The Standard ASCE 38-02

The Subsurface Utility Engineering (S.U.E.) Process:

This is a branch of engineering practice that involves managing certain risks associated with utility mapping at appropriate quality levels, utility coordination, utility relocation design and coordination, utility condition assessment, communication of utility data to concerned parties, utility relocation cost estimates, implementation of utility accommodation policies, and utility design.

SUE began in the early 1980s. Traditional methods of dealing with subsurface utilities were not working. It was common practice to design projects without consideration of any utilities and to then deal with them during construction. This resulted in many unnecessary utility relocations, construction delays, and unexpected encounters with subsurface utilities. It seemed possible that two relatively new technologies, air/vacuum excavation and surface geophysics, could be combined to gather data on the exact location of subsurface utilities early in the development of projects.

In 2000, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) published and distributed a document entitled “Standard Guideline for the Collection and Depiction of Existing Subsurface Utility Data”.  This standard formally defined Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) and set forth standard guidance for collecting and depicting SUE information.

The ASCE standard presents a system of classifying the quality of existing subsurface utility data. Such a classification allows project owners, engineers, and constructors to develop strategies to reduce or allocate risks due to existing subsurface utilities in a defined manner. As a handout or as part of a specification, it assists engineers, owners, and contractors in understanding utility quality level classifications and their allocations of risk. The standard closely follows concepts in place in the SUE profession. Therefore, many states are already in “compliance” with this standard through their use of SUE, or through their inclusion of SUE specifications in their engineering contracts.

Learn more about the SUE process

 

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