Before starting any construction project, locating utilities is an absolute must. Without assessing your future construction site for utilities, you can hit water, gas, sewer, or even telecommunications underground. Hitting utilities can make your project exponentially more expensive and time-consuming, but depending on where you’re digging, you could have a lot of angry neighbors on your hands. So, before you start digging, here are some construction tips so you can avoid a utility catastrophe.
Call & Double Check
Call your state’s one-call office and give them the location you want to start digging. A contractor will come out and mark the existing utilities for you. These contractors do an excellent job of locating the existing pipes and lines underground.
However, interference could make their markings less accurate, they typically precise with their markings, but could be within 6-inches of a utility line. A one-call contractor may also not be able to find privately owned lines.
Understand Locating Methods
Utility lines underground give off a charge or transmit a signal, just like a radio station. With the two different methods of locating utilities underground, active and passive, it’s possible to find most of the utilities under your proposed construction site. Active locating is searching for a specific line, using a direct connection or inductive method if a direct connection isn’t possible. Passive locating can tell you how many utility lines are present underground, but won’t distinguish the type of utility.
Assess Ground Conditions
Ground conditions will have an impact on how clear the signals from your underground utilities are and therefore will tell you how accurate your readings will be. Wet soil and clay terrain are very conductive and will give you the strongest signal. Dry soil, like sand, doesn’t conduct as well and may give you an unclear reading. If you’re working in dry soil like dirt, you can pour water around where you plan to test for utilities, and that will increase the accuracy of your readings. In sandy soil, you must make a direct connection with utilities or use a higher frequency to detect utilities.
Utility Locating Services with Concrete Visions
Concrete Visions has over 12 years of experience and expertise in utility locating and we know how to detect any problems lurking beneath the surface. We use ground penetrating radar accurately and expertly and are familiar with many other methods that can be used when appropriate like concrete x-ray and electromagnetic conductivity. We are also very familiar with the latest construction safety techniques and train all of our workers to do their work quickly, accurately, and safely. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you, give us a call at (410) 766-2210 or visit us online. For more articles and tips, follow us on Facebook, Twitter,LinkedIn, and Google+.