Improved underground utilities asset management – assessing the impact of the UK utility survey standard (PAS128)

Nicole Metje, Aryan Hojjati, Anthony Beck, Christopher Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
599 Downloads (Pure)


Buried utilities (e.g. gas, water, electricity, drainage), many installed decades ago, are vital urban support systems. Their locations are often not well documented, yet accurate location greatly helps replacement, rehabilitation and maintenance of existing services and is crucial for installation of new utilities: it minimises utility strikes / third party damage and the huge associated costs of delayed / additional streetworks. Several international standards and specifications aim to provide guidance on utility surveys to increase client confidence in their accuracy and repeatability. The most recent specification is PAS (Publicly Available Specification) 128 in the UK for underground utility detection, verification and location. This paper investigates the impact of PAS128 by comparing trial site survey results from different utility survey specialists with each other and with the vertical and horizontal accuracies at trial excavations. While the overall detection level was very good for all companies, the research revealed that the definition of quality level QLB1 needs to be reconsidered as it was not achieved in many places with respect to the vertical accuracy. It is recommended that future revisions of PAS128 differentiate between accuracy and confidence since detection by multiple sensing technologies increases the confidence, but not the accuracy as suggested by PAS128.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalInstitution of Civil Engineers. Proceedings. Municipal Engineer
Publication statusPublished - 5 Apr 2019


  • Infrastructure Planning
  • Pipes and Pipelines
  • Codes of Practice & Standards


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