In new construction, underground utility mapping is required by code, but there are situations where this is not the case. In some cases, property owners and developers perform their digging for buried utility lines.
This may be a strategy to save money on construction. However, the long-term cost of a failed dig may ultimately increase expenses by failing to identify underground utility lines. Although most of us take them for granted, underground utility lines are often unmarked.
They can be just feet below the surface or buried beneath structural footings. Knowing where these lines are is critical to protecting your family, crew, home, and investment.
Property owners and developers should understand the purpose and process of a project’s utility locating program.
What is Utility Lines
Underground utility lines are all the buried facilities that deliver or carry utilities to homes and businesses. This includes:
- Water lines
- Gas lines
- Primary electrical lines
- Secondary electrical lines
- Telephone lines
- Fiber optic lines
- Septic pipes
- Storm drains
Underground utility lines are typically encased in large steel or plastic pipes.
When to Call a Private Utility Locator
A certified utility location professional is also known as a locator should be called before you begin digging or building. The professional utility locator will examine the topographic maps to determine the best locations for locating all utility lines.
Inspect roads, street curbs and sidewalks, driveways, and trails for buried utility lines. The private utility locator will also dig at specific points to locate utility lines and mark their location on your maps.
By knowing the depth of the utilities you will be able to place footings or foundations in deep enough locations so that they do not contact them.
Here is a list of situations when you should call a professional:
You Need to Demarcate Underground Utility Lines
An Underground Utility Locating Equipment Company is a proactive resource when locating, mapping, and marking underground utilities before excavation.
When confronted with a utility project, companies often dig into their archives to provide a detailed examination of previously marked underground utilities in a given area.
Therefore, reducing the duration and complexity of the project and avoiding costly re-routing. Utility locating is a critical phase of any construction project that ensures that construction materials, labor, and effort are not wasted.
You Want to Avoid Damaging Existing Lines
The right utility company should provide services to mark any buried utilities, tanks, or private lines if they own them. Still, it’s hard to miss all the utility-marking flags and spray-painted markings in your yard.
Digging into an unmarked service can cause severe damage and cost you a lot of money to repair. Utilities can be expensive to repair and replacing them isn’t always the right choice.
That’s why it’s helpful to pay for a professional and save yourself time and money in the long run.
You Want to Prevent Accidents and Injuries
To prevent accidents from happening below the surface, you should dig with a private utility locating company. This way, your crew will dig without any worries about hitting underground wires or any other kinds of buried lines.
After being marked out and fully understood, you can move forward to the latter stages of the project.
You Need Dependable Information
The most cost-effective and dependable way to locate underground utilities is to let a utility locating service provider do the work for you.
A professional utility locating service provider employs one of the most effective methods for determining where your lines may be located. First, information regarding the lot’s construction and ownership is obtained.
This information must coincide with the ownership records on file with the appropriate governing authorities. With access to these records, any unknown utility lines or service connections can easily be determined.
Thus, plans can then be made for the locating service provider to complete the actual fieldwork and locate and mark underground utility lines. Helping to alleviate and take the guesswork out of the process, therefore, lending peace of mind and accuracy when excavation projects begin!
What Equipment is Used for Potholing Utilities?
State-of-the-art equipment such as electronic or radio frequency (RF) pipes, electromagnetic devices, cable locating tools, and ground-penetrating radar (GPR) is used for potholing utilities in order to perform a thorough investigation of the area.
In the end, this procedure can produce complete, high-quality utility maps of where current and abandoned lines run.
Levels of Utility Location
Since the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) guidelines were developed in 2003, many agencies have adopted these standards for obtaining utility information.
The four levels of utility information are D, C, B, and A. Level D is the least accurate and represents unknowing or unsubstantiated attribute data that is not suitable for use in design or construction activities.
Level A provides a complete and efficient collection of multiple attribute data points using the highest accuracy-producing attribute probing equipment available.
A level D site plan is the most basic level of information for utility locations. It includes information obtained from on-site observation inclusive of templates and layout of existing utilities.
The Level C report is intended for utility asset owners who require a thorough examination of the site to identify utilities. It incorporates the Level D research and adds field examinations, typically at a much-reduced distance from the existing facilities.
Thus, capture any exposure that remains hidden from a distance.
The Level B survey depicts the utility layout in the vicinity of a facility and is used in conjunction with geographic information system (GIS) mapping and utility information to assist in assessments and readiness.
Level B represents a basic horizontal and vertical picture of utility coverage in a vicinity, based on available public records and site-specific knowledge obtained from hiring a private utility company with level C and D information.
In Level A, conclusions are drawn from Level D, C, and B investigations, where the locations were deemed suitable for a utility company to install a service.
Then a letter of notification from a professional land surveyor is sent to a landowner indicating the utility company’s intent to apply for a permit to have access to their property.
Get the Help You Need Today
At Util-Locate, we specialize in underground utility locating utilizing the latest equipment and technology to make sure you know the location of every utility before any excavation work.
Whether it be a water service line, fiber optics, natural gas line, or other utilities on your property, we have the experience and expertise to locate them with GPS precision.
All of our locating technicians are motivated and knowledgeable with years of experience using multiple technologies. We have a diverse fleet of modern equipment that allows us to perform efficient locations over a vast area. For any utility location services, call us at Util-Locate today.