• 17Jan2022

    Underground Utility Damage - Hidden Expenses You Might Not Be Aware of

    Underground Utility Damage - Hidden Expenses You Might Not Be Aware of

    Everyone will agree to the fact that it is a huge deal working near underground utility infrastructure. The complexities related to underground utility locating and performing excavation is gaining more and more traction every day due to the financial and safety impact related to it

    Almost every excavation project could potentially end up hitting an electrical conduit, water line, gas pipe or telecommunication cable. Underground utility damage can cause costly delays and inconvenience which not only includes downtime, equipment damage but also leads to injury, deaths and reputation harm.

    Reasons for Underground Utility Damage:

    • Failure to notify utility locating companies or Dial Before You Dig locators is one of the root causes of utility damage.
    • Impromptu excavation practices or hiring amateur utility location services is another major reason for the underground utility damage.
    • Many times, excavators end up accidentally damaging the utilities while excavation or may end up making an inaccurate assumption about the utility depth and width.

    Assuming the depth or width of a suspected underground utility is highly concerning. What if the assumptions made are wrong? For instance, suppose there's a sewer line installed 30 years ago at a depth of 24". But how might have been changed during those 30 years? What if there was new landscaping is done or erosion? There might be a strong possibility that sewer line is now only 20" deep presently instead of 24" inch. Assuming the depth or width on your own without consulting one of the experienced and licensed utility locating companies is highly dangerous.

    The Evident Cost Related To Utility Damage:

    • Material and time required for repairing the damaged utility.
    • Downtime charge of the affected utility cover the revenue lost by the utility provider whilst the utility wasn't in service. This cost may vary depending upon the damage, utility type and the number of affected end-users.
    • Fines impose due to the negligence of the excavation company. This may again vary as per the damage details and the Government's standards and regulations.

    Underground utility locating services

    The Hidden Costs:

    Hidden intangible costs - which doesn't hold any value in terms of time or money but still cause serious damage to:

    • Company's reputation
    • Losing work opportunities as a result of the company's poor success rate
    • Losing revenue that could have been made with these lost work opportunities

    Other hidden costs that usually aren't stated are the damaged equipment repair and replacement cost. While causing damage to any underground utility, it may react very aggressively while causing damage to the expensive equipment involved in the process. This also includes the additional cost associated with lawyers, project management, meetings, etc. This isn't all. Hitting a utility can also result in accidental injuries and death. This not only makes the construction projects suffer but can also destroy the companies.

    That's Not All!!

    Utlity serviceAll the costs discussed so far - consider those just as a tip of an iceberg. Many hidden costs go unreported. While working on private sites like factories, universities, hospitals, etc. - there will be more than 85% of the private utilities present at your excavation site.

    As most of the utilities beneath the ground won't be marked by the authorised utility location services which highly increases the risk of hitting a utility during the excavation, even after following all the rules and you have a legal permit for it.

    Tips To Prevent Damage To Private Utilities:

    Performing excavation on private properties imposes a higher risk of damaging underground utilities. The best way to protect your company's reputation, employees and yourself are to call Dial Before You Dig or reputed utility locating companies to locate and map all the utilities present beneath the site ground.

    Opting for professional utility location services help ensure that all the utilities are marked including the private ones, protecting you from causing any underground utility damage.


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