U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590

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Selecting a Provider

FHWA recommends consideration of the following, not necessarily all-inclusive, criteria when selecting a SUE provider:

  • Providers of SUE services should be able to:
    • Demonstrate a thorough knowledge and understanding of designating, locating, and data management activities,
    • Provide designating and locating services to the extent desired by the contracting agency,
    • Survey SUE data acquired during the designating and locating phases to project control and transfer it into the contracting agency's CADD system and/or onto its plans.
  • Individuals assigned by the SUE provider to carry out the work should be well trained, experienced, and capable.
    • Individuals in responsible charge of the work and responsible for certifying deliverables should be engineers and land surveyors employed by the SUE provider in accordance with State professional registration requirements.
    • The project manager should have previously been involved in the management of one or more SUE contracts and must be available to commit sufficient time to the project.
    • Other team members should have previously been involved in SUE designating, locating, surveying, and/or mapping activities.
  • Resources of the provider should be adequate to carry out the SUE work in a timely manner, considering other possible commitments of work and the contracting agency's anticipated needs, including a possible need for work on several projects to take place simultaneously.
  • A wide range of equipment is necessary to detect the variety of underground utilities that may be present. Equipment available for utilization by the provider should include, but not be limited to, the following:
    • ELF, VLF, LF electromagnetics, magnetometers, terrain conductivity meters, resonant sonics, and other geophysical designating equipment,
    • Vacuum excavation or comparable nondestructive locating equipment,
    • State-of-the-art surveying and data recording equipment,
    • Software systems compatible with the contracting agency's CADD system.
  • Providers of SUE should have:
    • The financial capacity to provide the required services,
    • Measures of protection for the contracting agency against errors and omissions of data collection, interpretation, and management.
  • Providers of SUE services should be able to provide:
    • Vertical data accurate to within ± 15 mm (0.05 ft),
    • Horizontal data accurate to applicable survey standards.
  • Providers of SUE services should carry adequate insurance covering all aspects of the work. Minimum amounts should be in accordance with the contracting agency's requirements.
Updated: 06/27/2017
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000