Knowledge | Management | Assurance

Subsurface Utility Engineering

KMA’s Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) Department has the equipment and technical staff to locate a full range of underground utilities, including:

  • Communication cables
  • Gas, petroleum, and propane lines
  • Sanitary and storm sewers
  • Electrical power lines
  • Water lines

While the major portion of our SUE applications is on surface transportation projects (highways, bridges and related infrastructure), SUE can be applied to planning and design at airports, military installations, power generation facilities, water and sewage treatment works, collection/distribution systems, and general site development projects.  In addition, SUE has application on other surface transportation projects, such as rail and transit.  SUE can also be used for conducting other subsurface investigations, such as locating underground storage tanks, septic systems, and other underground features (buried tunnels, foundations, grave sites, etc.)

KMA has the capabilities to perform SUE with traditional engineering practices, as well as through the application of modern technologies such as electromagnetic locators, geophysical methods and air vacuum excavation.  KMA adheres to the Standard Guideline for the Collection and Depiction of Existing Subsurface Utility Data developed by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE; Standard No. CI/038-02).  This guideline specifies four quality levels (QL’s), defined as QL A, B, C, and D.  KMA has the capabilities to perform all of these quality levels.

The Benefits of SUE

Subsurface Utility Engineering benefits the client, designer, contractor, and the utility companies in the following ways:

    1. Unexpected conflicts with utilities during construction are eliminated. The exact location (horizontal and vertical) of all utilities can be determined and depicted on construction plans.
    2. Reduces or eliminates delays caused by redesign.
    3. Reduces or eliminates contractor delays during construction caused by damage to utilities.
    4. Reduces the occurrence of utility relocations: Accurate utility information is available to designers early in the project planning process so that potential conflicts can be avoided.
    5. Enhances contractor safety: When excavation or grading can be shifted away from utilities, there is reduced chance of damage to said utilities, lowering the probability of personal injury, property damage, or release of contaminants to the environment.