July 01, 2020
Not the normal blog about general work life but a subject many have been talking about - wellbeing and keeping fit. Many of the recent improvements in our general wellbeing and better health have been attributed to COVID. We have spent more time at home, eaten a better diet, taken the opportunity to exercise more, making better use of our time and overall this had the affect improving our wellbeing and fitness. This is a short blog about my previous 6 months.
July 01, 2020
Yesterday Boris Johnson gave his speech yesterday with the emphasis on "Build, Build, Build". There were references to the need for planning reform, reducing red tape and even a topical subject newts. I have to say that with regard to reforming the planning system and reducing red tape it does all seem to be the same old story. We accept its cumbersome and slow, yes there is too much red tape, yes it needs sorting out. Sadly I think it will follow the same pattern - ie nothing changes.
June 18, 2020
Since lockdown started I have been fortunate to be able to keep on working. Yes levels of work have dropped off a bit over the past couple of months but things are beginning to return to normal, well normal-ish. I hope others who are still furloughed are able to return to work shorly and hopefully retain their jobs.
May 14, 2020
Some brief comments on what has happened since the original post. Changes appear to be happening much faster than I had anticipated.
April 18, 2020
COVID 19 has brought dramatic changes to our lives. This blog considers what possible outcomes there may be for "property" once we emerge from the ongoing lockdown. I have loooked at this from a general standpoint with focus on offices and how we work. It therefore is more applicable to the service sector and those who work in the public/private sector in offices. I haven't reflected on manufacturing as I can't really see this changing. Factories will still continue to operate where they are.
I have been reading and following various companies and it is interesting to see what trends may emerge. The likes of Savills have already published some ideas and no doubt JLL, Cushman Wakefield and the big guns will publish their thoughts (apologies if they have already).
In speaking with people and companies I work with many are thinking aling the same lines. Elliot Hartley from Garsdale Design came up with the intersting observation about the potential changes to the "High Street". Many have commented on the move away from commuting and home working.
Maybe the desrire for change will be watered down by the need to reboot the economy and return to normal. Lets see what happens over the next 12 months.
March 18, 2020
For those of us who work in the planning system and local politics will be aware that the average age of elected members is, lets say, "higher than average". I would go as far to say that many are will be more vulnerable than others due to age. Given this key factor but also the need for social distancing how can Planning Committees continue to function?
March 10, 2020
Even in professional work there is a general migration from the written word to more accessible information. We are all familiar with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube and many of us use these platforms on a day to day basis. Web sites still have their place but there seems to be a trend here for sleek and almost minimalist websites. In general people don't wish to have to wade through pages and pages of text but still want to be informed.
When it comes to professional work you simple can't avoid writing reports, it is part and parcel of day to day life as a Chartered Surveyor. Probably the most demaning and lenghy reports I prepare are planning application statements. When combined with other technical reports the result is a healthy pile of reading material. In reality only a few will read and absorb this but there are many others who will want to know what your scheme entails. This is where I believe other forms of media, for example ESRI Story Maps and video have a role to play and convey key information in more user friendly formats.
February 18, 2020
A drone survey, and importantly the outputs, really is a "box of tricks". Who would of thought a few years ago that a drone could capture so much information in one flight and the data outputs could be used in so many different ways. As those involved in the property sector are discovering these data outputs can be used so effectively providing key information. Historically capturing this breadth of information would be not only be costly but take some time to deliver. Drones enable data to be captured quickly, safely and at a reasonable cost.
January 23, 2020
To meet the demand for housing UK plc are building a number of Strategic Development Sites up and down across the country. These are large residentiial schemes which can be any from 3/4,000 houses right upto 10,000. The development will usually include a wide range of house types, affordable housing, schools, healthcare facilities, shops, open space and all of the associated infrastructure. The question I have is when do these sites metamorphise into communities?
May 23, 2019
Firstly I have to admit I do like technology. As a Chartered Surveyor throughout my career I have used technology hopefully to its best advatange and propably considered to be an early adopter. Whether mobile phones, paperless offices, computers and apps (GIS in particular) and more recently drones I have been actively invloved. Now into my fourth year of operating drones I was encouraged to see the new RICS Insight Paper and this blog sets out my thoughts.
I do think the RICS could have published this some time ago, maybe 2 or 3 years ago, maybe that reflects that as a generality I think many surveyors and surveying practices are slow to adopt to change. With global recognition I believe that the RICS should be actively promoting and advising members of how to work smarter. Too many think of a drone as a bit of fun and something that can interfere with airports. For me it is simple another toool in the box which can be used to capture data and information for the benefit of my clients. I have one particular client in the construction sector where I capture imagey of all their active sites monthly. The CEO has described this work as "business transformational and a game changer". You have to think how and to what use an aerial camera platform can be put and what deliverables will benefit your client whther that is savoing them money, making better decisions or adding value.
This insight paper does set the scene but does rather gloss over how drones are being used today for a range of uses all of which are helping the property industry. There are some companies (eg Severn Trent, Thames Water, Knight Frank) taking a lead and doing some great work but these are a minority. The use of drones in the property secotr has huge potential and we need to embrace it.
May 10, 2019
We are now in our 4th year of opertaing a drone and the number of enquiries is on the rise. Initially drone work was focused on complimenting exisitng services provided to various cleints. Over the past 12/18 months enquiries have gradually increased for both existing and new clients. Whilst the number of qualified drone pilots has increased substantially over the past 2 years (from about 2,000 to 8,000) there remains a signifiant amount of work available. With experience in the property sector our focus is on providing drone derived outputs and data to helpo client manage their property portfolios.
April 29, 2019
Since "Gatwick" new rules have been introduced for anyone wishing to fly their drone close to an airport. How is it working?
April 02, 2019
Creating photogrammetry outoputs from drone derived imagery is well established and readily available using drones. The use of photogrammetry does seem to be on the rise as cleints realise the benefits of being able to obtain a wide variety of outputs quickly and cost effectively. Accuracy is often a topic of debate but with care the correct results can be achieved. This short blog covers how we deliver the required accuracies.
January 02, 2019
Over the Christmas /New Year Holiday I always seem to do those once in a year jobs - having a good clear out. This year I have been taking it a bit furether and not just leaving it an annual task. It has become an ongoing "Project". I don't like clutter and do like to be organised (typical traits of a Virgo) so I am endeavouring to rid myself of unnecessary clutter, this includes electronic data and information as well. Most of this is a physical process and I have done a lot over the last 6 months.
My aim this year is to take greater care with the written word. Whether it is email, making notes, drafting a planning statement, writing a report, editing a video or writing some form of manual I am going to make an effort to make it concise and succinct.
In addition I will be reviewing my UAV Operations Manual and seeing if I can or need to de-clutter it.
December 05, 2018
Earlier this year the CAA introduced various new rules for drone operators. Two key revisions were height restrictions and the 1km exculsion zones around airfields, known as the "Outer Zone". Many commercial drone operators commented on the later suggesting that instead of having a 1km zone around the whole airfield that it would make sense to extend the area out along the centre line. That didn't happen.
I have recently been commissioned to fly a site close to East Midlands Airport (EMA) which I know very well as I have managed a property with a common boundary to the airfield. EMA have granted permssion for the flight for a site which lies just outside the "1km" area. In preparing a Pre Flight Assessment I have discovered that the 1km area as shown on the NATS app isn't accurate.
Why is the area defined different to the definitions in CAP1687?
November 24, 2018
This Autumn has been busy with a wide variety of drone surveys. Within the last month I have completed seven surveys and have encountered a wide variety of ground conditions. In this blog I take a closer look at the impact vegetation can have on volumetric surveys.
October 23, 2018
Last month I attended a two day course presented by Andy Carman from ARC Aerial Imaging and hosted by Ely Aviation. An excellent course, a good and enthuasiatic group of attendees and we also did some flying. Read more about the course here.
October 23, 2018
Well after all I am a bit older, it is 10 years since I started Everything is Somewhere and I therefore have treated myself to a new bike, a Riese & Muller Roadster Touring HS. Here are my thoughts after the first week of ownership.
October 22, 2018
September 19, 2018
I am an "old school" surveyor. Like most surveyors I love maps, old or new, I also love technology. My aim has always been to use technology to make my working life easier and to be more efficient. Effective use of time becomes very much evident when you operate as a small company or sole trader. Sadly you still still so time watsed (in meetings??) and lots of procrastination. I also, all to frequently, work with clients who at best have average and sometimes poor or very poor property records and information. You can see how inefficient this becomes and a burden of time and sometimes limited resources. This blog is therefore about property records, or the lack or them.
July 23, 2018
A bit of an understatement this high with the prolonger heatwave. I was thinking more along the lines that we are into the holiday season when the phones and email goes quite and there is time to catch up.
June 19, 2018
My thoughts and learning from the CLA Connectivity Summit held in London on June 19th.
May 28, 2018
Having attended the ESRI User Conference I discovered that I have access to an App called Survey123. I have started using it and it is fantastic, a real time saver.
March 21, 2018
Pre Application Advice, useful, but are Planning Authorities Consistent?
November 09, 2017
Much has been written on how to undertake volumetric surveys with a UAV and whether "Ground Control Points" are needed to achieve accuracy. I conducted my own experiment using a real life project.
July 20, 2017
Everything is Somwhere regularly integrates GIS and UAV derived data. However by using some of the many capabilities of ESRI's ArcGIS and ArcGIS Online it can really help the workflow.
May 22, 2017
Conservative Manifesto proposes mapping who owns all of Britain for the first time. Exactly the same idea as promoted in the "Socialist Worker". What then?
April 10, 2017
Stakeholder Engagement - from Village Hall to "Story Maps"
March 17, 2017
October 01, 2016
Why it is important when undertaking mapping work to have accurate data.
June 08, 2016
I have a client who owns a property in the Borough of Oadby & Wigston (South Leicester). Of the aspects I needed to research was the planning history of the property, ascertain if everything has the relevant planning consent and explore alternative uses. In the vast majority of cases this isn't an onerous task. In this case it was a completely different story.
March 02, 2016
For many years I have understood that the ubiquitous Great Crested Newt is protected in light of it's scarcity across the EU despite it being found on a significant number of development sites across the UK. If we leave the EU does "Newty" have a less protected future?
February 05, 2016
This initiatve was launched earlier last year as a means of kick starting the availability of starter homes for people under 40. The idea is that it would help release sites on unviable or underused commericial and industrial sites, commonly known as "brownfield land". Unlike other intiatives to stimulate house building such as "Help to Buy" this proposal makes changes to the underlying planning system to allow these sites to be brought forward for development.
January 21, 2016
I am a member of quite a few professional bodies including the RICS, Central Association of Agricultural Valuers, Institute of Quarrying, Association for Geographic Information and have just joined the Association of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (ARPAS). I have been a member of some, for example the RICS, since qualifying in 1983 and others for a much shorter period. In that timeframe we have also gone from writing letters to instant communication via the web and social media.
January 15, 2016
I confess I can be a bit of an IT junkie. I enjoy exploring new ways of working, finding new and innovative hardware and software. Not everything is what it is cracked upto be or maybe not just right for me but there are times when you have that "Wow Factor".
January 01, 2016
During the course of the past 12 months I submitted a number of planning appilcations, became invloved in a planning appeal and made submissions for a new "Local Plan". None of these were large applications but more the day to day grass routes applications. However the process remains the same.
November 17, 2015
Not an area of work I am actively enagaged it but one that interests me. The roll out of renewable energy has (and still is) a bit of a roller coaster ride. The feed in tariffs change, planning challenges remain and policy changes all leading to uncertainity in the sector. Whilst all this is going on there has been a huge increase in renewable capacity and in particular with wind energy and solar power. There still remains all manner of issues and added to the generation problems we also need to add difficulties in securing connections to the national grid. Many proposed solar farms have stalled because it has not been possible to secure the necessay coonections.
October 04, 2015
I attended an excellent planning seminar this morning at Browne Jacobson's Nottingham office. Three topics covered and some good discussion. We had an update on contaminated land, CIL and how it is so inflexible and the emerging ideas on Starter Homes.
September 29, 2015
Like many others I think this story is going to run and run. Probably of greater significance is the impact commercial vehicles have (or not) but that has yet to be reported. The scope of damages is potentially huge not only with regard to reputation but also financially. Little has been said yet on the taxation issues in particular with regard to company cars and benefit in kind. Surely lower reported CO2 figures will have resulted in a skewed market as company car drivers choose lower polluting cars and therefore paid a lower tax.
September 21, 2015
Having passed my flight test and submitted the paperwork to the CAA I am now patiently awaiting my licence. During the course of the training other students were seeking clarification on where they could fly and we also considered various case studies.
September 17, 2015
I have always had an interest in flying having previously held a PPL so drones were always of interest. However would I be investing in a drone for personal use or for work? The answer to the above is that they are both a boys toy and something rather useful, and yes I am going to be using it for work.
October 09, 2014
In January this year I wrote a blog suggesting a new idea. Simple in its approach whereby I suggested that every community should be allowed to grow by 5%. The idea was that this would spread the pressures of building UK housing stock, avoid the big new estates and at the same time improve the quality of developments.
October 01, 2014
A few days kayaking on the Norfolk Coast prompts these thoughts on energy supply. Having wild camped on the coast under clear skies the full extent of the relatively new "Sheringham Shoal" windfarm really struck me. Whilst on a clear day you can see the turbines at night each one is identified by a red navigation light, there a lot of them.
May 08, 2014
In the world of property management and in particular planning a lot of what we do takes time, a lot of time. The question is why and how can we change this?
September 18, 2013
Over the years I have become less enamoured with conferences and seminars. Maybe I was going to "annual" events and therefore exposed to similar topics, similar themes and maybe similar outcomes. As always though it was good to catch up with friends and colleagues. I do have sympathy for the conference organisers as it must be difficult to constantly re-engineer and make their conference interesting.
June 25, 2013
EiS Property (i.e. me) has had a busy few months. Much of my work over the past year has revolved around submitting and planning applications and hopeful securing some consents. With over 20 years experience in property I have been involved either directly or indirectly with the submission of hundreds of planning applications and I have been lucky, the majority have been approved. Yet whilst it is a technical and legislative process the final decision in many cases is down to the show of hands of the planning committee. That's when it is completely out your control and on occasions quite emotional.
March 01, 2013
Jeremy Clarkson has been visiting Russia this week researching the important role the Artic Convoys played in World War 2. A documentary is to follow and I am sure he will make it quite plain in his own unique style that successive Government's have been lamentable in not awarding these brave men medals. After 70 years they still haven't be recognised. Al Murray has done similar work in getting the Government to recognise some of the remarkable feats our armed forces achieved and again asking why for so many years they haven't been recognised.
February 20, 2013
The "horse meat" scandal and in particular the story how Romanian horses landed up on UK supermarket shelves got me thinking. Where does everything I purchase actually come from? To find out I kept details of everything I purchased for a whole week. I then mapped it.
February 16, 2013
The new Planning Documentary on BBC2 has raised some interesting aspects of the planning system. Most commentary I have read so far is focused on the make up of Planning Committees and in particular the age profile. I guess that it is an altogether bigger problem as quite how you attract younger people into local politics is a national problem.
February 10, 2013
The media has been busy reporting the planned HS2 project over the past two weeks. The first thing which did strike me was how the whole scheme wasn't leaked, so well done to them.
February 04, 2013
Information Technology can be both a savour and equally a frustrating time wasting burden. Using IT effectively does enable the individual to make the best use of your most valuable asset, time. A number of years ago we were all lead to believe that IT in it's broadest sense would allow us to work in the paperless office and make us all very efficient. There are times when you do wonder if the IT solution takes much longer than simple technology such as pencil and pad or a phone call.
January 13, 2013
It doesn't really matter what the development is, a wind turbine, HS2, a fracking site, an urban extension or even a new "city" the common reaction is "I am not against growth but I don't think the development is suited here". In most cases it is personal, it is change, it impacts your day to day life, it may reduce the value of your property. I am not going to dwell on this but will say why on earth don't we have an equitable compensation system. In the context of the construction cost for the big infrastructure projects the % of the total property compensation relative to the project cost is low.