Locating underground utilities prior to design - Mission Critical
As a civil engineer, locating underground utilities before designing a construction project is a necessary step to ensure safety, cost savings, regulatory compliance, effective planning, and environmental impact. One of the most common methods for locating utilities is to call in the free public utility locate service. However, the accuracy of this service may not always be enough for some projects. In such cases, hiring a private utility location service that uses more advanced technologies can provide better accuracy.
Here are some reasons why hiring a private utility location service may be necessary for some projects:
Accuracy: Public utility locate services can provide a general idea of where utilities are located, but they may not be as accurate as private utility location services. Private services use advanced technologies such as ground-penetrating radar, electromagnetic induction, and acoustic methods, which can detect utilities buried deeper in the ground or locate non-metallic pipes and cables that may not be detectable by the free public utility locate service.
Project complexity: For complex projects that involve a lot of underground utilities, a private utility location service may be necessary. A private service can provide more detailed and accurate maps, which can help engineers plan their work better and reduce the risk of damaging utilities during construction.
Project timeline: Public utility locate services may take several days to complete the work, which can cause delays in the project schedule. In contrast, private utility location services can complete the work much faster, reducing the risk of delays.
Liability: If a public utility locate service provides inaccurate information that leads to damage to underground utilities, the responsibility falls on the contractor. However, if a private utility location service provides inaccurate information, they may be held liable for any damages.
Reputation: A private utility location service that uses advanced technologies and provides accurate information can help build a reputation for quality work and professionalism.
In conclusion, while the free public utility locate service can provide general information about the location of underground utilities, it may not always be sufficient for more complex projects. Hiring a private utility location service that uses advanced technologies can provide better accuracy, reduce project delays, and help build a reputation for quality work. As a civil engineer, it is essential to choose the right utility location service that suits the needs of the project to ensure safety, cost savings, regulatory compliance, effective planning, and environmental impact.