Existing utilities are at varied depths, in varied soils, made of varied materials, are varied sizes and have varied access. The importance of accurately locating and depicting existing underground utilities comes more obvious each day to ensure successful construction projects. It has been reported that at least 70% of projects experience delays and/or budget overruns due to utility conflicts. Inaccurate utility information means increased risk of utility hits. It is important that the underground infrastructure industry realize that the continued increase in the number of subsurface utility hits is unacceptable. Late utility relocation raises public safety risks due to longer-lasting work zones, and exposure to worker strikes and striking a utility line occurs every minute somewhere in the USA.

While at Purdue University, Dr. Tom Iseley has established a cooperative relationship with the Buried Asset Management Institute-International (BAMI-I), Utility Engineering and Surveying Institute (UESI) and Trenchless Technology Center (TTC) to address the issue.

Purdue University and the BAMI-I teamed up with the ASCE’S Utility Engineering and Surveying Institute (UESI) and conducted a five-day Utility Investigation School at the Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, MI in August. A total of 20 students attended this school from the Michigan Department of Transportation, Somat Engineering of Ohio, Inc., Utility Mapping Services, Inc., Colliers Engineering & Design, Kim Engineering, City of Kalamazoo, Ground Penetrating Radar Systems, LLC, OHM Advisors, NTH Consultants, Ltd, Lina T Ramey & Associates, Cobb, Fendley & Associates, Inc., Costello, Inc., HKS Utility Services, LLC, and NTH Consultants, Ltd.

Also, the Construction Engineering & Management (CEM) at the College of Engineering Purdue University & the ASCE’S Utility Engineering and Surveying Institute (UESI) conducted the 10th ASCE UESI / Purdue UIS School in 2021. This five-day School was held in September in West Lafayette, IN. One of Purdue CEM faculty (Prof. Hubo Cai), along with his graduate students, participated in the course and did the demo with their GPR unit. Prof. Cai made a presentation on his research projects regarding locating underground utility with GPR, which was directly related to the scope of this five-day school. People from six states participated in this short course. The class was intended to address the two performance goals of ASCE 38: How can a project be designed so as to have minimal utility issues during project development, and how can the professionals protect themselves against utilityrelated claims. The next UIS will be conducted on December 13-16, 2021 at the Colorado School of Mines (CSM) in Golden, Colorado.

The Trenchless Technology Center (TTC) at Louisiana Tech University (LA Tech) hosted it’s 4th Auger Boring School at its campus in Ruston, LA on Oct 25-29. For the second time, TTC partnered with the Construction Engineering and Management Department at Purdue University. The event was held at the BERT (Barbera Education, Research & Training) Facility. The BERT facility honors the past through the recognition of the contributions of the Barbera family (Leo & Jim) to the trenchless industry. It drives the future of the industry through the establishment of a world-class field training and research facility. This facility is available for the research, development, and training for the entire trenchless technology industry including TTC Specialty Schools such as Auger Boring School and Utility Investigation School. In addition, it is available for international equipment and material manufactures and technology providers for R&D and technology validation.

The five-day ABS provided attendees with the knowledge and background needed to understand the important components of Auger Boring (AB) operations required to produce successful projects. In addition to the classroom lectures, practical sessions were held where participants were offered hands-on experience with the AB equipment.

Most industry leaders agree that one of our underground industries greatest challenges today is a work force skilled and knowledgeable in disciplines related to our underground infrastructure. Construction Engineering & Management (CEM) at College of Engineering Purdue University has risen to the forefront to aggressively meet this challenge through the commitment to construct the first state-of-the-art underground field training facility at the Steel Bridge Research, Inspection, Training, and Engineering Center (S-BRITE) in West Lafayette, IN. The S-BRITE Center is part of the larger Center for Aging Infrastructure (CAI) which is almost 22 acres. This facility will be the industry’s resource to provide dedicated programs for:

• Work force development

• Professional development

• Undergraduate & graduate students

• Train the professors/instructors (2 & 4 year programs)

• Industry-University Cooperative Research Projects.

For more information regarding the S-BRITE Center, please contact Dr. Tom Iseley, or visit:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin