The Benefits of Using an Underground Service Locator

Underground service locators help ensure that construction projects are safe and efficient. These professionals use advanced technology and expertise to locate and mark buried pipes before construction begins.

Utility locating services are important for preventing accidental damage to underground pipes and cables. They can also save time and money by avoiding unnecessary construction delays.

Accurate Utility Mapping

The goal of utility mapping is to keep workers and civilians safe on construction sites. It’s a vital tool that can help prevent accidents and expensive work disruptions. It can also save time and money by preventing project delays. Here’s an example: Imagine your construction team starts digging and hits a buried gas line. This can cause serious damage and potentially harm people. This kind of accident can halt your project until it’s fixed and special contractors and equipment are arranged.

Professional services that offer underground service locating use a variety of methods to locate and map buried utilities. This includes contacting utility owners and reviewing available records, plans and maps to identify all the buried utilities in a construction area. Then, they can use non-destructive testing techniques such as ground-penetrating radar and electromagnetic location equipment to determine the exact locations and depths of these utilities. This information is then compiled into a comprehensive site survey and utility map.

Time and Cost Savings

Using service locators can prevent damage to underground infrastructure during construction or excavation. This helps to save time, money and avoids costly repairs. It also mitigates the risk of accidents, which can be dangerous and cause significant disruption to business operations.

This process is known as utility locating and involves detecting the presence of buried utilities, such as pipes, wires and cables. Using a range of methods, including passive locating and active locating, service locators can trace and identify the location of each utility line.

Passive locating uses electromagnetic (EM) signals that occur naturally on some types of utility lines, such as electric power lines that generate 50/60-hertz electricity. However, these passive signals can also be generated by other types of lines and aren’t always accurate in identifying the type of line. Moreover, some buried services are bonded together, which makes it difficult for locators to isolate a specific line. This can lead to incorrect identification of the target utility and disrupt other services nearby.

Compliance with Regulations

A utility locator is an essential piece of equipment for assessing and marking underground services before commencing excavations. Brownfield sites have a wide variety of utilities and pipelines installed, and it is vital for health and safety reasons that these are located prior to starting any work on site.

The majority of buried line locators use transmitters to energize the metallic lines and create an electromagnetic (EM) signal that is detected by receivers or other components in the locator. This EM signal is then used to identify and trace the path of the pipe or cable using visual indicators.

This allows excavators to work safely and without the risk of damaging a buried electrical cable, mains pipe or other important line. This ultimately reduces the risk to personal safety and the financial costs of any potential damage to a business. It also helps to ensure compliance with national and state regulations regarding damage prevention. This includes national one-call systems, which require all people considering digging or drilling on a site to contact the local utility company before proceeding.


Buried pipes and cables are a major construction site hazard, as they can be cut or crushed by tools or heavy machinery. A locating device can help prevent these accidents by ensuring that all services are marked before excavation work begins.

A standard buried utility locator uses transmitters that send an EM signal into the ground and detects its return. It can trace metal utilities and identify their type. It can also detect non-metallic utilities such as plastic and terra cotta, but these are not as easy to identify because they do not reflect the same EM signal.

Before beginning a dig, the operator should call 811. The national one-call center will flag the approximate location of public utilities, such as electricity, gas, oil, water and telephone. It is important to remember that private facilities are not included in the public flagging process and need to be located by a private contractor such as Blood Hound.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *