GPRS Conducts Utility Locates, Concrete Imaging for 535-acre Redevelopment

GPRS Conducts Utility Locates, Concrete Imaging for 535-acre Redevelopment

A trio of GPRS Project Managers are helping keep a massive, multi-stage redevelopment project in North Carolina on time, on budget, and safe.

Project Managers Sean Evans, Heath Keller, and David Terrill have located utilities and conducted precision concrete scanning & imaging across the 535-acre property in Charlotte, North Carolina, where an office park with minimal walkable space is being reimagined into a unique, community-friendly environment featuring retail, townhomes, apartments, trails, greenspace, an 8-acre park, and a 2,000-seat amphitheater.

(From left to right) GPRS Project Managers David Terrill, Heath Keller, and Sean Evans.

“This is the biggest project any of us have been a part of,” Keller said. “And that’s saying a lot, because Sean and Dave have been doing this a lot longer than I have, and this is the biggest for them too.”

Terrill and Evans performed the initial utility locates on the property back in 2021, and Keller joined the project as the scope continued to expand. While the project site was primarily an office park previously, there was also a golf course on the property. Because of this, many of the utilities the Project Managers located were related to the irrigation system that kept the fairways green.

Aerial view of a large, urban redevelopment.
This large redevelopment project in Charlotte, North Carolina has benefited from GPRS' concrete scanning and utility locating services.

“I’ve never seen an irrigation main that large before, but it makes sense for a golf course,” Keller said.

“The biggest challenge was staying hydrated, and staying limber,” Evans added. “It was a lot of walking. It was a lot of hills. Then we transitioned from the hills to an urban area that runs along the golf course, around a hotel and other buildings. And then there was a wooded area, and there was a giant creek running through there. There was a lot of different terrain, but we broke it up into sections and that’s how we were able to get it knocked out.”

GPRS primarily utilizes two technologies to conduct a utility locate: ground penetrating radar (GPR) and electromagnetic (EM) locating.

A GPRS Project Manager uses a ground penetrating radar scanner to locate utilities
Ground penetrating radar (GPR) is one of GPRS' primary tools for conducting utility locating services.

A GPR utility locating device looks like a push mower equipped with off-road wheels; the scanner itself is attached to a four-wheel cart that is rugged enough to tackle even the toughest terrain.

As a utility locating professional pushes the GPR scanner through a property, the unit sends radio waves into the soil below. Those waves interact with any subsurface obstructions they encounter – both metallic and non-metallic – and those interactions are picked up by the GPR unit and displayed in a readout as a series of hyperbolas varying in size and length depending on what was located.  

GPRS Project Managers are specially trained to interpret these readings to determine what type of objects were located, and then map those findings so that contractors and excavators know where it’s safe to dig – and more importantly, where breaking ground could have devastating consequences.

A GPRS Project Manager uses an electromagnetic (EM) locator.
Electromagnetic (EM) locating compliments ground penetrating radar (GPR) scanning when conducting utility locates.

To compliment the GPR findings, our PMs also use EM locators. These devices detect the electromagnetic signals radiating from metallic pipes and cables. These signals can be created by the locator’s transmitter applying current to the pipe, or from current flow in a live electrical cable. They can also result from a conductive pipe acting as an antenna and re-radiating signals from stray electrical fields (detected by the EM locator functioning in Power Mode) and communications transmissions (Radio Mode).

Terrill, Keller, and Evans used GPR and EM locating in concert to fully map the Charlotte development’s existing utilities so that they could be avoided during groundbreaking activities related to the new construction.  

The average cost to repair a damaged utility is $56,000, and it typically takes 2-3 months to complete the repair. By following the law and contacting your local 811 service to provide you with the approximate location of any public utilities in your job site, and then contacting a private utility locating company like GPRS to fully map your subsurface infrastructure, you avoid these costly and potentially dangerous incidents.

When it's complete, this large redevelopment project will feature retail, townhomes, apartments, trails, greenspace, an 8-acre park, and a 2,000-seat amphitheater.

As new restaurants, shops, and other structures were built, and others renovated as part of the Charlotte redevelopment, GPRS started providing concrete scanning services to ensure cutting and coring activities could be completed safely.

A hand holds a ground penetrating radar concrete scanning unit.
The state-of-the-art ground penetrating radar (GPR) units that GPRS Project Managers use for concrete scanning are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, meaning they can be used to scan difficult-to-reach sections of concrete slabs.

GPR is the primary tool for this type of precision concrete imaging. Unlike a utility locating unit, our concrete scanning GPR antennas are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. This allows us to scan even hard-to-reach sections of a concrete slab to provide you with a complete picture of its subsurface infrastructure.

Concrete scanning is the successor to the older concept of concrete X-ray. Unlike X-ray, GPR emits no harmful radiation, it only requires access to one side of a slab, and scans can be completed quickly without the need for lengthy set-up time.

Hiring a professional concrete scanning company like GPRS is an essential step to take prior to cutting or coring concrete, because we can ensure you can complete these activities without damaging any buried conduits, post-tension cable, rebar, or other subsurface objects.  

A single damaged PT cable costs upwards of $20,000 to repair or replace, and as with a utility strike there’s considerable downtime involved in that repair project. And damaging one of these cables or severing an electrical conduit can also endanger the lives of your workers or anyone else in the area.

Because the contractors involved in the redevelopment project in Charlotte continue to utilize GPRS’ utility locating and concrete scanning services, they’re able to ensure that their schedules and their budgets remain intact, and their people leave the job site in the same condition they arrived.

GPRS is proud to help Intelligently Visualize The Built World® on projects of all shapes and sizes.  

What can we help you visualize? Click the links below to schedule a service or request a quote today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Does ground penetrating radar (GPR) have any limitations?

GPR is highly effective at locating subsurface utilities and other materials buried underground or within a concrete slab. It does, however, have certain limitations. Performing locating services on suboptimal ground and soil conditions, inclement weather, and the material of the object being located are just a few potential limiting factors. We can provide alternative recommendations if conditions are unsuitable for GPR scanning.

What do I get when GPRS performs a utility locate?

Our Project Managers flag and paint our findings directly on the surface they’ve investigated. This method of communication is the most accurate form of marking when excavation is expected to commence within a few days of service.

GPRS also uses a global positioning system (GPS) to collect data points of findings. We use this data to generate a plan, KMZ file, satellite overlay, or CAD file to permanently preserve results for future use.  

Additionally, when you hire GPRS to perform a utility locate you receive a complimentary SiteMap® Personal subscription. SiteMap® (patent pending) is GPRS’ industry-leading, cloud-based infrastructure mapping software where you can view, store, and securely share your vital facility data with your team, eliminating mistakes caused by miscommunication and bad data.  

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What are the benefits of concrete scanning?

There are many benefits to utilizing concrete scanning services in your next project. Taking precautions like concrete scanning or utility locating can help keep your project on time, on budget, and safe by helping you avoid costly and potentially dangerous subsurface damage.

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