On the surface, it seemed like a straightforward project.
An apartment complex in Santa Monica, California, needed to install fencing around its outdoor pool. The fencing needed to be anchored into the concrete around the pool, but any number of subsurface items – from post-tension cable and rebar to conduit – could be hiding within that slab.
A single severed post-tension cable can cost upwards of $20,000 to repair/replace, and it can also lead to structural failure that endangers the lives of not only those completing the work, but anyone in the immediate area.
Precision concrete scanning and imaging was required prior to coring the slab to protect the workers anchoring the fencing, the integrity of the concrete, and the project’s budget and schedule. This process typically involves using ground penetrating radar to identify any PT cable, rebar and conduit found within the concrete, then marking the location of those items on the surface of the slab so that they can be avoided during coring or cutting.
But the owners of the apartment complex didn’t want any permanent markings indicating the location of subsurface infrastructure marring the surface of their finished concrete slab.
To address this concern, GPRS Project Managers used carpet cover – a protective, self-adhesive film usually placed on top of carpet during construction projects – to shield the finished flooring. They marked their findings on the cover in Sharpie so that once coring was safely completed, the cover was lifted off the slab, leaving no trace of the markings.
“What we tell the guys is to make sure that they’re equipped with everything, whether it’s Sharpies, crayons, tape, plastic wrap, paper wrap [for] whatever the conditions are on site,” said GPRS Area Manager Alfredo Espinal. “If it’s finished floor and they don’t want permanent markings, then we can easily just put the plastic wrap down, or the paper wrap. Or if it’s a wall we could also use sidewalk chalk. We have all these different tools that we can use, for whatever the job is.”
Nobody at GPRS trained the Project Managers in Southern California to use carpet covering to protect a client’s finished concrete slab during scanning. They innovated to provide GPRS’ 99.8%+ accurate concrete markings in a way that both accurately mapped the interior of the slab and preserved the surface.
As with all GPRS field team members, Espinal and his team were trained to provide industry-leading service to ensure that every GPRS client can complete their project on time, on budget, and safely. For our teams across the country, achieving our mission of 100% subsurface damage prevention often means innovating on a job-by-job basis to solve problems specific to that project.
“Out here in SoCal, the team has been really on board as far as coming up with innovative ways of marking out concrete findings on the ground, whether we’re using plastic carpet wrap, using paper wrap, or even colored tape,” Espinal said. “The guys are just really encouraged to give the best product out there to the clients when it comes to putting down the finished product. So, it’s great to see that everyone is really taking it upon themselves to widen the gap by making sure that we’re always looking out, obviously, for client safety, but that we’re also putting out the very best product out there.”
What is SIM?
SIM, or Subsurface Investigation Methodology, is at the heart of GPRS’ training program, and the guiding force behind our ability to tailor our services to meet your needs.
To become SIM certified, our Project Managers must complete a minimum of 320 hours of field training and 80 hours of classroom training where they encounter real-world scenarios that prepare them for even the most unique concrete scanning, utility locating, and video pipe inspection scenarios that they may encounter. This far exceeds the national standard for certification (ASNT SNT-TC-1A) of a minimum of 8 hours of classroom training and 60 hours of practical application coaching for NDT Level 1.
“When you get hired and you go to the SIM 101 class, you’re trained on the basics of how to mark utilities, how to mark concrete,” Espinal said. “And then when you get out [in the field], it’s just a matter of adapting to the conditions, adapting to the market, and making sure that we’re meeting those high demands. You kind of just know what’s needed to get done, and you obviously have the ability and the tools to seek the best results.”
SIM is more than just a training program for utility locators and concrete scanners. It addresses a step-by-step approach to collecting subsurface data to ensure that the results are repeatable and accurate, which means you get a consistent product regardless of which GPRS Project Manager is assigned to your job.
“The proudest thing for me is the fact that I can send a three, or five-year GPRS veteran out there and they’ll do the best work, but then I can send someone that just started six months ago and it’s very similar as far as a finished product,” Espinal explained. “So, there’s consistency and there’s just the bigger picture of understanding what looks good and what we need to do to get the job done.”
SIM provides our Project Managers the foundation they need to be able to efficiently provide you with accurate, actionable results while also adapting to your specific needs.
“I think that’s one of the biggest perks of working at GPRS is being able to adapt and shift however the market kind of moves us,” Espinal said. “If we’re doing concrete work, we know that the stakes are high and we want to make sure that we’re always prepared, that we’re always doing our best.”
Safety is Our Top Priority
GPRS adheres to SIM because safety is our top concern. We strive to protect your team from the dangers inherent in working around concrete, so that they can leave the jobsite in the same condition they arrived.
Since 2018, GPRS has proudly sponsored Concrete Sawing & Drilling Safety Week (CSDSW) to further our mission of protecting workers from the dangers of coring and cutting concrete.
From January 29 - February 2, 2024, our experts will travel the country visiting jobsites like yours to provide free safety presentations – and breakfast or lunch. From preventing structural damage to protecting themselves from silicosis, your team will learn everything they need to keep themselves and each other safe.
Click below to schedule your presentation today!
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do I need concrete scanning?
There are countless subsurface hazards that need to be accounted for prior to core drilling or saw cutting concrete.
Hitting any of these buried objects could result in tens of thousands of dollars in repair costs, substantial downtime as repairs are conducted, or much worse.
GPRS Concrete Scanning Services prevent costly and potentially dangerous subsurface damage by providing you with a comprehensive picture of the infrastructure embedded within your concrete slab.
Why should I choose GPRS to scan my concrete?
Our Project Managers have achieved and maintained a 99.8%+ accuracy rating for concrete scanning and utility locating jobs. We’re so confident that they’re the best at what they do that we introduced the Green Box Guarantee, which states that when we place a Green Box within a concrete layout prior to you anchoring, cutting, or coring into that slab, we guarantee that area will be free of obstructions.
If we’re wrong, we agree to pay the material cost of the damage.
GPRS Concrete Scanning Services provide you with unparalleled accuracy, and peace of mind.
Can GPR determine the difference between rebar and electrical conduit?
Yes, in most cases, ground penetrating radar can accurately differentiate between rebar and electrical conduit. Additionally, GPRS Project Managers can use electromagnetic (EM) locators to determine the location of conduits in a concrete slab.
The combined use of GPR and EM locating allows us to provide the most comprehensive and accurate conduit locating services available.
Does GPRS have concrete scanning services near me?
Yes! With over 500 Project Managers strategically stationed across every major market in the U.S., GPRS ensures you always have utility locating, concrete scanning, video pipe inspection, leak detection, 3D laser scanning, and mapping & modeling services near you.
Click here to schedule a service or request a quote today!