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Temporary works need a permanent record

6th November 2018

PDMA Consulting Engineers is well-known for designing permanent works, but it is our reputation for designing and specifying effective and efficient temporary works solutions that is helping us carve a niche in the construction supply chain.

Whilst the projects vary in size from designing a simple retaining wall for a new building or extensive coffer dam plans for large civil infrastructure projects, the devil is always in the detail. It’s where the team here at PDMA excel; there’s no substitute for experience.

With the transition to our new brand almost complete, it’s important we continue to invest in the future of our business and demonstrate our commitment to existing clients and future prospects.

And whilst the world goes digital at an ever-increasing pace and the paperless office is talked of at great length, we’re not quite there yet. Our sector and indeed most of our clients still like to see plans, drawings, simulations and diagrams printed out on paper – often it’s just a detail; a real close-up, but critical nonetheless.

We try whenever possible to keep our printing to a minimum, but sometimes it’s just easier to see something printed out and for a team to discuss, annotate and amend drawings in real-time. Think less ‘augmented or virtual reality’ and more ‘reality’.

Additional features and efficiency benefits

PDMA have installed a number of new multi-function A4/A3 printers throughout the business, with our growing project list in mind. Previously we had several copiers of varying age, which produced good prints and copies, but were not as efficient as more modern machines, which also offer additional useful features.

Ricoh MP C2004exAs you might expect from consulting engineers, just like every product we specify in our work, we undertook a thorough evaluation process to determine the required specification for the new machines. We finally settled on Ricoh MP C2004ex, which are significantly more efficient in their use of toner, particularly when set to mono, double-sided as the default output.

They are also Energy-Star rated, with an exceptionally low typical energy consumption of around 0.7 kWh, which helped swing the decision in their favour in recognition of our commitment to the environment and ISO14001 – the international standard for environmental management.

There is also a fax included and yes, we still get faxes – sometimes it’s easier to annotate a drawing on site and fax it than try and send emails with attachments etc. I believe faxes are the technology that will not die, there are times when are just so useful.

But when a drawing needs scanning, so notes can be shared via email perhaps, we have a 1200dpi scanner to ensure no details are missed and even the worst handwriting stands up to inspection.

Our team is too large for a printer each, so several users in the office share each printer, which have the facility for printing sensitive/confidential information – it happens more often than you’d think.

When sending a file or document to print, like an inspection report on a temporary demountable structure, the user can require a code to be input into the printer prior to printing – they stand, watch and retrieve the print as it happens.

This facility can be used on all documents, but is particularly valuable for sensitive documents and helps us comply with the requirements of GDPR.

So, what to some might appear a relatively mundane process, specifying and installing new printers for consulting engineers, who obsess over efficiency and effectiveness of designs, this was an enjoyable distraction from our busy schedules – although one that we hope not to repeat for a year or two.