The construction field is quite demanding, and each professional or individual involved in the field has to understand the importance of preventing underground damage. This is simply about taking care of the buried utilities when undertaking different types of construction and maintenance projects. No matter how careful you may be, the unexpected happens, and accidental strike on underground utility lines may cause damages

Damage on undergrounds utility lines can lead to costly disruption of essential services, expensive cost, injuries and even loss of life. With many property owners investing in different types of underground utility lines, it has not been easy to prevent underground facility damage. Utility damage prevention has been a significant challenge, and many organisations and individuals are taking the responsibility to keep their underground utility lines in the best condition.

Protecting buried utilities is essential, and every person who uses these assets has to be accountable. Most importantly, those involved have to stress more on the importance of reducing the number of underground utility strikes and damages.


The crucial first step


The first step to keep all underground utility assets in good condition or working as expected is lodging an enquiry at beforeudig website (www.beforeUdig.co.nz). beforeUdig is a FREE online service which enables anyone undertaking excavation works to obtain information on the location of cables, pipes and other utility assets in and around any proposed dig site, helping to protect themselves and valuable assets during these works. In most cases, it provides a ‘one-stop-shop’ for contractors to communicate about their planned activities with member utilities and authorities. Ensure you lodge the enquiry at least 48 hours before you begin your project. 

You also have the ability to request a Locator when you're lodging an enquiry at beforeUdig. The Locator is the professional responsible for marking all the areas where these lines can be found in the worksite. In New Zealand, beforeUdig offers certification for Locators working with asset owners and contractors. The Certification recognises Locators who have demonstrated a high level of understanding and practical expertise that meet industry requirements. Please find out all NZ Certified Locators clicking here

One standard tool used by professionals to locate underground utilities is the electronic locator. This is an exceptional tool made up of a lightweight hand-held receiver and compact transmitter system. It guarantees accurate results and helps easily located buried cables and pipes.

In some cases, you will need the receiving unit that makes it easy to locate television and electrical cable signals. And if you are locating PVC pipes with a tracer wire, the wires will be energised by the transmitter to send a signal that is easily read by the receiver. Your receiver will then process the information and display an estimate of the depth of the utility lines you are working near or excavating.

You can also use the 3M electronic markers that are buried underground with pipes or cables. You can locate this marker with a Subsite 950 receiver tool that comes with an Electronic Marker Locator (EML) that transmits a signal to the buried marker. Furthermore, ground-penetrating radar technology has been adapted for utility line location purposes. However, be cautious about the soil conditions where the lines are located.


Undertaking Soil Excavation


Today you don't have to struggle with locating buried utilities. Soft excavation has changed thanks to the advent of portable vacuum excavators. These are incredible devices that use pressure water or air to dig small potholes to uncover buried utilities.

The good news? Using a vacuum excavator, you don't have to damage the buried pipes or cables a mistake that many people make using backhoes, excavators or any other mechanical tools. Using the vacuum excavators, you can dig deep while picking up displaced soil and use it later to fill up the holes.

In essence, soft excavation causes less damage and reduces disruption of traffic or any activities taking place in a location of choice. It is also a cheap, faster and easier project to undertake. On the other hand, potholing is widely acknowledged and a standard procedure among many contractors and utility locators.

Technology support.

PelicanCorp plays a significant role in preventing damage to underground facilities by providing the best collaborative solutions. The organisation focuses on developing the best software and services that help organisations involved in building, operating, and maintaining utility infrastructures. Moreover, PelicanCorp encourages a shared duty and responsibility when it comes to damage prevention of underground utility.

The organisation has been enlightening the public through educational programs as well as providing necessary information on the importance of preventing underground damage. These initiatives have increased public awareness about the significance of alerting one-call centres before undertaking any construction projects.


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