Last week we looked at an overview of the ASCE 38-02 standard and how it is used to complete a Subsurface Utility Engineering investigation and reduce overall utility risks on a project. Going forward we will outline the various quality levels as defined in the standard to better understand how to utilize SUE data.

Quality Level ‘D’ (QLD) information is defined as “Information derived from existing records or oral recollections.” QL-D information is often regarded as the “least accurate” or “least valuable” information, but this is a common misconception!

The gathering of record information (“records research”) is a critical part of conducting a thorough utility investigation. Utility record information allows the SUE team to get a glimpse into the “utility history” of a site to better understand the utility infrastructure that has been installed and removed over time. The existence of abandoned or old utilities may only be discovered through a meticulous review of record information; however, the presence of these utilities can have massive impacts on both project schedule and cost. Having a utility expert on your team who truly understands the ASCE 38 standard and how to apply all of its steps will yield the most value and allow you to avoiding those “mystery” utilities that all-too-often come up during construction.