Utility Surveying

Utility Surveying
(2D topography and 3D utility surveys)

When you’re planning any kind of design or excavation work on a major construction project, gathering detailed subsurface utility information (SUI) is essential. You’ll want to make sure that all site personnel are easily able to identify the locations of any underground utilities on your site.

The best ways to do this is to have a comprehensive utility survey completed, complete with utility locate maps.


2d topographical utility maps provide clear, easy-to-read site maps of the underground services on site where 3D mapping is best viewed via computer or tablet as the all angles of the project can be observed by a simple command. With easy access to all the information they need, designers, excavators and construction managers can save time and money by eliminating the unnecessary risk of an accidental utility strike.

Why do I need to have utility mapping completed?

The consequences of a utility strike can be devastating – for the local community as well as your project. Striking gas pipes could lead to a serious explosion and fatalities; striking an electrical cable could cause serious injuries or fatalities to site crew and cause a major power outage in the area.

Who should use utility mapping?

Anybody planning to break ground should be arranging for a utility mapping survey to be completed before any excavation activities begin. Some of the most common utility mapping users are:

Local Authorities Councils
NSW Government
Sydney Airport
Civil infrastructure design, planning and construction
Sydney Trains Rail
Roads and Maritime RMS
Road networks developments
Industrial, manufacturing and retail
Hospitals and Health NSW
Sydney Water

What’s involved in a utility survey?

Locating underground utilities normally requires a combination of different methods so that you can successfully locate any underground pipes and cables on your excavation site. Geoscope use both electromagnetic and ground penetrating radar locating devices for 3D scanning in combination with the DBYD plans.


Utility Strategy

You need to have a strategy in place to protect any utilities and prevent damage. Ideally, you should be completing risk assessments and creating a strategy throughout the entire project from beginning to end.

It’s your responsibility to communicate this strategy and any outcomes of the risk assessment to your crew. If necessary, based on the risk assessment, you may need to make arrangements with each utility owner in order to disconnect, de-activate, isolate or discontinue the utility service before you begin any work close to the utility location.

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Obtaining Dial Before You Dig (DBYD) plans

You can get hold of information about any underground utilities on your excavation site by submitting a ‘Dial Before You Dig’ request. It’s a free service, and very straightforward to use, but you’ll need to allow 48 hours to receive the plans from the asset owners, so make sure to work that into your project timescales.

Dial Before You Dig is a great starting point to give an indication of the location of any underground utilities on your site. But it is just that, an indication.

Ground Penetrating Radar GPR Service Locating Sydney Geoscope

On-site service detection

Once you have all the DBYD plans, you’ll need to carry out on-site utility detection. This can be done via various methods, but we highly recommend a combination of electromagnetic and ground penetrating radar locating methods.

Both electromagnetic and GPR locating devices should only be used by certified locators like Geoscope technicians.


Physical identification via potholing

Using locating devices is excellent for confirming the existence of pipes and, to some extent, the type of utility. However, in order to meet the highest safety standards you need to follow this up with visual verification. This is normally done via potholing: digging using non-destructive excavation methods in order to expose the utility.

We always advise that potholing is completed on site before you beging digging. Some asset owners do insist that you expose any pipes, cables or other assets before you begin work, so it’s imperative that you check any instructions provided with the DBYD plans.

Planning and consultation to protect utilities

Once you’ve identified and visually confirmed and documented the location of any underground utilities on your site, you’ll need to put together a strategy for ensuring that all work can be completed without disturbing them.

Why choose Geoscope to complete the utility survey?

Geoscope specialise in the detecting the precise location of underground utilities, buried pipes and cables in Sydney and the surrounding areas. Using the latest technology and our vast experience we can locate all traceable underground services, pipes and cables, and various conductive and non-conductive utilities.

For your utility surveying and mapping needs, contact Geoscope – Sydney’s Underground Service Locating Specialist.

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