Should Utility Location Be Included In Construction Services?

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Should Utility Location Be Included In Construction Services?

11 September 2015
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Blog

For clients and contractors, the issue of utility location can be difficult to solve. While some clients may expect contractors to deal with the issues that arise during construction, including utility leaks and other liabilities, the problems caused by utilities can quickly get out of hand and go beyond a contractor's scope. Here are some of the problems that utility location can cause for a construction contract. 

Pre-Existing Building Risks

In many cases, a construction contract should claim that pre-existing risks on the site are not the responsibility of the contractors. This would neatly include utility location; if the workers hit a water vein that was pre-existing, then the construction company wouldn't be responsible for the damages. Property owners can mitigate these risks by getting their property surveyed ahead of time.

Scope of Services

While some construction companies will bring in land surveyors and other professionals to evaluate the site, these services need to be discussed ahead of time with the client. It's up to both parties to clearly list which services are included in the planning and construction; often, utility locating services should be handled by a third party who has more experience.


Buried utilities can cause a lot of damage to workers and to the site. It then becomes an issue of whose liability it is, since arguments could be made on either side. By hiring a third party to handle utility location, you can quickly solve the issue of liability for pre-existing utilities.

The Right Specialty

Finally, utility location is not an easy task. Without the proper equipment to survey the land and look for buried utilities, it can be easy to miss some signs of a buried wire or pipe. If you hire a specialist for the site, you can get a much greater quality assurance when it comes to land surveying and utility location.

The Bottom Line: Outsource Your Utility Location

Overcoming these issues is a simple matter of hiring an outside contractor to provide utility locating services. If you choose a company that specializes in utility location, you can avoid the host of problems that comes along with faulty and incomplete utility location, while avoiding some nasty disputes between clients and construction companies. This is something that contractors should discuss with their clients ahead of time; a recommendation for a great utility locating service can help smooth tension between the client and workers. 

To learn more, contact a company like Delta Geophysics Inc.