Subsurface Utility Engineering Services (SUE)

Investigate the Unknowns

MPL's SUE services can aid in the reduction of construction costs and fewer change orders when part of the process before construction begins.
MPL's SUE services can aid in the reduction of construction costs and fewer change orders when part of the process before construction begins.
A benefit of SUE services are fewer accounts of hazerdous environments due to broken lined or pipes.
A benefit of SUE services are fewer accounts of hazerdous environments due to broken lined or pipes.

Avoid costly utility conflicts or delays

ONE-STOP SHOP. ONE MPL CREW CAN DO IT ALL!

Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) is the investigation of underground utilities to help aid in design on a site. 

Always remember that the key to conducting an outstanding SUE operation is to start the process as early as possible, preferably during the planning phases of the project. The earlier your project team is able to identify and relocate utilities the better.

MPL's subsurface utility engineering services team delivers quality, accurate mapping of existing underground utilities, helping clients avoid costly utility conflicts or construction delays caused by unknown or misrepresented utilities.

$4.62
$4.62

A total of $4.62 in savings for every $1.00 spent on SUE was quantified.

$11.39
$11.39

On highway projects, the results reveal that $11.39 can be saved for every $1 spent on SUE. 

The Levels of SUE work build on each other

These levels can done in phases or all at the same time.  When the drawing of the utility locations is completed it will designate to what quality level each utility line is shown. This will give the designers an idea of the quality of the information they are working which, in turn, will tell then what confidence they can place in the related utility locations.

Quality Level A

Quality Level A involves physically locating and visually identifying the actual utility (potholing or daylighting). Once the utility is potholed it is located horizontally and vertically by survey measurements and then documented to the correct standards.  This location is typically to the top of pipe, which should be noted on the drawing.

Quality Level B

Quality Level B involves designating the underground utilities by markings provided through an 811 call or by contacting a private locating company. This data is added to the data collected from Quality Levels D and C.  The designated utilities are then surveyed and added to the drawing which can then be identified as representing the results of a Quality Level B investigation.

Quality Level C

Quality Level C involves the process of surveying the visible utility features, or checking the surveyed (if done already) locations for their accuracy.  This data is compiled with the Quality Level D data and both levels are labeled accordingly.  Quality Level C data could, and often will, conflict with the Quality Level D data and raise questions as to the locations of some underground utility lines.

Quality Level D

Quality Level D is simply the process of gathering record data. This data could be digital or paper records, internet search, site inspection or just talking to people who are familiar with the site. The available data could be limited and not produce a complete picture of what is onsite. Once the data is collected, it is compiled into a drawing that states the quality level.

The Benefits of SUE Services Mason Private Locating LLC

  • Reduced Cost
  • Fewer Change Orders
  • Fewer Interruptions
  • Design Adjustments
  • Safety
  • Improved Damage Prevention

Sub-Surface Utility Engineering Services
Information Sheet

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Types of SUE Services Performed

Subsurface utility design & locating
Subsurface utility design & locating
Utilizing Mason Private Locating to perform QL-A and QL-B Services will help you design a better, more efficient project, saving both you and the contractors time and money in the long run.
Subsurface Utility Mapping
Subsurface Utility Mapping
Mason Private Locating has the ability to collect the GPS Coordinates (Mapping Grade) of any line marked, or any facility exposed, providing you with a better map from which to work.
(QL-A) VACUUM EXCAVATION
(QL-A) VACUUM EXCAVATION
Our crews are highly skilled an efficient, able to expose the lines (QL-A) you request in order to determine the exact depth.
Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR)
Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR)
Some lines cannot be found with your standard Electro-Magnetic (EM) Locating Systems. That is where Mason Private Locating is able to rise above the rest utilizing Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) to help in determining the location of those additional hard to find facilities that would otherwise wreak havoc on your project.
Repair & Maintenance
Repair & Maintenance
Do you have some facilities that are in need of repair? Mason Private Locating can assist you in identifying any other facilities in the area so that you do not cause additional damage to other lines while you are trying to fix that initial problem.
(QL-B) UNDERGROUND UTILITY DESIGNATING
(QL-B) UNDERGROUND UTILITY DESIGNATING
Mason Private Locating will work closely with your team in order to provide you with quality horizontal markings in the field so that you can be confident when adding the data to your design project.

Utilizing Mason Private Locating to perform QL-A and QL-B Services will help you design a better, more efficient project, saving both you and the contractors time and money in the long run.

Mason Private Locating has the ability to collect the GPS Coordinates (Mapping Grade) of any line marked, or any facility exposed, providing you with a better map from which to work.

Our crews are highly skilled an efficient, able to expose the lines (QL-A) you request in order to determine the exact depth.

Some lines cannot be found with your standard Electro-Magnetic (EM) Locating Systems. That is where Mason Private Locating is able to rise above the rest utilizing Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) to help in determining the location of those additional hard to find facilities that would otherwise wreak havoc on your project.

Do you have some facilities that are in need of repair? Mason Private Locating can assist you in identifying any other facilities in the area so that you do not cause additional damage to other lines while you are trying to fix that initial problem.

Mason Private Locating will work closely with your team in order to provide you with quality horizontal markings in the field so that you can be confident when adding the data to your design project.

Frequently Asked SUE Questions

What is Subsurface Utility Engineering?

Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) is the investigation of underground utilities to help aid in design on a site.

How does SUE work?

The project owner assumes responsibility for taking appropriate actions to consider and deal with utility risks. On small projects where few utilities are present, this may only involve making a conscious decision to proceed with the project using readily available information. On larger, more complex projects, the services of MPL may be employed to provide expert advice and to use available technologies to provide better information. MPL will then advise the project owner of utility risks and recommend an appropriate quality level of utility data for a given project area at the appropriate time within the project planning and design process. The project owner will then specify the desired quality level of utility data. MPL will apply the desired utility quality level to the project owner in accordance with the standard of care and will be responsible for negligent errors and/or omissions in the utility data for the certified utility quality level.

What are the benefits of using SUE?

Proper use of this service will eliminate many of the utility problems typically encountered on projects, including:

  • Delays to projects caused by waiting for utility relocation work to be completed so construction can begin;
  • Delays to projects caused by redesign when construction cannot follow the original design due to unexpected utility conflicts;
  • Delays to contractors during construction caused by cutting, damaging, or discovering utility lines that were not known to be there;
  • Claims by contractors for delays resulting from unexpected encounters with utilities; and
  • Deaths, injuries, property damage, and releases of product into the environment caused by cutting utility lines that were not known to be there.

What major activities are involved in Subsurface Utility Engineering?

Scope of Work - The process of developing a written project-specific work plan package that consists of scope of work, levels of service vs. risk allocation, project schedule and desired project delivery method. The SUE work plan package is agreed upon by the SUE provider and the client, describing the SUE work to be performed.

Designating - The process of using a surface geophysical method or methods to interpret the presence of a subsurface utility and mark its approximate horizontal position on the ground surface or on above-ground surface markers.

Locating - The process of exposing and recording the precise vertical and horizontal location and providing utility size and configuration of a utility.

Data Management - The process of surveying, designating and locating information to project control and transferring it into the client's CADD system, GIS files, or project plans.

Conflict Analysis - The engineering process of using a conflict matrix to evaluate and compare depicted designating information with proposed plans (highway, bridge, drainage, and other) in order to inform all stakeholders of potential conflicts, potential resolutions and costs to cure.

Am I required to use a certain Quality Level on my project?

The utility standard does not require a certain level of utility data, but MPL suggests obtaining at least Level B data on any project that will require subsurface digging and Level A data on any designed utility crossing.

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