activities for Asphalt
PTS, in conjunction with the Institute of Asphalt Technology (IAT), offer this course at our specialist training facility in Preston. The course matches the mandatory qualification stipulated in the competency requirements of National Highway Sector Scheme 16 for Technical Personnel involved with the laying of asphalt mixes. The course has been developed to provide both site and laboratory personnel with the knowledge and information that is often missed during work-based training. An assessor is on site during the week to document the knowledge and competence of delegates during the practical elements, with further evidence submitted using an electronic portfolio. The feedback has been positive with all attendees finding the course instrumental in expanding their knowledge and pushing their professional development.
UKPMS Condition Surveys
Following the acquisition of Saber (Asset Management) Ltd in 2019, PTS are now pleased to offer a full suite of accredited UKPMS condition surveys alongside our existing pavement engineering and structural surveying services. All our UKPMS surveys are conducted utilising the latest machine-based and hand-held technology, our state of the art, accredited, and hugely popular survey management software ReGen, and we have a team of highly experienced, dedicated, and UKPMS accredited highways inspectors. UKPMS services incorporate the following core surveys but we are also able to offer bespoke surveys on request:
PTS recently invested in a multi-function vehicle to support delivery of the industry-leading SCANNER objective condition assessment. The vehicle brings together the latest in GPS, image-capture, and laser scanning technology to deliver 3D modelling and surface condition assessment of paved infrastructure. The LCMS-2 system allows for automatic detection of a range of condition parameters as outlined in the SCANNER specification, ensuring the survey methodology and data is objective. The system also overcomes the limitations of more traditional SCANNER systems currently in operation around the UK, ensuring our data is the most accurate and repeatable on the market. Our crack detection technology is now even more advanced than the human eye guaranteeing data consistency year on year!
Through comprehensive and consistent SCANNER parameter data supported by quality video capture and automatic distress detection, our SCANNER service is designed to provide our Clients with the tools to support asset management planning across critical infrastructure. SCANNER data applications include maintenance scheme identification and prioritisation, multi-year asset condition reporting, deterioration modelling, asset valuation and investment scenario analysis, network-level performance monitoring, Carriageway Condition Indices, and national reporting.
More information on our SCANNER vehicle, also known as the PTS 3D LP+, is included in the Featured Technology section above.
PTS own and operate 4 SCRIM® vehicles for delivering skidding resistance surveys. We have surveyed the Highways England Strategic Road Network on an annual basis for the past 4 years, averaging 15000km per annum. Together with many Local Authorities across the UK our annual coverage is in excess of 40000 km’s. The smallest of the four SCRIMs® is used on urban networks and narrow rural roads. All route planning and analysis is carried out by our in-house pavement engineering consultancy. We also offer a site category determination service (using software that allows the client access to this information instantly), skid policy development, and detailed data analysis and site investigations.
Course Visual Inspections (CVI)
Course Visual Inspections are designed to collect critical information on the condition of your paved infrastructure assets, and we have a dedicated fleet of vehicles alongside UKPMS accredited CVI inspectors to enable the collection of CVI nationwide. Standard defects assessed include wearing course and surface deterioration, cracking, rutting, and edge deterioration, and many more. CVI was developed by industry asset management experts and the survey is a highly cost-effective, rapid, network level assessment method. Furthermore, PTS are unique within the industry in being able to monitor and report on the progress of survey activity in near real time using our in-house UKPMS accredited software.
The system affords 24-hour access to clients, allowing data validation, analysis, and delivery to be done seamlessly. Clients can also view network condition using an intuitive Red-Amber-Green styling to provide valuable condition information in rapid timescales. CVI applications include maintenance scheme identification and prioritisation, condition analysis and mapping, network-level performance monitoring, and forward projection modelling of surface and structural condition.
We can also deliver the latest UKPMS Coarse Network Survey (CNS), also known as the Enhanced CVI. While CVI collates valuable defect information, a CNS is designed to add significant engineering value without adding significant costs to the survey. Developed through industry collaboration by the Visual Survey Sub Group, working on behalf of the RCMG, a CNS offers several advantages to a standard CVI including:
- Wearing Course defect, which combined cracking and fretting, has now been separated into separate defects, better supporting scheme development and prioritisation.
- New Severity 1 and 2 gradings for Wheel Track Cracking, Transverse Cracking and Edge Deterioration.
- Recording of patching, and associated failures, now included.
- Recording of surface type to support asset valuation and management.
- More defect percentages provided to support engineering decisions.
These additions can add significant value to pavement engineers and asset managers.
Detailed Visual Inspections (DVI)
DVI is traditionally undertaken on foot by a UKPMS accredited inspector using a hand-held data collection device and PTS have a dedicated team of UKPMS accredited inspectors. Inspectors assess asset condition using an extensive defect catalogue referenced by surface material type including fretting, cracking, chip loss, cracked and depressed flags, and joint defectiveness to name a few examples. DVI not only enables for highly detailed condition information to be collected but also inventory data, which is increasingly useful in asset management and Whole of Government Accounting. DVI data can provide the right data and evidence for supporting engineering decisions across your network as well as allowing for comprehensive asset and deterioration modelling across carriageway, footway, and other paved assets.
Footway Network Surveys (FNS) / Footway Maintenance Surveys (FMS)
Footway Network Surveys or Footway Maintenance Surveys have been developed as network level tools to enable rapid assessment and comparison of footway condition to be undertaken. Standard FNS utilises four condition levels (as new, aesthetically impaired, functionally impaired, structurally unsound) to assess footway condition for asset management purposes and the collated data can also assist in identifying sites for further investigation by DVI or site visits by highway engineers. Defect cause information, surface inventory type, footway inventory measurements, and lateral extent of defects can also be recorded in enhanced surveys to further the value of assessments undertaken and to support forward works programmes and maintenance decisions.
Asset Inventory Surveys
In addition to our UKPMS surveys, our collection software ReGen allows PTS to create and customise bespoke inventory surveys, to collect detailed information on any assets on your network. These surveys can be tailored to each Client and can vary in detail levels depending on what is important in terms of a Client’s asset management strategy. This flexibility also supports our Client’s in managing data requirements against budgetary constraints.
We can also offer walked and video-based methodologies to ensure data is delivered in the right format and system. For both methods, we utilise the latest technology alongside our accredited ReGen software. Common applications include asset mapping, asset valuations, and Whole of Government Accounting submissions.
Annual Engineer’s Inspection (AEI)
Although the Annual Engineer’s Inspection is not a current UKPMS affiliated survey, as confirmed by the Road Condition Management Group, the survey is popular amongst Local Authorities due to the ease in which maintenance schemes are identified and summarised following an assessment on site. The survey has been designed with engineering judgement in mind so our background in pavement engineering, from graduate level through to fully CIHT chartered, affords us the expertise to deliver your AEI survey requirements. AEI focuses on treatment selection as opposed to defect identification and treatment length can be defined in accordance with your local rules in mind.
Asset Management Consultancy
To support our Client’s in establishing effective asset management strategies, it is important to obtain maximum value from survey data. Consequently, as an industry-leader in infrastructure surveys, we also look to take a leading role in the reporting, visualisation, and analysis of our data. Our pavement engineers and dedicated consultancy team will work with you to provide an end-to-end service therefore and we can offer a variety of industry-standard and bespoke reports.
Construction Materials Testing
The PTS Laboratory testing facility provides clients with a vast range of compliance and performance related asphaltic and bituminous tests, ranging from the simple, such as density testing, to the more complex rheological assessment of bituminous products. Testing is undertaken in accordance with our UKAS Accredited Quality Management System and current schedule of accreditation to meet the requirements of highway, seaport and airfield standards and specifications. Our modern, versatile, well-equipped testing facility’s scope extends to providing a range of cementitious, aggregate, and geological testing to fulfil our Clients specific needs.
In addition to working to the standards and specifications, our experienced, knowledgeable, and highly qualified laboratory team can assist our Clients to develop bespoke testing methods and regimes to meet their very exacting requirements. The PTS Laboratory offers a wide range of reports including standard UKAS reporting, bespoke factual reporting, and full interpretive reporting. The full range of our current UKAS accredited tests can be provided on request.
In January 2013 we achieved UKAS accreditation to EN 17021 and EN 45011 as a Certification Body for product conformity certification and ISO 9001 for a range of activities associated with construction. Initially the scope of this covers the Factory Production Control of bituminous mixtures to EN 13108-21 and we have been assessed by UKAS for extensions to scope to include National Highway Sector Schemes 13, 14 and 16, Factory Production Control for Surface Dressing (EN 12271), Micro surfacing (EN12273) and the production of aggregates (EN 16236). PTS are also a Notified Body (2448) in respect of EN 12271, EN 12273, EN 13043 and EN 13108-1–8.