Many contractors that provide underground utility tracing services depend on the ground penetrating radar. Despite the fact that identifying underground utilities has been proven to be of utmost importance before beginning any type of destructive work on site, there are still many stories about incidents happening simply because the necessary tracing and locating hadn’t been performed. That being said, let’s talk about the importance of locating buried or embedded obstructions by scanning them using this cutting-edge technology.
Up until a few decades ago, X-ray technology was the go-to method for tracing and locating buried electrical conduits and metal targets. It’s still rarely used nowadays, but for the most part it has been overtaken by GPR technology. Ground penetrating radar technology is seen as the most efficient method to locate conduits, post-tension cables, rebar in concrete cutting, and other destructive procedures.
Unlike X-ray technology, GPR technology allows construction workers to work efficiently, accurately and quickly in real-time, without having to leave the work site in order to locate targets and their estimated depths safely. Ground penetrating radars do not emit radioactive radiation, so the personnel can work safely. Additionally, X-ray is expensive, whereas ground penetrating radars are much more affordable and easier to use.
In case buried or embedded utilities are hit during construction, the results can be very disastrous – from worker hazards to project delays and cost overruns. If you cut rebat, which is strengthening the slab steel beam structure, it could cause the entire structure to fall, while cutting an electrical conduit can delay the job or cause very serious injuries.
The ground penetrating radar of your choice needs to be rugged and durable, simply because it will be used in harsh conditions and should last you for many years. It should also be easy and convenient to use – with a bright and intuitive display and high image resolution. Moreover, it should be designed to operate with analog and digital antennas, as well as feature GPS integration, WiFi and/or Bluetooth.
Lastly, before you or anyone else uses the ground penetrating radar technology, adequate training and certification is necessary. Misinterpretation of data can be costly and hazardous, so good communication between the parties involved in the locating and construction work is mandatory. Marking utilities is done differently by different operators, which makes communication even more so important. The locations of conduits, post-tension cables, rebar and any other utility needs to be known by workers before they begin cutting, digging, drilling, trenching or coring, in order to ensure maximum safety and efficiency.