5 Reasons to Use a Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) for Construction Projects

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.

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.

9 Misconceptions About Underground Utility Locating

Trusted Utility Locating Services

Underground utilities, also known as subsurface utilities, are infrastructures found underground to provide services to people. They are most commonly built by public utility companies but are also installed as private utilities by property owners. Such public utilities come in the form of pipes and cables that transport lots of things, from water to your internet connection.

Depending on the location, utility locating could also be done on a private utility. Things such as self-installed home filtration systems, sewer lines, garden sprinkler systems, are all examples of such infrastructure.

What Are Utility Location Services For?

Because these infrastructures are below the ground, anyone who plans to excavate either for public or private purposes will need to plot where these utilities are before they do any digging. Utility location refers to the entire process of plotting such infrastructure, from identifying where utility lines are to labeling each line properly.

Explaining What 10 Myths on Underground Locating Really Mean

1. All utility mark outs are accurate.

Utility mark outs are often inaccurate. Whenever you’re doing some excavation work, always proceed with caution.

You never know whether mark outs are inaccurate or incomplete. Don’t trust mark outs, since they may be based solely on records. Even ones done using the most advanced locating technologies are not very reliable because all locating technologies have limitations and instrument readings can change depending on the operators’ interpretations.

The best way to approach mark outs is to stir as far away from them as possible. Ideally, set your drilling location five to 10 feet away from marked lines. After all, a marked line could be one pipe or cable or it can be a group of pipes and cables together.

2. I can dig in a spot without the need to hire utility locators.

A lack of utility marks could mean the area has never been located before, not that there are no utilities present. Never dig on lots without going through proper procedures. Rarely are there no utilities where there are no marks; more often than not, you’d find unlocated utilities in such areas. You should ask around about utilities and facilities in the area.

You can also inspect the area yourself for signs of underground activities such as repaired pavement, disturbed soil, utility boxes, or wires, cables, and pipes coming from the ground. Better yet, hire Trusted Utility Locating Services to do the work for you. 

3. Depths of utilities can be assumed or estimated.

You cannot assume or estimate the location or depth of utilities without exposing them first. Lines can shift or settle, changing their depths over time; and any mark usually only indicates horizontal locations. So never make assumptions.

4. Utility strikes will not happen to me.

The biggest myth is the idea that you’re exempt from utility strikes. Just because something has never happened to you before does not mean it cannot happen. In fact, in 2019 there was an estimated 532,000 excavation-related damages to underground facilities across the country.

5. I only have to do utility mapping once.

Underground utility locating should be conducted every time before you dig up a piece of land. The depth of pipelines, cables, and so on changes over time and new utilities are always being added to the mix. So never skip utility locating prior to any project.

6. I can use an old map.

Mapping underground utilities is a long and continuous process, so you can’t always rely on old maps to guide you. If it’s been more than 5 years, the map is no longer up to date. Always get a location survey before you start any and all utility services projects. 

7. A ground-penetrating radar (GPR) can see all underground utilities.

A GPR can detect some utilities via geophysical radar pulses, but they only work as extensions of human senses.

Simply put, any GPR is limited by penetration depth and data interpretation when detecting such infrastructure. So though they are helpful, do not rely on them too heavily and always remain on the safe side when excavating.

8. I don’t need to worry about abandoned lines. 

Never make assumptions in these situations. Seemingly abandoned lines are possible conduits for new utilities, and they can be plugged at one end but be connected on the other. Abandoned lines can still pose a danger to you and everyone else so exercise utmost caution. 

9. 811 is liable for accidents.

Just because you called 811 does not mean you have done all you should when it comes to underground utility locating. The team on the other line can help coordinate with locating service providers to have a utility map of the area, but that’s as much as they can do.

It is important to remember that you are still responsible as an excavator to verify the marks provided to you. After all, when there’s a utility strike, it will be your cost to bear. There’s no harm in double-checking just to be extra sure.

Best Practices to Avoid Accidents

It pays to be extra cautious when it comes to excavations. Do everything you can to minimize the risks that come with digging.

Call 811

811 is the federally assigned hotline to call before you do any digging.

Call the hotline at least a few days before you do any digging to help make sure you’re educating yourself on the underground utilities present in your excavation area before you begin any project. This can go a long way in preventing any breaches or accidents when it comes to disturbing an existing underground utility line.

Hire Professional Utility Locating Services

When in doubt, it always pays to hire a professional. They have the necessary equipment and the best technology to carry out the safest excavations with the least surface disruption via hydro excavation.

Contact a reliable utility locating service to make sure you know where underground utilities are and how deep they are in the ground.

We at Util-Locate pride ourselves on being South California’s leading private utility locating company. Our team is one call away, so contact us today to make sure your utility location project goes smoothly!