Utility Myths - Test Holes Determine Quality Level

Myth: There’s a misperception that performing a test hole always provides Quality level A (QLA) data, even starting from Quality level D (QLD).

Truth: A test hole is just that, a hole in the ground that allows for testing to identify utility positions. If that testing includes all of the requirements to fulfill ASCE 38 QLA data, then the professional may certify the data as QLA. Those QLA requirements include;

  • an attempt to get records so that size and material can be confirmed,
  • designating (not One-call marks) to verify utility function,
  • and survey of x,y,z location of the target being measured.

If all those items are not performed or attempted to be performed (in which case caveats on the data must be clearly stated), then QLA is not achieved at that specific test hole location. In that case, the professional may wish to depict and stamp the utility exposed at the achieved ASCE 38 Utility Quality Level, which may be QLD, QLC, or QLB. Each Quality Level has its own requirements, based on the ASCE 38 Standard.

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