Underground Utility Surveys

HSG47 guidance recommends than an underground utility detection survey is completed before working on or near to buried services.

Using the latest underground utility detection technology including Stream C, Radio Frequency Location (RFL) and Ground Penetration Radar /Ground Probing Radar (GPR), SOCOTEC is able to locate and provide a clear understanding of all buried services, utilities, metallic pipes, plastic pipes, drainage runs, electric cables, communication and fibre optic cables. In fact, utility tracing can be completed for just about any underground utilities.

Typically, our underground utility detection surveys are completed to The Survey Association Level 4 or BSI PAS128 specifications. Other service specification levels are available on request to meet demands. Survey results can be provided in a range of formats to meet your project requirements.

Benefits of using SOCOTEC's underground utility detection surveys include:

  • Reduced exposure to buried hazards
  • Non-intrusive survey - minimises disruption
  • Desk study / statutory service provider searches
  • NVQ trained and experienced staff
  • Latest survey equipment and software
  • Surveys to PAS 128 or TSA standards available

We can find virtually all underground utilities with the exception of non-metallic utilities using a RFL survey, conducted by our trained surveyors. Extending this method by the addition of Stream C and GPR surveys will add the detection of non-metallic pipes and cables, and complete the full underground utility detection survey, providing our clients with an accurate record of all underground utility depths and locations.

Stream C

Stream C is a real-time 3D mapping tool, used to detect underground utilities and features. With 34 antennas in two polarisations, the Stream C produces a real-time 3D reconstruction of the underground network in a single scan.

Stream C facilitates large surveys through its towing-kit, or smaller surveys due to its compact size. With automatic pipe detection, surveys only need to be performed in one direction which improves productivity and efficiency in underground utility detection.

Radio Frequency Location (RFL)

RFL is a conventional technology behind utility detection surveys, and the tools used by SOCOTEC are the most advanced form of what most people know as “CAT & Genny” (Cable Avoidance Tool & Signal Generator).

Utilising RFL in our underground utility detection surveys means SOCOTEC has the ability to detect underground utilities such as:

  • Electricity cables 
  • Communication cables 
  • Telecommunication cables (metallic) 
  • Cable TV cables 
  • Metallic water pipes 
  • Metallic gas pipes 
  • Metallic fuel pipes 
  • Metallic vent pipes

Ground Penetration Radar / Ground Probing Radar (GPR survey)

GPR surveys are used to locate buried objects which are foreign to the surrounding environment. The main advantage to using this technology is that it can identify changes or interfaces between different media below ground. Although no indication is given as to the detected object’s material, and only general indications of size can be determined, this method is invaluable in obtaining information relating to the (previously invisible) underground environment.

Utilising GPR in our underground utility detection surveys means SOCOTEC has the ability to detect underground utilities such as:

  • Fibre optic cables 
  • Plastic water pipes 
  • Plastic gas pipes 
  • Plastic cable ducts 
  • Plastic fuel pipes 
  • Plastic vent pipes 
  • Concrete pipes 
  • Clay pipes

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