Whether you are in the middle of a construction project or just about to embark on one, one of your main concerns is likely keeping to a strict budget. Construction projects big and small can be expensive and time-consuming, but by utilizing the newest and most reputable technologies, you can end up saving a lot of money in 2020. One of the best techniques available for the early stages of a project is utility potholing using vacuum excavation.
This is the most reliable and safest way to locate utility lines, which means you won’t run the risk of causing extensive—and expensive—damage to water, gas, or other energy lines.
Keep reading to learn about the process of vacuum excavation, the benefits it will bring to your construction project, and our top tips and tricks on how to introduce potholing into your project.
What is Utility Locating and Excavation?
Any construction project that requires digging underground at all will benefit from utility potholing. Essentially, it is a method of locating the utility lines that run beneath the construction site. You have to locate these utilities for a variety of reasons: in order to connect the new property to these lines and to prevent damaging them in the construction process.
Typically, utility lines provide power and water to a large surrounding area, especially in urban zones. Therefore, any damage to the lines can result in extensive interruption of utility services to important buildings like hospitals and schools. If your construction team is found to be the cause of this damage, you will be handed a hefty fine and repairs to the utility lines will severely affect your deadlines.
These are worst-case scenarios, but they are very possible when poor methods are used to locate utility lines. Vacuum excavation is both extremely accurate and very gentle so there is no risk to the lines. This method uses the vacuum to gently apply air or water pressure to the area of land being excavated so that the earth is removed from the lines. When using air pressure, the earth is simply moved to another area which means it can be used later in the construction process, saving you money on materials later on.
Why is Utility Potholing Better?
Compared with other methods of utility excavation, potholing is cost-effective, efficient, and by far the most accurate option. Many people have stopped using backhoes because of their wayward nature. When they are not operated by a very experienced professional, there is a much higher risk of a utility line being struck and damaged.
Another alternative is excavation by hand, but this simply is not practical for large scale projects due to how time-consuming and physically exhausting this work is. In fact, excavating with a trowel or shovel only appears to be the cheapest option. When you factor in labor and time costs, it is comparable with hiring out professional equipment.
Top 3 Benefits of Vacuum Excavation
If you still need more convincing, here are our top 3 reasons why vacuum excavation is the best choice for your construction project:
When you are utility locating, accuracy is the most important factor. Knowing the precise location of utility lines will benefit your build site and avoid the risk of damaging the lines. Using just a backhoe or trowels means your crew will be digging blindly and if they do not apply enough caution, extensive damage can occur.
Vacuum excavation removes this likelihood of human error, which will give you peace of mind and protect you from the risk of big fines.
it is also well-known in construction that time is money! When you are working to a tight deadline, you don’t want to be hampered by time-consuming methods or, worse, repairs. Vacuum excavation, when carried out by a professional team, can be an exceptionally efficient process.
When coupled with RADAR technology, the process is further streamlined because there is a preliminary awareness of the utility line locations.
Vacuum excavation does require paying more for the equipment and professional team. However, this upfront investment will actually save you money in the long run. This is because you altogether avoid the risk of damaging the lines and therefore won’t have to pay large fines or expensive repairs.
These costs would more than exceed the price of hiring a utility potholing team.
Tips and Safety Measures
As with any method and equipment used on a construction site, certain safety measures must be followed. We would recommend taking the following steps to ensure that your experience with vacuum excavation is as great as we know it can be.
Before you hire your potholing team, you should take a few precautionary steps. That means, utilizing RADAR technology to have a general understanding of where you want the vacuum excavation to take place. This will greatly assist the team you hire so that they can perform their job as quickly and thoroughly as possible.
It is highly recommended that you do not just rent out the potholing equipment because it is still a new tool and not all crew members will have enough training or knowledge of how it works.
Instead, opt for hiring a professional team who can bring and operate their own equipment. This will remove the risk of an unexpected accident and ensures that the equipment is not used improperly.
Choosing vacuum excavation is a great choice for anyone who wants a more affordable and accurate utility locating experience. You won’t have to deal with any costly delays and repairs, and you will save money by hiring a professional team to carry out the work for you!