CASE STUDY – Carriage Works

Swindon Carriage Works was part of Brunel’s Great Western Works and was once the largest railway carriage works in the country. Since finally closing in 1986 some of the former Carriage Works has been used as industrial units and other areas have remained unused and have fallen into disrepair.
Swindon Borough Council is breathing new life into the site with a £4m investment to restore the Grade II listed building as a mixed use development close to the town centre.
The first phase is now complete and is operating as a business incubation hub which home to The Carto Group among others. The next phase is now being planned which includes refurbishing several former industrial units and the undercroft below which used to be the bike shed for the Carriage Works.
As part of the next phase of development, structural work will need to be completed in the undercroft. To support the creation of a report into the current structural state of the undercroft, a full measured building survey was required.



Built in 1868, the undercroft features a jack arch ceiling that is the focus of the structural investigations. The ceiling is currently supported by a large amount of timber props and shows a number of major cracks across the structure. The original bike racks and other features are also still present which makes for a difficult environment to survey.

The structural engineer required information on the location of cracks in the undercroft ceiling, the thickness of the ceiling itself, the shape of the jack arches, floor levels in the undercroft and the units above and the verticality of the front facade of the Carriage Works.


To ensure that all the information required was provided to the structural engineer, our laser scanning team was deployed to capture data across the project area. The resulting point cloud contained all the level and structural details needed to create drawings displaying the required information. 
To augment the scan data, high resolution photographs of the ceiling were also taken to aid location of any cracks.

Digital mapping


The scan data was used to create a series of drawings including cross sections through the entire building, the location of any cracking, level plots of the floors and the facade verticality. These drawings were used to inform the reporting of the structural engineer.

Digital mapping

 Added Value

To add value to our delivery, we also created a virtual tour of the undercroft to allow the structural engineer to view any aspect of the structure at any time while writing his report. The tour was also shared with other project stakeholders so everyone had a view of the undercroft.

Close Menu