Continuing from previous articles on ‘Underground Services, we delve into how the delivery of underground utilities can be enhanced.

There has been many studies and reports in recent times that has portrayed the construction industry as being way behind other industries in technical advancement and that an increase in efficiency and productivity is needed. Some of the change requires us to improve our design and engineering processes and to embrace digital technologies.

The 2019 update to the Australian Standard AS5488 goes some way in boosting efficiencies by prescribing the consistent approach needed for the classification of information gathered in the field. Part 2 of the standard focuses on Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) and outlines:

  • naming conventions.
  • additional metadata requirements.
  • breakdowns the appropriate level of model creation needed.
  • the roles and responsibilities of the various stakeholders.
  • provides a framework for utility clash coordination and resolution.
  • the level of documentation needed for asset handover.

At Bennett + Bennett, we have aligned our field and office workflows to the updated standard as it aids in transitioning and aligning our deliverables required for the processes mandated by Digital Engineering. The creation of ‘enhanced subsurface utility data’ enriches the field captured attributes and makes this data available to all stakeholders in 3D models and GIS datasets. Whilst we recognise there is still a need for 2D documentation, there is immense benefits of having a spatially correct 3D engineered subsurface utility model.

As software, collaborative workflows and common data environment platforms continues to improve, the benefits of having enhanced datasets continue to expand, allowing for faster, more accurate, and more efficient planning and construction. Utilising this data with proposed project data better communicates design intent through enhanced visualization, analysis, animation, simulations, and plans. Because the objects in a 3D model are spatially related, they can be viewed from multiple perspectives, allowing the designer to identify design and constructability concerns more easily before the design reaches the field. Accurate enhanced 3D data modelling sometimes takes more time to complete than a traditional 2D design, however this trade-off in time is easily surpassed by the long-term advantages.

The added benefits of having a 3D Utility Model

  • Clash Detection Analysis can be performed against proposed design elements.
  • Help better understand and mitigate risk.
  • Construction Teams can run tolerance checks to find areas requiring further pot (test) holes.
  • This data can also be viewed on site with GNSS enabled devices using augmented reality technology.
  • Create and upload ‘uncertainty buffer zones’ that encloses the true location of the utility as an extra safety measure to avoid a utility strike during excavation.
  • Updated models can be supplied to the Facility manager as an as-constructed model.

Sample Images From Our Surveys

Industry Foundation Class (IFC) Deliverable

12D Model Deliverables

Navisworks Deliverables

GIS Deliverables

Google Earth Deliverables

Revit Model Deliverables

Clash Analysis Model Deliverables

That ends our 3 Part Series on ‘Underground Utilities’ Surveys.

To read our previous Parts 1 & 2 or any of our previous articles, please head to our website.

Bennett + Bennett have a skilled survey & Spatial team to assist in this type of survey. We can assist you with your project so if you have any questions please contact us via phone 07 5631 8000 or email