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Subsurface Utility Engineering

  • Permit Acquisitions
  • Utility Records Investigations
  • Utility Inventories
  • Field Designations (Marking)
  • Air Vacuum Utility Test Holes/Pits
  • Air Vacuum Trenching


  • Field Surveyed Locating Services
  • Ground Penetrating Radar Services
  • Utility Location Sketches
  • SUE Reports
  • Utility Mapping



Subsurface Utility Engineering Services From AB Consultants, Inc.

Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) is one of the most common services we provide here at AB. Our Baltimore and Washington, D.C.-based SUE crews are made up of experienced utility designators and locators who understand the most effective techniques and technologies. Our SUE department is ranked ASCE level A-D thanks to our commitment to quality, education and training.

Before breaking ground on a new project, it’s our responsibility to ensure we aren’t digging anywhere near crucial utility lines, such as water, gas, internet and power lines. Our SUE department uses specific methods, tools and technologies in order to locate these utility lines and ensure the safety of everyone involved.


AB’s SUE Services: ASCE Quality Levels A-D

Our SUE department is ranked to provide all ASCE quality levels, A-D. The quality level you need will depend on your unique project and specifications. In general, here is what you can expect from each package:

  • Quality Level D: ASCE quality level D involves base data collection from existing sources, such as utility documents and oral histories. Since most existing documents are not accurate enough for complete utility mapping, we typically offer this level at the start of project planning and route assessments. We almost always suggest continuing on to higher quality levels as a project progresses.
  • Quality Level C: In quality level C, utility mapping is completed by comparing surveys of visible utilities conducted by AB’s crews to the data found in utility documents. We then use that data to map underground utilities and locations. Quality level C is the most common quality level in SUE work, especially in rural areas.
  • Quality Level B: This quality level utilizes geophysical methods to identify the location of subsurface utilities horizontally. Quality level B SUE work is ideal for filling in gaps from utility records that may be inaccurate.
  • Quality Level A: Quality level A services are at the top of the pyramid and considered the most accurate level of SUE work. This level involves utilizing all SUE services and technology, including vacuum excavation, to pinpoint the precise location of any underground utilities. This level of work will also reveal details about the size, condition, material and purpose of subsurface utilities.


Utility Designating and Utility Mapping Using Air-Vacuum Excavation and Top-of-the-Line Equipment

Utility designating and mapping are the core of all SUE projects, which is why we use state-of-the-art technology like our ground penetrating radar (GPR) to get the job done. AB’s SUE crews have been trained on the most efficient ways to use the most updated technology, which allows us to complete projects faster and with increased accuracy.

The SUE department essentially follows three steps for each project.

    1. Research

Office support staff in this division performs research for existing utilities within the project site and obtain existing utility records from the relevant utility companies.

    1. Designation

In the designation step, our field staff will use the data provided by office staff to verify its validity and confirm the presence of any nearby utilities with tools such as the GPR.

    1. Test Holes

Once we have confirmed the horizontal location of the utility line, we will create air-vacuum utility test holes in the ground to determine its depth.

Our utility crew members have all completed the necessary training to accurately locate test pits horizontally and vertically, as well as to conduct traffic maintenance and flagging operations.

Contact AB for More Information About Our Subsurface Utility Engineering Services

To learn more about AB’s SUE services and how we can contribute to the success of your project, contact us today. We proudly serve clients in Maryland, Washington, D.C., Delaware and Virginia.


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