How Q H & M Birt Cut Survey Processing Time in Half

Q H & M Birt

Q H & M Birt uses Trimble Stratus, Powered by Propeller. Trimble, the global leader in positioning technologies, was an early partner of Propeller. With SITECH Construction Systems, we work to deliver Trimble Stratus’s survey-grade drone data solutions for the construction industry.

Established in 1973, Q H & M Birt—otherwise known as QBirt—is now Australia’s leading civil earthmoving contractor. QBirt is renowned for delivering projects on time and maintaining a strong commitment to people, with a legacy of quality and innovation that spans over five decades.

Read how their team have overhauled their workflows to cut their survey processing time in half with Trimble Stratus.

hours saved
measurements created
surveys processed

The problem: slow processing + hard-to-access data

Before adopting Trimble Stratus, QBirt’s surveyors faced several challenges:

  • Data processing delays: Processing survey data was time-consuming and cumbersome, reliant on a single expensive computer that had to be moved between sites. Processing took at least eight working hours—and over 30 hours for large worksites.
  • Data storage and sharing: Project data lived on multiple hard drives, which made data access impossible for team members without specialised software.
  • Administrative burden: As the gatekeepers of QBirt’s survey data, surveyors were inundated with questions about volumes, distances, and other simple calculations.
  • Safety hazards: Traditional surveying techniques posed significant risks, especially in open-cut mining environments. Surveyors worked near heavy machinery, high batters prone to rockfall, and uneven surfaces.
Satish, Ben and Ross from the Q H & M Birt
Satish, Ben and Ross from the Q H & M Birt

The solution: outsourced processing + a cloud-based platform

QBirt decided on Trimble Stratus as a one-stop solution to address these challenges and overhaul their workflow. With a cloud-based platform for easy data upload and streamlined processing, stakeholders across the company have direct access to QBirt’s survey data and 3D site maps. 

Project managers, engineers, and supervisors now make their own calculations with just a few clicks, reducing the day-to-day burden on surveyors and freeing them to focus on the big picture.

“Trimble Stratus empowers our engineers, safety personnel, and project managers with autonomy, eliminating the need for constant surveyor reliance. This freedom allows us to allocate our time more efficiently, enhancing our data management capabilities.” —Ben Reece

This was furthered by Ian Cini, who shared that  “Trimble Stratus has enabled us to run very light on survey resources on the job. On one project, I was the only surveyor by the end. I wouldn’t have been able to do all the as-builts, pickups, and end-of-months without the ability to fly the site.” 

QBirt’s most-used features and workflows:

  • Volume calculations: Office staff can estimate volumes in minutes for material management and scheduling, all without contacting a surveyor.
  • Project and site planning: PMs, engineers, and supervisors use up-to-date surveys to create traffic management plans and site plans.
  • Off-site processing: Longer drone flights and outsourced processing have empowered QBirt’s surveyors to do more with less, freeing them to complete monthly measurements and support ongoing projects without stressing the timeline.
  • Safety first: HSE advisors can check road running widths and bund heights. They also assist in accident investigations, which once required a surveyor on-site.
  • Access from anywhere: With a mobile app that puts the power of a 3D site map in their pockets, supervisors can plan excavations and truck circuits while geologists identify drill holes for sample collection right from the field.

“The mobile app, measurement, designs, and outputs are all used on a regular basis and are crucial for day-to-day operations. Prior to Trimble Stratus, this would have been an additional workload for the onsite surveyor.” —Daniel Wood

Results that speak volumes

Drone surveying has saved QBirt countless labour hours over traditional methods. Where some sites once required days of walking for a crew of surveyors, most can now be flown in a day.

“Just a few years back, a larger team would manually survey all the changes made during the month, necessitating a comprehensive resurvey of the entire site for end-of-month volumes. Today, we efficiently fly over the site in just one day.” —Ben Reece

  • Streamlined workflow: Smart surveying with Trimble Stratus has cut processing time in half, enabling QBirt’s field and office teams to make better decisions, faster.
  • Data accuracy: Using ground control points and checkpoints ensures data accuracy to 3cm, critical for project planning and precise execution.
  • Dispute resolution: Having an undisputed record of the work completed each day helps prevent conflicts before they start.
  • Safer worksites: Trimble Stratus helps keep surveyors and other on-site workers out of harm’s way. When incidents occur, it’s proved to be a critical tool in incident investigations.

Enhanced monitoring and analysis

“Incorporating Trimble Stratus into our surveying practices has been transformative. Drones offer swift and precise data collection, and Trimble Stratus provides an intuitive platform for efficient processing and visualisation. This combination enhances accuracy, reduces costs, and facilitates informed decision-making.” —Satish Chand

Q H & M Birt Team and Equipment

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