The Importance of Having an Underground Asset Location Checklist Prior to an Excavation Project

January 9, 2020

When excavation projects need a healthy dose of operational discipline, they employ Underground Asset Location Checklists. Before a single tool is pulled out of a work van, this project aid is right there, on-hand to ensure a systematically run job. Granted, such assignment organizing aids might not benefit simpler work tasks, but then below ground services are rarely straightforward. Given that fact, underground assets need to be carefully tracked.

Keeping Track of Site Assets

This is probably the only time you'll hear trenching engineers talk about history. Only, they're not talking about world conquests or monarchy timelines. No, they'll most likely be referring to the history of a specified worksite. Was there a building on the land? Did cables and pipes pass through the site on their way to a water treatment plant or a now defunct electrical power station? True, those surface features may now be demolished and gone, but the underground assets associated with those demolished structures could still be onsite, buried beneath the ground. Underground Asset Location Checklists can be used to review the unseen history of any worksite, any site that requires excavation.

How Are U.A.L Checklists Compiled?

Right from the get-go, the document's power is leveraged before the digging starts. An initial tick confirms the location of the trench and its depth. The route of the ground channel is mapped, so another tick is placed in the relevant box. Are there existing maps of underground assets? Are all of the concealed cables, pipes, underground tanks marked as application-stripped, or are they still electrically live or fluid full? Scanning down the boxes on the document, the tech arrives at a locally-sourced Dial-Before-You-Dig phone number or website. The required digging permits have been collected, but can the same be said about the DBYG call? If this box is still conspicuously blank, someone needs to put a call in before the excavators get to work.

And so it continues, every important detail, no matter how seemingly insignificant, is systematically checked off on the list. Importantly, nothing is missed, so the trenching team and Australia's underground assets remain safe and protected. No power outages can occur, no water mains crack and loss of water pressure, and no sewage line breach that would go on to contaminate the environment. Without the UAL, a small detail could escape the attentions of the project foreman. Since underground work services can get very complicated in no time at all, things can quickly get on top of project leaders, right? Step-by-step, in a dense urban area or on open land, the checklist finds and identifies every asset, be it a live cable or a disused storage tank.

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