Know Before You Buy (or Rent): Concrete Scanning Equipment

The Hidden & Real Risks of Not Hiring a Professional for Precision Concrete Scanning

Know Before You Buy (or Rent): Concrete Scanning Equipment

The Hidden & Real Risks of Not Hiring a Professional for Precision Concrete Scanning

Mitigating risk is a top priority for everyone involved in the construction industry.

One of the best ways to mitigate the risks of sawing or coring concrete is to ensure there are no utilities or other hidden obstructions embedded in the slab.

Ground penetrating radar (GPR) is the most reliable technology for this type of precision concrete scanning.

GPR involves sending a radio signal into a structure and reading the “bounce” that occurs when that signal encounters a material. The materials encountered are displayed as hyperbolas on a GPR reading.

Side-by-side photos of a worker scanning concrete and the data from that scan displayed on a ground penetrating radar unit.
Ground penetrating radar is the most reliable technology for this type of precision concrete scanning.

GPR is non-destructive, efficient, accurate, and safe. It detects potentially dangerous subsurface objects such as rebar, post tension cable, and buried utilities. Striking any of these features when sawing or drilling concrete can cause structural and equipment damage, severe injury, and even death. So, it is vital to have a high degree of experience and understanding about how to use GPR technology.

GPR concrete scanners, like any technology, are in a constant cycle of improvement and affordability, making them more user friendly. It is easy to see how it becomes tempting to consider purchasing or renting this equipment. However, as with the actions of cutting or coring concrete, there are risks inherent in renting or buying a GPR unit.

The Right Tool in the Right Hands

The effectiveness of GPR equipment still relies heavily on the knowledge and experience of its operator. 

The best concrete scanning professionals complete an intensive, months-long training regimen. They receive field training and mentorship, and classroom training. They log many hours scanning test slabs, where they tackle real-world scanning scenarios in a safe and structured environment. All this training ensures that these professionals can properly interpret the readings provided by a GPR unit[CP2] .

The average cost of paid training to learn to operate a portable GPR unit is $500 per person per day. It takes far more than a single day to be competent at concrete scanning and when you  compare the $56,000 average cost of a utility strike, saving a few pennies could well cost you tens of thousands of dollars.

If used correctly, GPR reveals what is concealed in and under concrete and the exact location of these objects. Some items may not actually be dangerous to cut or core through. Others, such as gas and electrical lines, could kill someone if struck. How confident are you that, if you rent or buy a GPR unit, you’ll be able to determine which is which?

Sacrificing Quality and Speed 

Renting or purchasing a GPR scanner diminishes not only the quality of the information you receive, but also the rate at which you receive it.

You or one of your employees will have to learn how to operate the scanner. You’ll need to know how to calibrate the device, how to complete a scan, and how to interpret the data. 

Time is money; how much of both are you willing to spend waiting for you or one of your team members to figure out how to use a rented or purchased GPR scanner? 

Professional concrete scanning companies can usually respond to your site within 24 hours of a service request. That’s considerably faster than the amount of time it takes to rent or purchase GPR equipment, and then train yourself or an employee to use it.

The Right Hands for the Right Tool 

Hiring a professional concrete imaging company with a proven track record, like GPRS, eliminates the risks inherent in renting or buying GPR equipment and attempting a concrete scan on your own. Each member of our elite team of over 400 Project Managers has completed the industry-leading Subsurface Investigation Methodology (SIM) program. This standard operating procedure includes specifications for underground utility locating and concrete scanning. 

  • SIM focuses on a three-step approach to achieve the most accurate results when performing non-destructive subsurface testing:
  • The need for experienced technicians
  • The understanding and proper utilization of applicable technology
  • The adherence to proven methodologies
  • SIM establishes the industry standard that concrete scanning currently lacks. The use of SIM ensures site safety, and limits damage to subsurface and structural elements. 

SIM-certified GPRS Project Managers receive a minimum of four weeks of field mentoring and then 80 hours of classroom training followed by an additional four weeks of field mentoring prior to being released into the field under the supervision of a Senior Project Manager.

It’s our confidence in our SIM-qualified Project Managers that led us to introduce the Green Box Guarantee. When we place a Green Box within a layout before your crew anchors or cores concrete, we guarantee that the area will be free of obstructions. If we’re wrong, we pay the cost of the damage.

GPRS strives for 100% subsurface damage prevention. We tailor our suite of infrastructure visualization services to our clients’ needs, helping them Intelligently Visualize The Built World™ while keeping their projects on time, on budget, and safe.

What can we help you visualize? Click here to schedule a service today!

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