Digging into Disasters

It is always exciting to plan and execute new expansion projects for expanding facilities.  It can also be fraught with disaster if you have an incomplete picture of a facility’s underground infrastructure.  According to a recent article on Utility Contractor Online the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), a national nonprofit trade association dedicated to protecting underground utility lines reported in their 2019 DIRT Report, 532,000 excavation-related damages occurred to underground facilities in the U.S.

In the CGA DIRT report, a staggering estimated total of approximately $30 billion in excavation-related damages occurred.  The report looked at root causes, and over a quarter of the root cause is a failure of the contractor to call 811 for public utility location requests.  However what if the construction is completed within a private facility’s boundaries and no public utilities are anticipated?  As a facilities manager, contractor, or planner you must ask yourself, how confident are you that you have the data you need to properly identify underground facilities and how quickly can you get to that data?

One recommendation of the CGA DIRT report is to adopt new technologies to help prevent damages.  One such technology that is making a difference is UVARA, a smart mapping and GIS solution designed to integrate all aspects of your site’s infrastructure including underground assets and above-ground features and imagery for powerful infrastructure asset management at your fingertips.  With UVARA you are able to quickly see the location of underground assets that might impact your project.  Additionally, UVARA often exposes weaknesses in your infrastructure mapping by highlighting isolated assets that assuredly have underground infrastructure connections but are unknown.

For instance, how is the isolated gas valve shown below connected?

Digging Disaters

For further information you can find CGA’s DIRT report here: https://commongroundalliance.com/Portals/0/Library/2020/DIRT%20Reports/2019%20DIRT%20Report%20FINAL.pdf?ver=2020-10-14-185343-180