Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) is a practice used to manage the risks associated with utility mapping, design, coordination, and relocation.
Every year in North America hundreds of thousands of utilities are accidentally struck during work procedures, however, with the aid of SUE this number can be reduced to practically zero.
Utilizing SUE is incredibly important within the construction industry and saves both time and money by ensuring fewer project delays and costly repairs.
What is Subsurface Utility Engineering?
Subsurface utility engineering is aimed at obtaining accurate subsurface utility data at the design stage of projects.
The process begins by outlining the scope, project schedule, and service against the associated risk. It combines field identification activities such as GPR (ground penetrating radar) and electromagnetic equipment, with survey, CADD, and design in order to identify and map existing underground utilities.
SUE is completely non-destructive and allows those carrying out construction activities to ensure that no utilities are damaged as a result of the project.
Applications of SUE
SUE engineers are there to protect underground utilities, ensure the safety of those working on site, along with the continuation of utility services for surrounding residents and businesses.
It is mainly used at the design stage of projects as part of information gathering and asset management. Prior to the commencement of construction, the objective of SUE is to collect accurate utility information within the project area in order to avoid conflict during later stages of construction.
In terms of asset management, SUE is used when there is missing or inaccurate data, and the gathered information is added to the existing database for future reference.
Standards and Quality Levels
In 2003, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) published Standard 38-02 titled Standard Guideline for the Collection and Depiction of Existing Subsurface Utility Data. This outlined various guidelines for the collection and depiction of subsurface utility information.
The four quality levels are as follows:
Quality Level “D” – Information obtained through review of utility owner records.
Quality Level “C” – Information obtained through the identification and survey of surface features. This information is used in correlation with quality level D information.
Quality Level “B” – Information obtained from the use of geophysical survey equipment that searches for utilities. The surface geophysics is interpreted, and the location of the utility is marked on the ground for subsequent survey and review by utility owners.
Quality Level “A” – Information obtained by excavating to expose the utility. Collected data includes the horizontal and vertical location of the utility to within centimetre accuracy, the elevation of existing grade over the utility, as well as the utility’s diameter and material composition.
Concrete core drilling (or concrete coring) is the process of removing a cylinder of concrete from the rest of the structure.
There are many applications across a range of fields, including plumbing, electrical, drainage, manholes, HVAC, and structural testing. Depending on the requirement a range of sizes can be drilled, and we offer the coring of holes up to 18” in diameter, which can drill up to virtually any depth.
What is concrete coring?
Concrete coring utilizes a diamond cutting drill to cut a perfect round hole in any concrete structure. The process is low-noise, dust free and non-percussive, meaning it is the most popular choice when it comes to cutting.
Holes can be drilled at any angle – whether vertical or horizontal, and a choice of electric or hydraulic rigs can be used for drilling in sensitive locations or confined spaces.
How does it work?
A concrete drilling tool is comprised of a diamond cutting end attached to a steel tube. In most case the rig is attached to the floor or surface using an anchor, bolt, or vacuum seal in order to stabilize it.
As the rig drills the cutter is cooled by water in order to reduce friction. The cutting process is completed by the removal of the slug, leaving a perfect hole with no cosmetic damage or requirement for after care.
It is always important to scan the area prior to cutting to ensure that there is in the way of the drill such as rods or conduits. Find out more about concrete scanning HERE.
When is it used?
Coring is used on floors, walls and ceilings whenever there is a requirement for a hole. There are many applications, but in general it is used for utility penetrations.
Core holes are necessary for making way for water pipes, sewer lines, phone lines and computer lines. It is also required for plumbing, electrical wiring, and heating, along with the creation of vaults and manholes.
If you are looking for concrete core drilling services, get in touch today!
Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) is a method for scanning the ground for subsurface objects.
GPR is a non-destructive process with a variety of applications from earth sciences, archaeology, construction, to military.
The process works by sending high-frequency electromagnetic waves into the ground from a transmitting antenna. These waves are then reflected back up to form an image of the subsurface. It can be used across a wide range of materials, including rock, soil, ice, fresh water, pavements and structures.
A Ground Penetrating Radar system consists of a transmitter, a receiver, and a control unit. The transmitting antenna begins by sending electromagnetic waves into the ground, which are then reflected off underground layers and objects.
Reflections are produced whenever the wave enters a material that differs in its conduction properties from the material it left. The receiving antenna then receives the wave reflections and measures the travel time and strength. This is then converted into an accurate image of whatever is below the surface.
A number of factors can be altered depending on the requirement of the process. Changing the frequency of the wave can alter the depth and detail of the scan, therefore antenna choice is one of the most important factors in survey design.
GPR has applications in a number of fields. It can be used in Earth Sciences to study bedrock, soils and groundwater, along with water table profiling.
Most commonly it can be used in engineering applications as a form of non-destructive testing (NDT) on structures and pavements. It can be used for concrete scanning, utility locating, and oil tank locating, to name a few.
Another application lies in archaeology, with the detection and mapping of archaeological features and cemeteries. GPR also has uses in military and law enforcement, for the detection of dangerous objects such as landmines.
For more information on ground penetrating radar and how it can be used, feel free to get in touch!