RSK SafeGround: A specialist utility detection and mapping service

RSK SafeGround is the specialist utility detection and mapping service provided by the RSK Geosciences consultancy team. The utility mapping service is our most comprehensive survey and reporting solution for the mapping of buried services. The work is undertaken to PAS128 specification as defined by the British Standard Institution (BSI). In addition to our standard electromagnetic location (EML) survey and cover lifting exercise, we deploy state-of-the-art ground-penetrating radar (GPR) techniques to identify and resolve any non-conducting services (such as polyethylene gas or water pipes, PVC ducting, etc.). The use of multiple techniques ensures the highest detection levels of metal, plastic, masonry, ceramic, cables and buried structures, such as basements.

We deploy GPR in a dense grid of orthogonal transects across the entire site to build up a three-dimensional map of the area. The GPR data collected are then processed in an office environment. This approach increases the potential to resolve multiple targets, which is of increasing importance in urban contexts. Our plans can be tailored to suit the client’s needs and are provided in a variety of formats. All GPR utility survey drawings are delivered in CAD and PDF formats with a PDF report and are to PAS128 Type B survey standard. We are licensed by Ofcom for the use of GPR.

RSK SafeGround - about logo

Why Safeground?

We developed the SafeGround service stream to support our colleagues in the RSK Group (RSK Geosciences, Structural Soils, Ian Farmer Associates, ADAS and many more), as well as external clients through our permit to dig procedures. SafeGround offers a one-stop shop for all service avoidance needs when breaking ground, including the provision of desk-based service searches and plans. It also provides qualified geophysicists and experienced utility surveyors to undertake service avoidance, which includes recorded GPR data, auditable sketches, plans and certificates to feed into the permit to dig procedures to PAS128:2022 and HSG47 specifications.

PAS128: The new standard in utility mapping

In 2014, the BSI issued a new Publicly Available Specification (PAS), 128, which specifies the minimum that should be done in respect to underground utility detection, verification and location, as well as providing guidance and pointers on best practice.

RSK is proud to have been part of the team that helped develop the new standard. PAS128 gives the client much more control over the specification of the survey and the tools to hold the practitioner accountable for their data acquisition and deliverables. The new PAS128 standard sets out four category types (levels of accuracy) of survey:

  • Level D – desktop utility records search
  • Level C – site reconnaissance
  • Level B – utility detection using EML and GPR
  • Level A – verification via intrusive inspection

RSK Geosciences offers all the above surveys and is fully PAS128 compliant.

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RSK Geosciences is part of the RSK group of companies

The RSK group is a leading integrated environmental, engineering and technical services business offering bespoke end-to-end solutions to a variety of sectors. Headquartered in the UK but with an established presence throughout Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Australia, RSK helps organisations around the world achieve their business aspirations in a sustainable and efficient manner.