The Benefits of Utility Location and Detection in 2021

The Benefits of Utility Location and Detection in 2021
January 28, 2021 admin

With the Federal Government’s commitment to inject even more funding into infrastructure and accelerate Australia’s economic recovery from COVID19, the civil and construction industry in our country shows no signs of slowing down. The $110 billion budget over the next 10 years is great news for our industry but it also means that safety and mitigating risk is more important than ever.

Protecting our critical infrastructure is a vital part of risk management for any project large or small. The Association of Australian Dial Before You Dig Services estimate that there are 740,000 kilometres of underground assets across the country that are worth over $340 billion. Any damage or strikes to these assets can be extremely dangerous and very expensive.

Unfortunately, infrastructure damage and utility strikes are still far too common in our state. As recently as 2017, Dial Before You Dig and iSeekPlant reported 6,594 incidents of infrastructure in Queensland in just 9 months. That averages to over 700 incidents a month!

84.5% of these were caused by construction and mechanical or manual excavation with the three most common types of resulting damage being water main flooding, gas pipe explosion, and telecommunications disruption.

Not only are these dangerous and costly to fix, but many of these incidents were likely avoidable if utility location and detection specialists (like Electroscan 😉) were engaged during the planning process.

Regardless of the size of your project, utility location and detection can add value and benefit your project.

Here are the top reasons why you should engage professionals to locate and map any subsurface utilities or assets for your next project this year:

  1. Safety for your workers

Construction has the 4th highest rate of work-related fatalities and 3rd highest rate of serious workers compensation claims of any industry in Queensland according to WorkSafe QLD’s 2018-2019 report. Mitigate unnecessary risk associated with utility strikes and damage to underground assets by ensuring you know where dangerous and conductive assets are before you break ground.

  1. Prevent project delays

A utility strike or damage to underground services or assets usually means that work needs to be immediately put on pause. This will likely push out your project delivery date as you are forced to put the next phase of work on hold and redirect resources to damage control. This may even have domino effect on other projects if you’re a smaller business with a pipeline of planned work.

  1. Avoid budget blowouts

Utility strikes are costly for everyone involved. The direct costs of repairing the damage alone include labour, additional design work, traffic management and diversion of existing services. There are also other costs to consider such as compensation or fines, insurance excess and increased premiums, potential legal fees and if there has been contamination to the environment, there may be ongoing costs to rehabilitate it.

US studies by the Federal Highway Administration and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation have separately found that the ROI through project cost savings for every dollar spend on subsurface utility location and engineering to be $4.62 and $11.39 respectively.

  1. Create efficiencies in the design and construction process

The time and money saved by having valuable information on the location, position and in some cases, condition of subsurface utilities allows for a more streamlined process from design through to construction. By incorporating this into the planning phase early on, consideration can be given to any identifiable utilities and assets and unplanned incidents can be minimised.

  1. Protect your reputation

Beyond the immediate physical damage, utility strikes and subsurface infrastructure damage can also be a serious risk to the reputation of your business. You may lose the trust of your clients, and if there is a disruption to public services, you may end up with a PR nightmare. Protect your business and invest in getting all of your worksites scanned for underground utilities upfront.

Why take the risk?

There is so much technology available these days to detect and locate underground critical infrastructure and other utilities or assets that there really should not be any reason for any construction or building company (big or small) to go in blind.

Technologies such as Electromagnetic Induction, Ground Penetrating Radar and CCTV cameras can help find both conductive and non-conductive assets buried underground or in concrete without uncovering the whole worksite or surface.

As 2021 begins, make sure you are fully prepared for your projects this year and avoid unnecessary risk. At Electroscan, we can help you interpret and verify DBYD plans, confirm the location of any assets that may have moved over time, and find other underground or subsurface assets that may not be documented in the plans so there are no unexpected surprises once construction commences. Contact us for all of your professional utility location and detection needs

Electroscan offers utility detection, location and mapping services across Queensland to support all of your subsurface utility engineering needs. Electroscan’s highly skilled team of detection and location specialists use a comprehensive range of innovative technologies and surveying techniques to deliver certainty and help manage risks for your projects.

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