For years, subsurface utility engineering—or “SUE”—has been a branch of engineering practice, but to us it’s the only way to effectively and efficiently plan, detect, and expose underground utilities. Recently, SUE has become more popular nationally and internationally.
Why? Think of the techniques and processes you typically use to locate utilities on a project site: aboveground utility detection, sub-surface scanning for depth, and excavation for a precise visual on their position. SUE combines each of the critical locating techniques into one cohesive process that saves time and money.
By the Numbers
In a recent study, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) commissioned Purdue University to study the effectiveness of SUE as a means of reducing costs and delays on highway projects.
After looking at 71 projects with a combined construction value of more than $1 billion, they saw significant cost savings. For every dollar spent on SUE, a project will see on average $4.62 in cost saving. One project even had an astonishing $206.00 return on every dollar invested (NCDOT).
On a national level, systematic use of SUE should result “in a minimum national savings of approximately $1 billion per year,” according to the study. In short, they conclude, “SUE should be used in a systemic manner, i.e. on virtually every project.”
But how does SUE help save so much on a project? 
As we mentioned before, SUE combines the most critical utility locating techniques into one cohesive process. At Blood Hound, we have a three-step SUE process:

  • Utility Locating
    Unlike public utility companies who only locate the facilities they own (think: utilities that run meter to main like electric, gas, oil, sewer, telephone, and water), we locate and mark any and all underground utilities and structures.
  • Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR)
    GPR is one of the most effective technologies used in geological surveys, construction, environmental studies, and re-construction projects. With GPR, we get real-time visuals, as well as approximate depths of facilities that can't be located by traditional methods. 
  • Vacuum Excavation
    A fast, easy way to get visuals of utilities without the risk of shovels, so your crew can excavate more efficiently. The more congested an area is, the more vacuum excavation can help you.

So whether you’re aiming to minimize delays, avoid risk, or mitigate the liability that can result from damaged underground utilities, using SUE will save you time, money, and headaches.
Click here to schedule work, or give us a call at 888.858.9830 to talk more about our SUE services.