What is a Utility Survey?

Good question! You may have heard of a utility survey, or even know what it is, but today we’re discussing why they’re so crucial to the future of construction. So, if you’re looking to add an extension to your home or need to check that your construction site is safe to build on, then read on!

What is a Utility Survey?

A Utility Survey or Underground Survey is used to check for any below ground wiring or pipes to locate water, power, fibre optics, drainage, sewage, gas and telecommunications beneath the area you need surveying. This is to ensure that none of these services are interfered with or damaged during construction work. This is an essential service that we provide, as it lessens risks for constructors, developers, engineers, and utility owners. This ultimately reduces cost as it minimises project delay, damage to third-party assets, and risk to the safety of public and workers.

Our professionally qualified (and RICS-accredited) utility surveyors have a fantastic proven track record of reducing both H&S and financial risk, having successfully completed utility surveys for many construction, transport and utility projects across the private and public sectors.

Why is it important to make accurate surveys of underground utilities?

With there being an increasingly limited space for construction, this has put greater demand on developers to design effectively. Having a high-quality underground utility survey gives our clients the opportunity to maximise the total land space they’re building on without damaging or interfering with any third-party assets. Take a look at our Utility Survey Remote Inspection Guides here.

We’re experienced in delivering accurate and up-to-date utilities’ site plans and map out natural and man-made features to build comprehensive below-ground pictures. We’re always adapting to use the latest location tools and technologies, ensuring that we are delivering you the best results. For a utility survey, we produce 2D plan outputs, 3D wireframe and model drawings, photography, section views, GIS outputs and more. Also, we make these available in both DWG and PDF formats.

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

What equipment do you need?

What makes each utility survey unique is that the type of soil and its frequency dictates the depth penetration of the radio waves, which affects the detail. This means that every survey we do differs depending on its location, so the requirements will vary. However, when undertaking a utility survey, there are three essential pieces of equipment worth a mention:

The first piece of equipment is a Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), which is used to send radio signals down into the ground, creating an image of the features below the surface. A transducer or antenna is moved along the ground by an operator whilst GPR uses it to transmit radio pulses. If there are any buried materials under the ground, such as pipelines or wiring, then these objects will bounce the pulses or signals back, which are then stored in the GPR’s control unit. Ultimately, these signals display as different bands, and they allow our surveyors to assess the full below-ground picture. This is a cost-effective and hassle-free method of seeing what’s underground as you won’t need to do any drilling or digging.

The other two vital utility surveying tools are: Radio Frequency Cable Avoidance (CAT) and Signal Generator (Genny) Tools. These are used to locate cable services underground, helping you to avoid damaging buried cables and other utility lines. The CAT operates in three modes:

• Power – Tracing power signals radiated by loaded cables to detect and avoid below-ground electricity cables.
• Radio – Tracing naturally radiating signals from conductive metallic services.
• Genny – Tracing a tone generated by the Genny to avoid services connected to the source, such as water/gas valves or plug sockets.

Get in touch!

At Sky Revolutions, we have over 25 years’ experience of mapping pipes, cables, gas/sewer lines, cavities, culverts and land drain systems. We believe that the best platform for utilities data is a comprehensive and up-to-date topographical survey. What are you waiting for? Get in touch with us here to find out just what we can do for you.