Utility locating services are a necessary step when preparing for any construction project, because they make construction safer and more efficient. Ground penetrating radar is a highly effective method that lets you know about any features below ground, from utility lines to septic tanks.
It’s always better to learn about your building site before getting a project started, to prevent any potential issues. With the help of ground penetrating radar, construction teams can prepare for underground obstacles and avoid costly mistakes.
What Is GPR?
Ground penetrating radar is a non-destructive method for getting images of anything beneath the ground, including voids. It uses radio waves to indicate the locations of objects below the surface. It has a wide variety of applications, including scientific studies, archaeology, and of course, construction.
GPR technology functions by sending radar signals in the direction of a target area, which tells you if there’s anything present there. A GRP system will interpret the reflected signals and assemble the data into an image of the object.
When a survey is complete, you’ll learn the exact locations of the utility lines and be made aware of any other subsurface features.
How Does GPR Work?
GPR works by using radio waves to locate objects underground. It transmits pulses of energy with a frequency range up to 1000 MHz. When those energy pulses are directed into the ground, objects below the surface reflect that energy and show up on the radar. All GPR systems are equipped with a receiver antenna, to record the reflected waves.
Software assembles those reflected GPR signals into a visual, and the results show the size and shape of any object below ground. Each energy pulse returns more data to the receiver about the location and material properties of any items below. GPR equipment uses different frequencies to collect information about various depths and provide different resolution levels.
With the help of GPR data, you can learn which areas contain utility lines or other potential obstacles. This method of data collection can detect all kinds of materials, including metal, rock, and PVC.
Utility locating experts often start in areas marked for utility lines, but sometimes utility lines aren’t where they should be. Other areas of interest include those with distinguishing features like valves. Once surveyors locate an object, they’ll cover the area with the GPR cart or radar antenna more than once to get more details on the dimensions and depth of the item.
GPR is a cost-effective way to survey an area before building on it, and it will keep you alert to any potential surprises, ranging from unauthorized utility lines to changes in soil composition.
Advantages of a Ground Penetrating Radar
GPRs provide plenty of advantages, and it’s very useful as a non-destructive method of surveying an area before any excavation or building starts. A professional survey from a GPR device arms you with the information you need to make good decisions for your construction site.
Here are some of the ways you can benefit from using a GPR on construction projects.
1. Provide a Starting Point
The best time to get a GPR survey done is before you even start your project. If you ascertain the locations of underground utilities before you start to build, the process can go much more smoothly.
Once you know where important utility lines are located, it’s easier to build the rest of the structure around them. In some cases, utility lines may need to be moved before you can complete a construction project.
2. Keep Your Team Members Safe
Underground utilities like pipes and wires are potentially dangerous. Cut power lines can electrocute people, and gas lines can cause explosions. The GPR results for your construction site will let you know the exact location of utility lines so you can avoid any unfortunate surprises.
You can prioritize safety for your team members by getting professional utility locating services.
3. Avoid Costly Damage
Not only are utility lines dangerous, they can also cause significant damage to your site or building materials. Explosions, fires, and floods from cut utility lines can result in a lot of damage to building materials and equipment.
Damage prevention is always cheaper than repairs or replacements, so invest in a GPR survey before construction begins.
4. Get More Accurate Results
Utility mark outs are made with the best of intentions, but they aren’t always accurate. Sometimes they’re made using old, out of date records. Instead of relying on provided records, play it safe and get professional utility locating.
GPR lets you find the location of any utilities easily and with a 97% accuracy rate up to a depth of 13 feet. This survey method tells you the specific locations of important utility lines. It can even detect a wide range of materials, not just conductive metals.
Professional utility locators can also adjust the antenna frequency to detect items at different depths. High frequency radio waves provide higher resolution, giving you the most accurate reading of subterranean obstacles.
5. Discover Potential Obstacles
During utility location, people normally have an idea of what to expect and what to look for, like gas and power lines. However, some obstacles might not show up on records, either because they’re naturally occurring or they were done unofficially. Without GPR survey, concrete structures and abandoned lines could take you by surprise.
Items like tree roots or buried objects can get in the way of your building project, but a GPR technician will alert you to these obstacles before they become a serious problem. GPR systems even let you know about the soil conditions of the building site!
How Effective Is GPR?
GPR is a useful tool in an arsenal dedicated to figuring out subterranean conditions and obstacles. It’s an important part of any construction site preparation. This survey method has an incredible 97% accuracy rate with a penetration depth of 13 feet.
What’s more, GPR procedures are low-cost, work quickly, and are great for locating important structures below ground without disturbing the soil. It’s the best technology available for surveying a site, and it can save you a lot of money by preventing expensive problems.
Before you start a project that involves digging into the ground, get professional utility locating services first. Util-Locate uses cutting-edge technology to provide fast and accurate readings for utility line locations.
Contact us today to learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment.