How GPRS Plays a Role in Subsurface Utility Engineering

Subsurface utility engineering (SUE) is defined as an engineering practice used in utility design and relocation. SUE processes are intended to manage the risk associated with underground utility work, including mapping, coordination, assessment, design, and more. Data is collected according to four different quality levels. Each level can be assessed independently or can build upon the previous level’s data.

What level of SUE Quality does GPRS provide?

GPRS provides services at SUE quality level B, as described below. This service can be provided either independently or in conjunction with other professionals and quality levels. Our highly skilled project managers undergo a rigorous training program which enables them to locate buried utilities with precision and accuracy. Non-destructive ground scanning equipment including ground penetrating radar is used to scan the surface of an area where utilities may be located. Project managers assess the readings taken and use this information to mark out or map any underground utilities. Both vertical and horizontal readings are taken during this process in order to provide the most accurate information possible.

What are the quality levels for Subsurface Utility Engineering?

The four levels of subsurface utility engineering data quality are:

Level D: For level D, all recorded data related to the utilities in question is collected and compiled into a drawing. The data can be collected from a physical inspection of the site as well as digital or paper records. Level D data may also include a web search or conversations with those familiar with a utility site. It’s common for information at this level to be inaccurate or difficult to come by. For this reason, Level D is the lowest SUE quality level.

Level C: This next level builds upon the information compiled in quality Level D, adding in the process of site survey. A survey is taken of visible utility components, such as manhole covers or transformers. Existing surveys are also verified for accuracy. It is not unusual for the information from Level C to conflict with previously collected Level D data.

Level B: Quality Level B uses the services of both public utility locators such as 811, and private utility locators such as GPRS. These highly trained and specialized locators use ground penetrating radar and similar scanning tools to collect more accurate data regarding the location of buried utilities. This information can be added to Levels C & D to provide a deeper utility analysis to the investigation.

Level A: This fourth level of SUE is the most in-depth. Level A requires survey-grade precision, and a team of professionals including a surveyor and engineer in order to accurately identify subsurface utilities. Test holes are used to uncover a utility’s exact location in a non-destructive process commonly known as ‘potholing’. Potholing visually exposes the top or side of a buried utility.

If you’re looking for a SUE quality level B contractor, contact your local GPRS project manager today! Our skilled team members can quickly and accurately help you find the location of buried underground utilities on your job site.