Imagine how useful it would be to know exactly what lies beneath your feet before starting excavations, to know for sure where expensive fiber-optics cut across your site or how deep utilities lie…

In a project context, missing, inaccurate or outdated utility information can lead to delays, conflicts, and interruptions in service. Also, in a human context, inadequate information can lead to serious injury or even death.

This type of survey may reveal elements that were not shown on construction drawings or statutory undertakers records. So, showing their presence will allow you to plan your works accordingly. Saving you time, money and improving safety in the process.

Since our inception in 2003, XRAIL’ utility mapping services have become indispensable and we have grown our client base which stretches across the construction, rail, telecoms, utilities and highways sectors.

What is utility mapping?

Utility mapping surveys provide critical information on below ground conditions. Therefore this clearly shows all manner of obstacles (utilities, voids, foundations etc), their depth, position and type. So, this can be achieved without disturbing the ground and with minimal disruption to the public or other site workers.

From power, gas, water and telecoms to fibre-optics, drainage and sewers, our survey teams pick up all services in accordance with BSI PAS 128 and the current British Standard for underground utility detection. So, from an initial desktop study and site reconnaissance to the detection and physical verification phases, our team enforce best practice throughout the entire project.

  Key benefits

  •   Reduced levels of cost, delay and risk
  •   Improved levels of safety
  •   Unnecessary excavation kept to a minimum
  •   Disruption to road/other site users severely reduced
  •   Highly accurate data provided
  •   Up to date, accurate records that educate future design and construction


Utility surveys are initially carried out using electromagnetic cable avoidance tools such as the Radiodetection RD8000 with drainage runs being traced by feeding a sonde along the pipe runs from the surface. The transmitted signal is then traced from above ground using the C.A.T. with the service’s position marked on the service.

Depending on the service level demanded, a thorough electromagnetic survey can be followed by a more sophisticated Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) scan. Where even greater levels of accuracy are required The XRAIL Group can deliver a practically unique vacuum excavation service to physically verify the location of buried services.

Where appropriate, service locations are plotted using the very latest Total Station and GPS instrumentation allowing our surveyors to accurately display their findings within 2D or 3D CAD drawings or even BIM plans.precision drawings. From DWG and PDF to MOSS, Genio and three-dimensional BIM models, surveys can be provided in any file type and in both digital and hard-copy forms.

Survey types

Whilst all of our surveys conform to PAS 128 guidance, utility mapping is not a ‘one size fits all’ service… So, what one client might demand another may see as unnecessary. Therefore, every project is different and site-specific requirements, deliverables and environmental considerations varying considerably between one job and the next.

This is a complex science that should not be procured without first consulting a true, seasoned professional. So, we pride ourselves on providing up-front advice to all clients, present and future to ensure that they get precisely the information their project demands.

Site mark-up surveys

As a matter of course all surveys should be marked out on the ground prior to any drawings being produced. Indeed, a simple site mark-up is all that many clients require, especially for smaller jobs where excavation is imminent or where time is of the essence.

The first stage of the operation is to source all available buried services information from the known asset owners. In exceptional cases it may be possible to carry out a survey without them. But as best practice dictates these plans form the backbone of any responsible utilities surveyor’s arsenal.

A site mark out survey is carried out using the latest approved cable avoidance tools, signal generators and multi-antennae ground penetrating radar equipment. We ensure that our surveyors’ findings are clearly and precisely marked on the ground using bio-degradable survey marking paint. Therefore, for areas of softer and protected ground such as grass, it may be necessary to use a series of small marker flags to illustrate service routes.

Full mapping surveys

If a topographic survey has already been completed our surveyors can occupy the existing control. By using Total Station or GPS instruments in order to position all findings on a precision and to-scale CAD plan. Alternatively, we can install new control and carry out their own topographic survey making it can be as basic or as detailed as you require.

Not only do these drawings provide our clients with a valuable, accurate and up to date resource upon which to base their designs and future works, with tens of thousands of incidents occurring every year in which people are killed or injured and third party property is damaged, the argument against carrying out a full mapping survey has become a non-starter.

Get in touch

Whether you’d like a quotation, some more information or to discuss a specific project, we’d love to hear from you.

Please get in touch via the contact quick enquiry form below or by calling 03450 600 700.


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