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Imagine you’re in the middle of a new build, just take a moment to think… “what’s the worst thing that could happen right now?”

The first answer that comes to mind probably depends on the job position you hold. The men on the ground may be worried about not meeting a deadline, the project manager might be worried about the client backing out and the higher-ups may be worried about the budget running short!

None of these worries compares to the implications of hitting a pipe or cable.

“Surely everybody checks first right?”

Surprisingly not. Many companies either believe it is beyond their budget to conduct a utility search, a waste of time, or even try to get by, leaving it to chance.

The implications of this can be massive – a quick search on SGNs website shows they currently “own and operate 74,000 km of gas mains, associated plant and equipment across Scotland and the south of England”. This is just one of many gas distributors operating in the United Kingdom.

“What happens if we hit one?”

Hitting one of these pipes and causing utility damages would set yourself up for a lot of trouble. A look at the “HS(G)47” guidelines – a health and safety booklet aimed to help companies avoid danger from underground services, gives the following case study:

“A construction company paid £210,000 in fines and costs after an employee died in an explosion following damage to an 11,000-volt live cable within an excavation.”

“The worker suffered burns over 60% of his body while he and other workers were using breakers and a shovel within the excavation.”

“He died of his injuries 13 days later. The company had not informed workers that there were live cables in the excavation and failed to put adequate measures in place to prevent them from being damaged.”

Monetary expenses aside, the final paragraph above should be all the convincing you need to show you the value of a utility search.

Why Conduct a Utility Search?

You’ll find that the main benefit of conducting a search is peace of mind. There is a law in the United Kingdom that ensures all utility providers must supply plans when requested. They also may charge a suitable fee for delivering this service, all with the aim to stop utility damages from happening.

pipes, utility search, damages

“But we don’t really have the resources…”
Well, you’ll be happy to know, by using a utility search service you will:
  • Save money in the long run on resources conducting a search
  • Have the security that you won’t incur financial or legal repercussions for not checking before you dig
  • Help stop utility damage within the UK
  • Have the peace of mind you’re not putting your workers at risk

If you need help or any more information on utility searches please take at our service page for utility search services.