Australia has an Australian Standard for the classification of subsurface utility information (SUI) (AS 5488-2013). Its purpose is to create a common way of specifying the exact location and nature of a huge range of underground infrastructure, provide guidance on how information on subsurface infrastructure should be collected and how it should be conveyed to those who need it.
The new standard has been prepared by Standards Australia Committee IT-036, Subsurface Utility Engineering Information, made up of several organisations with an interest in the issue. These included Dial Before You Dig and the National Utility Locating Contractors Association (NULCA), who have played a significant role in ensuring that the standard is truly Australian and not simply a replication of the US standard.
The published standard is aims to improve public safety, reduce costly property damage and provide much more accurate information on the location, type and condition of subsurface utility infrastructure than has been available in the past. In addition to setting out a standard way of specifying the location of subsurface infrastructure it also provides guidance on how this information should be collected and on how it should be conveyed to those who need to use it.
It contains an extensive list of asset types and a suggested colour code for how different types of asset should be identified. However it does not specify how subsurface assets are identified on maps, plans and electronic records in terms of symbols, line types or colours. It notes that such depiction is the prerogative of the organisation that owns the asset.
The published AS 5488 – 2013 is available from SAI Global.
In Accordance with AS 5488, the standards for locating and marking underground services
are split up into four classes:
QL-(A) sighted, must be located, then potholed. Utility must be physically sighted and measured.
QL-(B) traced, laterally, with depth detail, between two known points (i.e. two man holes)
QL-(C) aligned from surface features,
QL-(D) any other method (E.g. DBYD plans only)
This allows all operators on the project to understand the accuracy of the site location and map data when carrying out any kind of planning and excavation works.
It can also reduce costs by pre-planning on projects.