Utility surveys

Our qualified and RICS-accredited utility surveyors have proven ability of reducing financial and H&S risk with professional utility surveys for many private and public sector construction, transport and utility projects.

We are competent and experienced in delivering accurate, up-to-date and comprehensive utilities site plans and use the latest location tools and technologies to map natural and man-made features to build comprehensive below-ground pictures.

Utility survey
Utilities survey - close up of drain

What Lies Below?

We use a combination of tools (depending on location and requirements) during all utility surveying, coupled with more than 25 years’ experience to map cables, pipework, gas and sewer lines, cavities, culverts and land drain systems. We believe the best platform for utilities data is a current and comprehensive topographical survey.

Whilst we have a variety of tools at our disposal, the key systems used in utility surveys are Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), Cable Avoidance (CAT), and Signal Generator (Genny) Tools. These tools have the potential to determine both service plan and service depth data.

Ground Penetrating Radar

During a utility survey, Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) sends radio signals into the ground to create an image of the features of the subsurface without drilling or digging. GPR transmits radio pulses through a transducer or antenna which is moved along the ground by the operator. Any buried objects or different materials under the ground reflect these pulses or signals which are then stored in the GPR’s control unit. Ultimately these signals are shown as different bands that allow our surveyors to assess the complete below-ground picture.

Utilities survey - Ground penetrating Radar
Radio waves using GPR

Penetrate concrete

Soil type and frequency will dictate the depth penetration of the radio waves and therefore the detail returned by the GPR – so each utility survey and the requirements of each survey will be different depending on location. GPR can detect objects through dense material including concrete and can even detect the rebar within the concrete.

CAT and Genny Tools

Radio Frequency Cable Avoidance (CAT) and Signal Generator (Genny) Tools can be used together or individually to help locate cable services below ground and avoid damage to buried cables and other utility lines. The CAT operates in three modes; power, radio and Genny.

Radio frequency cable avoidance and signal generator tools used to locate cable services below ground
Image of cabels underground.  Utilising specialist tools we protect electricity and service cables.

Multi-mode function

In radio mode, the CAT traces naturally radiating signals from conductive metallic services. In power mode, it traces power signals radiated by loaded cables to detect and avoid below-ground electricity cables. In signal generator or Genny mode, the CAT traces a tone generated by the Genny to avoid services connected to the source; water valves, plug sockets or gas valves for example.

How are we different?

Whilst utility surveys cannot guarantee 100% what type of utility is found, our surveyors are highly experienced in interpreting GPR signals and have a high success rate of providing detailed information that has positively influenced projects and saved developers significant cost and time.

In our experience, we find that working closely and collaboratively with our clients and alongside other disciplines helps us achieve successful outcomes. We are flexible in our approach and draw on our broad surveying expertise to deliver more comprehensive and useful results.

Cables and flooring
TSA (The survey association) guidelines


We also incorporate TSA (The Survey Association) Guidelines for utility surveying in our work which sets out best practice for specific professional utility surveying tasks. However, we cannot guarantee locating all buried utilities, as the local environment and conditions will influence the results. Service Data (Stats) is sometimes unavailable, incomplete or out of date; a utilities survey therefore is a vital, non-intrusive method of investigation.

Standards of Work

Our underground utility surveys are carried out to PAS128 specifications. PAS128 sets out provisions for all those working in utility surveying to provide clarity on surveying methods, data capture, data classification and accountability for work undertaken – ensuring clients receive a consistent and reliable service.

BSI standards of work

CCTV Surveys

CCTV drain surveys provide a clear and unequivocal record of pipe condition; both service (covering the deterioration of the system due to external factors such as silting or root infestation) and structural (covering physical pipe condition such as cracks or open joints).

Where safe, we lift all covers to obtain data on drainage and other services. Drainage details normally include invert level and depth, pipe sizes where obtainable – whether foul surface or combined – and connectivities between chambers.

A CCTV survey can fulfil several functions, by providing amongst other things:

  • A clear and comprehensive report with anticipated remediation schedules to help plan drainage maintenance in the most cost-effective way.
  • Data for allowing assessment of system capacity and condition, informing connection risk in advance for new developments.
  • Dilapidation reports to assess condition before and after adjacent construction projects, to help prove that development has not left the system in a worse condition than before work started.

Review the Benefits

Construction in increasingly limited space puts greater demand on developers to design effectively. High quality underground utility surveying allows our clients to maximise the total land space, and design with full knowledge of below-ground constraints.

  • Obtain a complete record for future development
  • Achieve confirmation of existing as-built records
  • Reduce utility and asset damage
  • Reduce project delay
  • Better plan utility diversions
  • Reduce need for intrusive investigation
  • Save cost and time by working with the full picture of below-ground utilities
  • Reduce safety risk to workers and public

Please get in touch to find out more, or to talk to one of our surveyors about your utility survey needs.

Download our Utilities Surveying Guide here.