Pinpointing what lurks beneath …
Large projects around the world have been running millions and in some cases billions of dollars over estimate. Why? Underground utility information was inadequate.
Even in smaller residential projects, determining the precise location of underground utilities is critical in ensuring the success of your project —and that it is executed safely and cost-effectively.
It’s not uncommon in the U.S. for the underground infrastructure to be more than 150 years old. We are relying in many instances on buried pipes decades past their intended lifespan.
Tompkins Surveying & Mapping is continuously integrating new technologies and methodologies in the way they map and analyze projects to keep costs low and minimize delays when working in urban environments where such aging systems may come into play or residential projects where precision is critical.
The American Water Works Association (AWWA) estimates that it could cost one trillion dollars to repair and replace the water systems in the U.S. And that is just for the water under our feet. There are many more aging systems.
Our team now integrates above- and below-ground remote sensing systems into a single view. For example, using terrestrial lidar and Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) with multiple antennas and different frequencies it is possible to capture high-quality geospatial data for asset owners in transportation and energy without disrupting public life in urban areas.
In addition, data is available earlier in the process both in CAD files as well as GIS files, allowing for deeper analysis. Designers are able to identify conflicts with underground utilities earlier and more accurately, delivering data in hours or days rather than months, allowing for more accurate scheduling, budgeting, and better conflict resolution.
We can detect utilities including:
· Telephone, cable, fiber optic, alarm
· Gas, oil, petroleum
· Storm sewer, drains
· Sanitary sewer
· Irrigation, slurry
· Abandoned or unknown lines
Before digging or drilling, the owner or contractor must call 811 to contact the national organization responsible for preventing damage of publicly owned utilities. The organization then notifies utilities and cities that own services where the work is to be performed. Technicians are responsible for marking the location of underground utilities within 48 hours. Once this is done, work can begin.
Why You Need Private Utility Location
It is important to understand the limitations of the 811 program:
· Participation in the 811 program isn’t universal
· Only documented utilities are marked
· Mistakes are possible.
· Non-metallic, abandoned and unknown lines cannot be marked
· The depth of the utility isn’t provided
· The 811 technicians don’t directly contact the construction technician or driller
· Non-conductive utilities can be outdated and inaccurate
· Each utility is marked by a different company, so no holistic view is possible
· Privately-owned utilities, which account for 65 percent of underground utilities in the U.S., are not marked at all.
Tompkins Surveying & Mapping overcomes these limitations and provides a complete and accurate view to property owners and excavators outside of the jurisdiction of the public 811 system to ensure your safety and your project’s success.
Utility Location Options
There are a wide variety of projects and needs, so we offer options so you can find the best fit for yours. If you are uncertain as to what is needed, just give us a call and we can help determine which best fits your needs.
Single Line utility: When just one subsurface utility line needs to be located — often the case for residential and small commercial projects —we limit our mark-out to only one line.
Multiple Line utility: Larger residential and most commercial needs require more than one line to be located, so we expand our mark-out to include each one.
Trench line clearance: For an installation of an electrical, telecommunication, water, gas, or sewer line, we limit our mark-out to the area defining the proposed trench line to save time and money.
Borehole clearance: If you are drilling to install a new sign post, bollard, monitoring well or some other single spot location, our utility mark-out may be confined to a single location encompassing a 20’ by 20’ area.
Partial Property: When work will be limited to a small section within a property, we can limit our utility mark-out to fall within just this one area of the property.
Full Property: For a complete view inclusive of all underground infrastructure, we will do a utility mark-out across the entire property. Land surveyors prefer this design when creating a civil survey map.
Three Levels of Utility Locating Service
In addition to these six design options, we offer three levels of service. If you are not sure which level best fits your needs, we are happy to discuss your requirements and recommend one for you.
Level 1 - Field Markings: The least expensive and simplest, this level includes colored paint or flags marking the location and depth of underground utilities. A consultation is included to explain the results.
Level 2 - Field Markings & Written Report: A written utility locating report in PDF form is included in this level in addition to the colored paint and/or flags and consultation.
Level 3 - Field Markings, Written Report, & Utility Map: In this most complex level, an underground utility map (PDF) is also included (in addition to the colored paint and/or flags marking location and depth, a consultation and the written utility locating report in PDF).
These documents can then be used as a guide when digging or drilling or during the design phase of your new construction project.
The Benefits of Using Our Services
Reduce the risk of personal injury
Avoid damage to underground utilities
Eliminate costly mid-project repairs and delays
Preserve landscaped areas, asphalt, and sidewalks
Minimize the amount of exploratory digging
Increase the ease of excavation
Gain peace of mind
Our Utility Locating Process
For quality assurance and consistency, all of our location services follow this process:
1) Review old as-builts and interview facilities personnel about the location of existing utilities
2) Consult with the client to determine scope.
3) Visually inspect the site, survey area and all associated buildings and structures
4) Conduct an active cable and pipe locator survey utilizing a radio signal to locate conductive wires.
5) Search for accessible and inaccessible, abandoned and/or unknown lines.
6) Mark the location and depth of underground utilities with paint and/or flags
7) Consult with client to review the survey’s results.