What does an underground utility locator do?

Working with a private utility locator

When it comes time to begin construction and excavation work, even the most experienced contractor may consider subsurface utilities and other buried materials to be low priority. Yet locating them is one of the most important aspects of creating a safe work environment, and allowing work to continue on budget and on schedule.

Which utilities are considered private?

Before digging or drilling in an area it’s important to find out what lies beneath the surface. This applies whether the project is commercial, industrial, or residential. Contacting an underground utility locator is the first step in figuring this out. “Call before you dig” services are useful in locating public utilities, but fail to locate private underground utilities. Private utility locating contractors are able to locate all underground utilities and buried materials- whether publicly or privately owned.

Examples of private underground utilities include:

  • Septic systems
  • Sprinkler and other irrigation lines
  • Exterior electrical lines
  • Internet cable
  • Fiber optics
  • Gas mains

How a private utility locator will assess your site

After scheduling a visit with a local private utility locator, their first step will be to assess the site. If conditions are suitable for scanning, a trained utility locator will use equipment such as ground penetrating radar and other scanning tools to detect the location of all buried utilities. Locations are carefully marked out or mapped to ensure that you’re able to steer clear of them while performing any sort of excavation or exploratory work.

How are private utility locators trained?

The safety, schedule, and budget of your job may lie in the hands of a properly conducted underground utility locate. A utility locating specialist such as GPRS spends many months training their project managers, using hands-on experiences and specifications such as Subsurface Investigation Methodology (SIM). SIM is a specially developed plan detailing all components of accurate underground utility locating. It includes proper training, a thorough understanding of the equipment used, and adherence to proven practices. This thorough three-step approach ensures that each locate provides the best possible results for your project.

Detection of underground utilities is critical in preventing injury or even death caused by hitting a utility, as well as costly and time-consuming repairs. Keep your project safe, on time, and on budget by calling your local private utility locator today!

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