Frequently Asked Questions

What is utility resilience or utility system resilience?

At the most basic, resilience for utilities means the uninterrupted continuation of service. Knowing the location of existing utilities and the potential impacts due to construction is critical to avoiding utility impacts. That’s one reason utility system records are kept and construction permitting requirements exist. When those aren’t integrated or up to date, there can be problems. Subsurface Utility Engineering services can provide precise utility location data.

What is a digital twin?

A digital twin is a dynamic, virtual representation of a physical asset, product, process, or system. It digitally models the properties, condition, and attributes of the real-world counterpart. A digital twin uses data from connected sensors to tell the story of an asset all the way through its life-cycle. A digital twin for horizontal utility infrastructure starts with a realistic and robust 3D model. T2 Utility Engineers can provide these models for incorporation into digital twins.

What is a utility survey?

The surveying of above and below ground utility elements or markings.

What major activities are involved in Subsurface Utility Engineering?

Major SUE activities are:

  1. Scope of Work –The process of developing a written project-specific work plan that considers the requirements of the client’s project in order to manage risks that utilities may present during design and construction. The SUE work plan package is agreed upon by the SUE provider and the client, describing the SUE work to be performed.
  2. Designating –The process of using a surface geophysical method or methods to interpret the presence of a subsurface utility and mark its approximate horizontal position on the ground surface or on above-ground surface markers.
  3. Test holes –The process of exposing and recording the precise vertical and horizontal location and providing utility size and configuration of a utility.
  4. Data Management –The process of surveying, designating, and locating information to project control and transferring it into the client’s CADD system, GIS files, or project plans.
  5. Data analysis /Professional Review – The results of the investigation are reviewed by a professional to review the data, interpret the results and use professional judgment to apply the standard.
  6. Deliverables – May include project-specific cad standards for drawings, 3D models, photo reports, and an engineering report signed and sealed by the responsible engineer.
  7. Conflict Analysis –The engineering process of using a conflict matrix to evaluate and compare depicted designating information with proposed plans (highway, bridge, drainage, and other) in order to inform all stakeholders of potential conflicts, potential resolutions, and costs to remedy.

What are the Benefits of using Subsurface Utility Engineering?

SUE provides benefit across the project lifecycle. Proper use of this cost-effective professional engineering service will mitigate many of the utility problems typically encountered on projects, including:

  1. Reduces delays to project schedule caused by waiting for utility relocation work to be completed so construction can begin;
  2. Reduces delays to projects caused by redesign when original design is not constructible due to unexpected utility conflicts;
  3. Reduces delays to contractors during construction caused by cutting, damaging, or discovering utility lines that were not known to be there;
  4. Reduces claims by contractors for delays resulting from unexpected encounters with utilities;
  5. Reduces property damage, injuries, interruption of service, and environmental releases caused by cutting or damaging utility lines that were unknown or not properly documented.

What is utility mapping or SUE mapping?

Utility maps show the location, position, depth, and identification of the infrastructure, such as pipes, cables, lines, typically referring to buried or underground utility mapping. Because these utilities are not visible, they create significant risks to construction. As a result, engineering standards and best practices have been developed to improve the reliability of information. T2 Utility Engineers conduct utility investigations recommending the appropriate Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) tools and techniques to identify, designate and locate utilities so project designers have the information to reduce utility-related risks.

What is a utility report?

A utility report is a professionally sealed deliverable, meaning a licensed PE or PLS reviews and approves it, that:

  • Contains information about the utility investigation that might not otherwise be conveyed;
  • Details the complete scope of work of the utilities being investigated;
  • Assists the end-user in understanding the subsurface utility information and risks;
  • Provides recommendations to address any data deficiencies
  • Complements the graphical deliverables of the utility mapping

What is a professionally sealed (stamped) deliverable?

Professionally sealed deliverables mean the information has been reviewed and is approved by a qualified and licensed professional engineer or surveyor who is in good standing with the licensing requirements of the specific state. To be professionally registered, the person must meet the education, experience requirements set by the State Board. There are legal obligations related to the requirement.

How does T2ue support Alternative Delivery projects?

By providing horizontal and vertical utility location information, conflict analysis and resolution, and professional utility insight, T2ue services add value by reducing risk through all phases of project design and construction. T2ue provides Subsurface Utility Engineering, utility coordination, and surveying consulting services for project owners or developers.

What does a Utility Coordinator do?

The Utility Coordinator is the person(s) on a project team who acts as the liaison between the project owner, project designer, and the utility owners for the project. The responsibilities can vary greatly depending on the project and the scope, but include;

  • Document review
  • Identify and contact utility owners
  • Verify existing utility facilities (type, material, configuration)
  • Integrate the legal requirements for each utility by location
  • Determine additional SUE information needed
  • Provide / process agreements
  • Field reviews/conflict analysis
  • Propose design alternatives to mitigate impacts
  • Mitigation / relocation negotiation
  • Relocation management
  • Finalize / certify project for construction
  • Ongoing coordination across the duration of the project

What is a utility conflict matrix?

A Utility conflict matrix is the document that identifies the relevant information about all of the utilities that have been identified within the project footprint. The document serves as a tool to track the status of the utilities in relation to the design, including; no conflict, potential conflict, conflict, owner, utility type, size, location, assessment, relocation required, actions, resolution.

What is a utility conflict analysis?

Utility conflict analysis is the process of evaluating and understanding the nature and requirements of each utility or structure within the project footprint in order to recommend a solution. A conflict matrix is typically used to evaluate and compare depicted designating information with proposed project plans to inform stakeholders of potential conflicts, potential resolutions, costs related to the various options, and the status of each utility.

Can T2ue locate more than just utilities?

We frequently consult on projects where the goal is to locate all kinds of underground structures, utilities or otherwise. We usually employ advanced geophysical techniques, including Ground Penetrating Radar and Multi-Channel Ground Penetrating Radar to perform this type of work. These scanning tools allow us to collect data across the entire project area in an efficient and detailed manner. Once the data is collected it is processed and interpreted back in the office to generate a comprehensive image of the subsurface environment.

Many times our efforts prove essential as we have located unexpected subsurface anomalies like protruding basements, concrete footings, abandoned infrastructure, train tracks, and more. All of these have the potential to cause major disruption. By utilizing our expertise and cutting-edge technology we are able to help identify these hazards before construction, saving clients time and money.

What are the solutions to map chamber dimensions accurately where confined space entry cannot be conducted?

At T2ue we have a variety of techniques at our disposal to document the dimensions of underground chambers when confined space entry isn’t possible. In most cases we employ advanced 3D laser scanning or 360 photographic documentation tools to model the interior space. These highly accurate tools allow the manhole’s perimeter to be georeferenced into the existing plans or utility drawings.

With this information the full extent of the chamber can be factored into planning and any horizontal or vertical conflicts can be identified prior to construction. This allows work to proceed with fewer unknowns and greater confidence in what are usually very congested utility environments.

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