When conducting a SUE Level 1 investigation, an underground utility must be visually located – via potholing or a similar method.
SUE or Subsurface Utility Engineering has long been the standard of care for contractors and owners who require a thorough and detailed picture of their subsurface infrastructure.
SUE combines engineering, surveying, geophysics, and often, technologies like vacuum excavation (also called daylighting or potholing). SUE is a proactive process that helps owners understand risks early on in a project cycle. While this process is thorough and detailed in its output, it can be cost prohibitive and destroy your schedule due to the amount of time it takes to complete.
The precision needed for a SUE Level 1 investigation requires a lot of time – and a lot of money. As-built drawings and recollections from site contacts are not reliable methods of locating a utility. As-builts are often outdated, leaving you guessing and daylighting utilities to confirm their location. The process ends up taking extra time because test hole after test hole must be opened until the utility is exposed.
Working from outdated records and memory is not without problems. According to the Common Ground Alliance’s 2022 DIRT Report, 59% of the damages in the excavation practices root cause group point specifically to a failure to maintain clearance and/or failure to pothole.
The consequences of inefficient or ineffective SUE investigations aren’t just felt by your wallet. While a single utility strike can cost approximately $56,000 in repair costs and downtime, the bigger risk is to the safety of your workers and to the surrounding community.
What if there was a more efficient and cost-effective way to gain the same precision required for Subsurface Utility Engineering Level 1 Investigations?
GPRS uses SUE Level 2-equivalent methodology and equipment to locate underground utilities with an accuracy rate of 99.8%. While we don’t conduct SUE work ourselves, our services allow a SUE Level 1 investigation to be performed more efficiently, eliminating the need to waste thousands of dollars on exploratory potholing.
With GPRS field markings and utility mapping performed prior to the daylighting, the responsible party will now be able to place the vacuum excavator directly on the buried utility. This will limit the amount of time needed to locate all underground assets – which will ultimately save precious funding for the actual project at hand.
GPRS’ utility locating and utility mapping services provide a more efficient and cost-effective alternative to extensive potholing that keeps your project on time, on budget, and most importantly, safe.
How GPRS Conducts Utility Locates and Utility Mapping
GPRS’ main tool when conducting a utility locate is ground penetrating radar, or GPR. This non-destructive detection and imaging technology uses radio waves to penetrate the ground and detect both metallic and non-metallic subsurface objects.
Using GPR, as well as electromagnetic (EM) locators, GPRS Project Managers can locate electrical conduit, steam pipes, telecommunication lines, gas & oil lines, water lines, sewer & storm pipes, and more.
The data we collect about your subsurface infrastructure is then instantly uploaded into SiteMap® (patent pending), our industry-leading, cloud-based utility mapping solution. SiteMap® is powered by GPRS’ 99.8% accurate utility locating and concrete scanning data, our millimeter-accurate 3D laser scans, interactive NASSCO-certified video pipe inspection reports, pinpoint leak detection information, and our unique ability to layer, map, and incorporate ALL that data to give you comprehensive plan views, CAD drawings, or fully integrated above and below ground 3D BIM models and walkthroughs of any part of your site, campus, or facility.
You can learn more about SiteMap® and sign up for your complimentary Personal SiteMap® subscription here.
The GPRS Difference
In the hands of a GPRS Project Manager, GPR and EM locating provide a comprehensive view of the subsurface infrastructure on your jobsite, facility, or campus.
That’s because our Project Managers are trained using the Subsurface Investigation Methodology, or SIM.
Every one of our Project Managers are required to become SIM certified, which means completing 320 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 and utility locating challenges they may encounter in the field. This is what allows us to offer services accurate and efficient enough to support SUE work.
Click here to learn more about how SIM powers the GPRS Difference.
From skyscrapers to sewer lines, GPRS Intelligently Visualizes The Built World® to keep your projects on time, on budget, and safe.
What can we help you visualize? Click the links below to schedule a service or request a quote today.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does GPRS perform SUE work?
GPRS provides private utility locating and utility mapping services that support SUE investigations, but it is important to note that GPRS does not provide engineering services. If you need professional engineering services, please contact a professional engineer.
What does potholing mean in construction?
Potholing, also known as daylighting, involves digging a holes to visually confirm the presence of utility lines, and/or water or sewer pipes. These potholes are usually executed using hydro-excavation or air-excavation.
What are the disadvantages of potholing?
With an average cost of $2,000 to $5,000, potholing is easily the costliest method of locating buried utilities. And if you’re relying on out-of-date and inaccurate as-builts to give you a vague idea of where to pothole, you’re likely going to waste thousands of dollars on holes that aren’t anywhere close to the buried line.
What are the benefits of underground utility mapping?
Mapping your subsurface infrastructure saves you time and money during construction, repair, and regular maintenance projects. By knowing exactly where every utility is located, you avoid having to waste time on excessive potholing. And of course, accurate subsurface infrastructure information helps mitigate subsurface damage during groundbreaking activities.
Does GPRS offer same day private utility locating?
Yes, in many cases, our professional Project Managers can respond rapidly to emergency same-day private utility locating service calls on your job site. With over 500 Project Managers strategically stationed across every major market in the U.S., GPRS always offers our industry-leading utility locating services near you.