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Utility detection improved through new standard

Improved detection of underground utilities is the aim of a new standard released by the British Standards Institute (BSI).

BSI worked with the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) to develop PAS 128 Specification for underground utility detection, verification and location.

“This PAS sets out the accuracy to which data capture occurs, the quality of the expected data and a means by which to assess and indicate the confidence that can be placed in it,” explained ICE knowledge transfer advisor Richard Armstrong. “With time, education and experience of PAS 128, the result could be increased accuracy of detected utilities and associated records and thus more effective planning and safer execution of street works, civil works, ground works and utility based activities.”

According to BSI, PAS 128 aims to provide a clear and unambiguous provision for those engaged in the detection, verification and location of active, abandoned, redundant or unknown utilities. The organisation has said that the new standard overcomes past issues with accurately locating services, which has pit the safety or workers and the public at risk and also caused delays to construction projects.

BSI has said that a survey conforming to PAS 128 provides an indicator of the presence or absence of underground utilities before conducting further ground investigation prior to breaking ground. The new standard applies to all utility in the top 3m of ground and applies an assessment of the accuracy and quality of the data in order for users to understand the confidence they should have in the results. BSI has said that new standard covers project planning and scoping, classification systems for quality levels, a desktop utility records search and methods for detection, verification and location.

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