Subsurface Utility Engineering
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Standard Guidelines for the Collection and Depiction of Existing Subsurface Utility Data
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The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has developed a National Consensus Standard titled ASCE C-I 38-02, Standard Guidelines for the Collection and Depiction of Existing Subsurface Utility Data. This National Consensus Standard (NCS) follows the legal procedures for adoption as not only an ASCE standard, but also as an American National Standard Institute (ANSI) standard. The Justice system holds these standards in high regard, and courts and lawyers use these standards to assist in both defining a professional's standard of care and in adjudication of blame.
The standard committee's executive steering group was selected by the ASCE Board. Its members represented governmental agencies, the engineering profession, the construction profession, academia, and project ownership. Meetings were open to the public and were announced in Civil Engineering and Civil Engineering News magazines.
The intent of this standard is to present a system of classifying the quality of existing subsurface utility data. Such a classification will allow the project owner, engineer, and constructor to develop strategies to reduce risk, or at minimum, to allocate risk due to existing subsurface utilities in a defined manner. This document, as a handout or as part of a specification, may assist engineers, owners, and contractors in understanding utility quality level classifications and their allocations of risk.
The standard closely follows the concepts already in place in the subsurface utility engineering profession. Several state DOTs are therefore already in "compliance" with this standard through their use of Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) consultants, or their inclusion of SUE specifications in their engineering contracts. Most states with current SUE programs will probably want to modify them to be more closely in synch with the standard, and states with no program will probably want to protect themselves by including this standard by reference in their contract documents.
In general, the standard contains provisions such that:
The NTSB, AGC, ASCE, FHWA, NUCA, NRC, and many other organizations are firmly behind this standard development and implementation. This standard will be in place by the close of 2002 and that case law will be cited within the following two years.
Additional information on this standard and its anticipated impact on the engineering and DOT community is available via any of the standard committee's executive steering group.
The ASCE standard, "ASCE C-I 38-02, Standard Guideline for the Collection and Depiction of Existing Subsurface Utility Data," is available for purchase from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The price is $44.00 per copy. There is a 50% discount for purchases of 100 copies or more. There is also a fee for shipping & handling. To obtain copies of the standard, please contact:
Mr. Will Farnam
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