Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE)
ASE is the only Subsurface Utility Engineering firm based in Illinois that can provide all types of FHWA subsurface utility locating services, including SUE Quality Levels A,B,C & D. SUE is an engineering discipline that emerged in the coast states as a cost effective method for managing utilities during the design process in congested areas. ASE quickly recognized the value of these engineering techniques and became one of the first Midwest firms to have the equipment, training and experience in this exciting new field, and we have maintained our position on the cutting edge of Subsurface Utility Engineering and utility locating. No other Illinois-based firm has the equipment or trained staff to provide SUE Quality Level A nondestructive excavations. Our Quality Level A utility excavations allow engineers and architects to know the exact three-dimensional location of a utility that is in possible conflict with designed improvements and give them the opportunity to save the owner’s schedule and cost by designing around the utility, instead of having to pay for expensive utility relocation. ASE can perform Quality Level A utility locations with either a Hydrovac excavator or an Airvac excavator (for use when sensitive subgrades, footings or foundations would be destabilized by introducing water from Hydrovac excavation).
Most surveying firms use utility records that are often inaccurate for the basis of the location of underground utilities on their drawings and mapping, and they do not provide the actual, as-built locations of utilities upon their mapping and drawings. This inaccurate practice can lead to catastrophic and costly problems when utilities that are not accurately mapped are damaged during construction. ASE goes beyond these conventional methods to provide our clients with the location of utilities as they actually exist in the field (SUE Quality Level B). Our utility designation crews will trace underground utilities using handheld, digital verification equipment and mark the positions of the utilities on the ground so that our surveying crews can follow them and survey the as-built utility locations. When the precise 3-D location of underground utilities needs to be known, ASE can quickly and nondestructively excavate these utilities with either our Hydrovac excavator or our Airvac excavator (for use when sensitive subgrades, footings or foundations would be destabilized by introducing water from Hydrovac excavation).
We have an excellent reputation for our Level A and Level B work- The Illinois Tollway Authority has hired us to be their consultant to provide SUE Level A and B services for all of their planned improvements on the entire Tollway system, and IDOT District 1 (the District containing Chicago, Cook County, and the five surrounding counties) has contracted with us to exclusively perform the same services. We have also performed all of the SUE mapping for the proposed I-57/I-294 interchange and are working on completing the SUE mapping for the Elgin/O’Hare Expressway completion.
ASE has a full arsenal of equipment and a highly trained and specialized staff of utility experts to handle any subsurface utility locating or engineering problem. We can use Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) to locate utility facilities that are not responsive to other methods (such as older water mains). We have the ability to “fishtape” and/or use a sonde to locate sewers, tiles and other hard-to-locate utility features. We have years of experience in FHWA SUE Quality Level C & D locations [surveying above-ground appurtenances of subsurface utilities (Level C) and connecting the facilities with the interpretation of utility records, atlases and plans (Level D)]. When precise vertical locations of subsurface utilities is necessary, we can nondestructively excavate these facilities with either our AirVac or HydroVac trucks, so that the exposed facilities can be surveys and mapped. Our on-staff attorney is an expert on utility law and can coordinate the sharing of record information with the utilities on site. We have an excellent reputation and familiarity with all of the major utility companies (and most minor ones) and we maintain good working relationships with them that are useful in getting permission to access or excavate their facilities. By using ASE, our clients can have confidence in the utility locations shown on our drawings.