Utility Surveys: The Property Owner is a Valuable Source
Surveying underground utilities is complex and very challenging for the surveyor. The owner can help speed up the survey process by sharing his knowledge of site utility details.
Most proposed developments require an existing conditions survey. One of the most important items the civil engineer will need to prepare is a constructible set of plans for the location of underground utilities like sanitary sewer, storm sewer and water main. Public utilities such as gas, electric, fiber optic, telephone and cable are also critical to a successful survey. Most of these utilities are placed on the existing conditions survey by the surveyor.
The surveyor will use above ground evidence such as manholes, gate valves, hydrants, cleanouts and MISS DIG flags located in the field survey to plot the location of the utilities. Utility records obtained from municipalities and public utility companies are also utilized and compared to the field evidence to develop an accurate location for each utility line. But sometimes physical evidence is not enough.
Many surveyors do not review the finished survey with the property owner of the proposed site. This is a mistake. The property owner can be an invaluable source for the surveyor because most property owners are intimately familiar with the locations of utilities on their property.
Surveyors should always include a review of the existing conditions survey with the property owner prior starting their design. Such a meeting will provide the surveyor with site details that may not show up on official records and help make the site survey process go more smoothly and efficiently.