Things You Should Know About Subsurface Utility Engineering

As the name suggests, subsurface utility engineering (SUE) is an engineering practice dedicated to establishing the location of buried utilities. That’s what gives the foundation for decision-making around the construction blueprint/design. It also allows the designer to work on essential decisions related to coordination, accommodation, and utility relocation. Concisely, utility engineering cuts down project risks and eliminates any disarrays in the future. Other than that, it also helps cut down the overall cost, making the whole project cost-effective. 

However, the results vary and depend upon the way of implementation. Not every SUE program is designed the same way; there are certain considerations involved that ensure the risk is managed and the return on investment is realized. 

Subsurface Utility Engineering

What Can You Expect From A Subsurface Utility Engineering Program?

SUE is based on the CI/ASCE 38-02 Standard Guideline for the Collection and Depiction of Existing Subsurface Utility Data. For those who don’t know, it provides a framework that’s responsible for evaluating the integrity of data based on the following four Quality Levels:

  1. Quality Level D (QL-D)

This is where we get the information from existing records and oral collections. 

  1. Quality Level C (QL-C)

On this level, the information is obtained by surveys and plots that are visible on the ground. With the help of professional judgment, the information is then correlated with QL-D information. 

  1. Quality Level B (QL-B)

This is where the professional determine the existence and horizontal position of subsurface utilities within the decided limit. Technologies like Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) and Electromagnetic (EM) can come in handy as they can accurately detect underground assets. 

  1. Quality Level A (QL-A)

Often called daylighting, QL-A is where we get the utility’s precise vertical and horizontal location. Not only that, but we also get information like its type, size, condition, and material. 

Is It Practical To Customize A Subsurface Utility Engineering Program To Fit A Specific Requirement?

The answer would be a definite yes! This is something that makes this program the backbone of utility detection. The subsurface utility engineering programs work from project to project. However, there are some things/questions you should keep in mind. Here are some of them: 

  • Are there any potential risks associated with the utility location? 
  • What level of utility information should be evaluated to manage the risks like overruns and design delays?
  • Will, there be excavations, and if so, what would be the depth? 
  • If utilities are not where they are supposed to be, how far are we willing to go?
  • Are there any inconsistencies that the team should be aware of? 

At Last 

That’s everything you should know about subsurface utility engineering. However, if you feel like something is missing or need help with certain aspects, please contact us at Line Locators. Our team and technicians would be happy to assist you.