Trends Spring 2017 - Page 8

Subsurface utility engineering helps locate potential hazards for construction projects By Eric Widholm O ur world is just as busy underground as above ground these days. However, most people fail to appreciate the concealed grid of water and sewer pipes, cables, power lines, and hairline fiber optics until service stops. Then panic usually sets in until the problem is resolved. Developers and contractors should never underestimate what’s underground. Striking utilities during construction usually means: • Interruption of service or data loss • Work delays or stoppage • Lost revenue 8│ TRENDS • Potential for injuries and lawsuits • Bad publicity It’s a blunder no company wants on their record. As a precaution, more federal and state agencies are pushing builders to hire subsurface utility engineering (SUE) firms before construction. SUE blends utility designating and locating, surveying and mapping, and data management to catalog all utilities on a project site. The data provides a meticulous underground look for developers and contractors to plan their work wisely. Ayres Associates, through its acquisition of The Ash Group in Tampa, Florida, has been providing SUE for more than 20 years.