Utility Locating Methods associated with Subsurface Utility Engineering

Subsurface Utility Engineering: Level B Utility Designation

Utilities are essential for a high-functioning society.  With an ever-expanding world, we rely on the sustainability of underground utilities to power us into the future.  To achieve this, accurate records must be obtained to map and characterize what’s below our feet.  As ground penetrating radar (GPR) professionals, THG offers unique expertise to improve the quality of utility designation surveys.

Subsurface utility projects have traditionally relied on historic records or a one-call system for design or excavation purposes.  Quite often there are many inaccuracies within utility records that result in change orders, project design changes, and most importantly, serious safety implications.  Throughout the years a more comprehensive method was developed to accurately identify and map underground utilities.  Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) is a multi-level technique that utilizes historic records (Level D), surveying of surface utility markings (Level C), subsurface utility surveys (Level B), and vacuum excavations (Level A) to provide underground information to clients.

THG has years of experience performing utility investigations to meet the requirements of SUE Quality Level B (QL-B) which involves using various geophysical techniques to identify the existence and horizontal positioning of subsurface utilities, more commonly known as utility designation.  With a background in geophysics, THG developed a multifaceted approach to designating utilities using a combination of traditional locating techniques, ground penetrating radar (GPR), and electromagnetic surveying.  This method has been shown to not only verify known utilities but to identify abandoned or unrecorded facilities.  THG uniquely offers road-speed, 3-D GPR mapping using the Impulse Radar Raptor.

Information that THG can provide for QL-B is critical in preliminary engineering design, helping produce accurate, quality maps for current and future projects.  THG can ensure the safety and timely completion of projects while also providing substantial cost savings.