Establishing the location of buried utilities within a project area is critical to developing options for construction, and managing risk related to utility coordination, utility accommodation and utility relocation. That’s where Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) comes in.
We used to rely on disparate data to gain an understanding of subsurface assets. Whenever a change would occur, the area would be re-surveyed and data would be stored in various formats. By applying Subsurface Utility Engineering, we’ve created a database of high quality data that can be used by future contractors for years to come.
SUE is an engineering practice governed by CI/ASCE 38-02 Standard Guideline for the Collection and Depiction of Existing Subsurface Utility Data, that provides a framework for evaluating the integrity of data based on four Quality Levels (Quality Levels D, C, B & A), dramatically improving information reliability. multiVIEW Locates has been carrying out Subsurface Utility Engineering investigations for almost three decades, since before it was a recognized practice in Ontario.
How Does Subsurface Utility Engineering work?
The process involves collecting existing utility records, applying geophysical methods to determine the presence of subsurface utilities and then leveraging techniques such as Vacuum Excavation and Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) to verify their horizontal and vertical position. Even non-toneable underground assets including PVC or concrete pipes can be located.
Once captured, information is digitally mapped and delivered alongside a utility conflict matrix that makes it easy to evaluate and compare collected utility information with proposed plans.
Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) is a process that applies four Quality Levels to gather precise information on underground utilities within a project site. This information reduces surprises at later stages of a project related to utility relocation and coordination.
As part of our SUE services, multiVIEW can inspect and evaluate the internal conditions of sanitary sewers and residential service lines while capturing images in real-time. We’ll zoom in on anomalies, navigate around bends, and inspect lateral services. Whether it’s a crack, root obstruction, cross bore, break or other issue, we’ll identify the problem quickly. Just a few of the things that we’re able to inspect and assess include: inflow and infiltration performance, blockages and accumulation of solids, structural defects in pipes and maintenance holes including cracks, breaks, sags, internal corrosion and leak areas, misplaced line valves, undersized pipes, drainage issues, changes to the pipes pre or post construction, potentially hazardous intersecting utilities.
When should SUE be applied?
SUE can be applied anytime information regarding underground utilities is required and the scope can vary greatly. It’s an integral part of the engineering design phase for capital works projects, allowing stakeholders to avoid unexpected conflicts later on in the project. SUE is also leveraged to assist with asset management, supplying accurate information to project owners with outdated or missing information on their underground assets.
SUE is most effective at minimizing project risk when Quality Levels D, C and B are carried out as an integrated program. Quality Level A investigations are required when depth data must be obtained to achieve project goals.
Our team of CAD experts consolidate all collected field data to create high quality drawings that are CI/ASCE 38-02 compliant and customized to conform to project specifications.
By incorporating SUE into your project, you can:
- Reduce delays and costs associated with utility relocation or project redesign
- Enhance safety and reduce the risk of damaging utilities
- Effectively design around existing utilities as necessary
- Decrease service disruptions
- Achieve an up-to-date, consolidated record of subsurface utilities within your project area(s)