Subsurface Utility Engineering

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Master Locators' Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) support services provide professionals in the A/E/C industry with accurate mapping information of the existing underground utilities associated with their projects.

Implementing Subsurface Utility Engineering early on in the design phase of a project virtually eliminates costs associated with project delays and change orders due to unexpected encounters with underground utilities.

For utility mapping, Master Locators uses geophysical equipment, including a fleet of state-of-the-art ground penetrating radar systems, which detect metallic and non-metallic underground objects, including: utilities, storage tanks, sinkholes, voids, buried artifacts, land mines and graves.

For utility locating, which involves physically exposing the underground utility for critical vertical measurement data, Master Locators utilizes both Hydro-Vac trucks or Air-Vac trucks. Vacuum excavation virtually eliminates the risk of damaging underground utilities and is especially useful in areas of high utility congestion or in confined spaces.

There are four recognized quality levels of underground utility information. These enable project owners to determine the level of information and accuracy they require for their project.

Underground Utility Quality

Quality Level D: Record Research/Data Collection

At this level, information is derived from records research or oral history. The D level of service can provide a “feel” for the overall congestion of utilities, but is often limited in terms of comprehensiveness and accuracy.

Quality Level C: Visible Surface Feature Utility Survey

At Level C, utility surface feature data is obtained from surveying and plotting aboveground utility features. Level C data supplements Level D data and finds omissions and errors in record information.

Quality Level B: Utility Designation

Designation data is collected by thorough applications of appropriate surface geophysical equipment. Located utilities are marked and mapped onto plan documents.

Quality Level A: Underground Utility Locating (Test Hole)

For this highest confidence level, precise horizontal and vertical locations of utilities are obtained using nondestructive vacuum excavation to safely expose, measure and map utilities. Level A includes all other quality level tasks and conflict resolution.

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