Case Study - Balfour Beatty

Working towards Zero Harm


The risk of coming into contact with buried or overhead services is a recurrent hazard for many of the operating companies within the Balfour Beatty Group and they have had a strong focus on this in recent years, as part of their Zero harm Programme.


Some operating companies within the Group have been enhancing skills training for those operatives who work on or near to underground or overhead services. Others have been trialling new technology and specialist utility surveyors. SUMO Services have now become a regular presence on site. SUMO’s unique methodology minimises the incidence of service strikes. This is by detecting and plotting the location of all utilities (including non-metallic items) and the service connections thereto.

The position of any detected utility is either marked on the ground or recorded on a full colour coded survey drawing. This is linked to key topographic features, or combined with a full topographic survey as needed. SUMO has provided detailed utility surveys across a wide spectrum of Balfour Beatty sites in recent years. This included the mapping of major motorway junctions. As well as busy carriageways and many buildings and brownfield sites, including several BSF projects.

The James Brindley Academy was one such project and proved to be quite a challenge due to the tight timescales involved. Not to mention the worst winter weather for many years. Faced with the need for a reliable and accurate Utility Mapping survey, combined with drain jetting and a CCTV survey, Balfour Beatty Construction Manager Steve Wilkes brought in SUMO. They managed and coordinated every element of the survey process, on time and on budget.

Russ Sampson of SUMO said: “We mobilised three separate survey teams. They worked in appalling weather to get the job done. They often had to dig through the snow to find and lift service covers, to trace the relevant utilities. The conditions were so unpleasant that most other sub-contractors had left the site. In the end we got the job done and we were very pleased with the end result.”

Steve Wilkes commented: “SUMO really did a great job in very difficult circumstances. I was most impressed with their flexibility and would definitely use them again.”

The SUMO Group is a multi-discipline survey business, operating a network of 30 fully equipped survey teams strategically located throughout the UK. This enables SUMO to provide full nationwide coverage.

Survey techniques used in this case study...

SUMO Survey
Utility detection
& mapping

Ground Probing Radar (GPR)

Electromagnetic Location (EML)