Civil engineers are labouring under the shortcomings of old technology because of a lack of re-education in advances in surveying technology.
This is the stark warning from 40Seven managing director Peter Bevils, who believes many civil engineers are still relying on knowledge gained years ago.
'Engineers are unaware of the advances in technology and the increase in the level of services running through the ground.' Four years ago manufacturers of surveying equipment spotted an opening in a market that was stalling under the prevalence large, slow apparatus, which was challenging to use and difcult to manoeuvre.
Bevils explains that in 2002 technology was launched that began a revolution in surveying techniques.
'It has been a fast-developing industry over the past couple of years, especially with radar systems, ' says Bevils. 'Radar manufacturers realised an opportunity to design a product that can quickly locate pipes and cables buried beneath the surface.' He claims that ground penetrating radar is the like the mobile phone: 'You never knew you needed it until you had it.
Once you have it, you can't live without it.' 40Seven has pro ted from the boom in technology, claiming growth of 50% a year.
However, the civil engineering industry has been slow to react, with much of 40Seven's business coming from the telecommunications industry rather than construction.
There are great advantages to a well surveyed site, explains Bevils, with accidents - especially burns - reduced by a clear knowledge of the location of utilities. Insurance premiums drop because the site is now lower risk.
The new radar equipment is also easier to use, he claims.
Although some groups have lobbied Ofcom to impose licence requirements, Bevils claims that these are just 'ies in the ointment', adding 'they are old operators trying to protect their high salaries'.