The SUMO utility survey: how low can you go?

A comprehensive utility survey carefully developed and refined over 15 years by industry leaders. The SUMO Survey is for clients who need consistent results and high levels of detection accuracy. We assessed the equipment and methodology to discuss the depth of penetration achievable…

The SUMO utility survey: how low can you go?

What is the SUMO Survey?

With growing infrastructure, there could be hundreds of utilities lying right beneath our feet. Accidental strikes can cause project delays, incur substantial costs and create negative PR. It is important to identify and map such utilities, either at the design stage, or in advance of breaking ground. If your employees are going to break ground, you ought to have a utility survey done to protect them. This is often written into the Health and Safety Guidelines for most projects.

Utilising the latest non-invasive technology, the SUMO Survey dramatically reduces the high-risks of hitting buried utilities and the associated cost of repairs. It combines 3 key survey techniques and is a highly effective utility survey.

Another great feature of the SUMO Survey, is that Topographic survey techniques can integrate into the survey process. As well as the 'basic' utility mark, we can also provide you with full Topographic drawings of the data.

What equipment is used and how low can SUMO go?

SUMO’s dual frequency Ground Penetrating Radar system.

SUMO’s dual frequency Ground Penetrating Radar system.

We have invested in a range of industry-leading equipment including Single, Dual and Multi Frequency Ground Penetrating Radar systems. This means that we can locate both shallow and deep features, without the need to use separate GPR systems. This would increase the time spent collecting the data and the cost considerably. Using a 300/800 MHz antenna for example, we have the capacity to locate conventional utilities buried to a depth of 1-1.5m. If ground conditions are suitable, we can locate deeper features up to approximately 7m. Such systems also allow our surveyors to work in real time. This means that we can mark-out features as we go, and also collect radar data for post-processing, allowing for more detailed examination of more complicated sites or discrete features.

SUMO’s Electromagnetic Locator.

SUMO’s Electromagnetic Locator.

Another workhorse for our surveyors is the Cable and Pipe Locator. We have worked closely with the manufacturers over the last 15 years and always strive to keep up-to-date with the latest systems. We currently use an advanced high-precision cable locator containing a unique arrangement of 5 custom-manufactured, precision-ground antennas. It allows our surveyors to choose the best method to locate specific pipes and cables.

We also utilise various Robotic Total Stations. This includes high accuracy units for control and monitoring works and lesser instruments for general surveys. High accuracy GPS is also used to provide positioning (within 30mm) to the Ordnance Survey Grid and Datum at the push of a button.

Is there anything that can affect the depth of penetration?

There are some limitations to the individual techniques that make up the SUMO Survey. This includes:

  • Debris and uneven ground surfaces can affect the depth of penetration of the survey equipment. In extreme cases, it can also make the survey impossible to complete. This is because the conditions don’t allow for the correct penetration or accuracy of the survey equipment.

  • Waterlogged ground surfaces can also interfere with the depth of penetration. Ideally, ground surfaces should be dry, but this isn’t always achievable due to UK weather!

  • Similarly, ground that contains high levels of clay can become difficult to survey as the equipment signals cannot easily penetrate this material. Completely clay ground can be near impossible to survey using GPR. It is often reliant on other survey techniques to trace underground infrastructure.

SUMO clients needn’t worry though, we will always make our clients aware of potential limitations caused by the site conditions. We will always work with them to achieve the best possible survey data.

The SUMO utility survey: How low can you go?

Why should you use SUMO?

With over 15 years’ experience, we pride our survey offering on the following:

  • We employ many of the industry’s leading survey professionals.

  • Each of our surveyors is trained in various survey techniques to aid flexibility and tailoring of our services.

  • We aim to provide each client with the complete SUMO customer experience.

  • Because of our unique size and nationwide coverage, we can tailor each project to a client’s individual needs and budget.