Development of AS CE’s Ninth Institute

On October 1, 2016, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) approved a new “provisional” Institute to begin operation. If all goes well, the Utility Engineering and Surveying Institute (UESI) will “graduate” from a provisional status (meaning the ASCE Board oversees the budget) to a full Institute status on October 1, 2017. UESI represents the ninth specialty institute of ASCE, joining the Architectural Engineering Institute; Coasts, Oceans, Ports, and Rivers Institute; Construction Institute; Engineering Mechanics Institute; Environmental & Water Resources Institute; Geo-Institute; Structural Engineering Institute; and the Transport-ation & Development Institute. These Institutes, along with the Technical Divisions (Aerospace, Changing Climate, Cold Regions, Computing, Energy, Forensic Engineering, Infrastructure Resilience, and Wind Engineering) represent technical “Practice Areas” of Civil Engineering. Of significant importance is that “Utility Engineering” is now included as a recognized practice area.

UESI was created by bringing together ASCE’s Pipeline Division, Geomatics Division, and the Utility Engineering Committee (of the Construction Institute) into a single entity. UESI offers civil engineering and surveying professionals working within the utility and pipelines engi-neering and the surveying communities a recognizable home which they can join to collectively work to improve our profession. Specific goals are:

• Advancing engineering and technical practices for managing “cradle- to-grave” life-cycles of utility systems
• Facilitating effective coordination among utility infra-structure operators and owners, and managers of other civil infrastructure
• Promoting Utility Engineering as a recognized Civil Engineering practice
• Promoting effective surveying and data management practices in Civil Engineering
• Enhancing the role of Utility Engineers and Engineering Surveyors in the development and delivery of Civil Engineering projects

To accomplish these goals, a structure was created that consisted of a Board, several Board Committees, and six Technical Divisions. Each Technical Division has Standing Committees and Task Committees. Currently, UESI has about 2,000 members that populate these com-mittees. Our goal is to grow the Institute membership to 6,000 people by 2020.

One of the first questions that UESI had to answer was, “What is Utility Engineering?” When looking in Android’s default dictionary, Utility Engineering did not show up, whereas environ- mental, traffic, wood, structural, etc. all had definitions. UESI developed the definition of Utility Engineering as follows:

Utility Engineering is a branch of Civil Engineering that focuses on the planning, design, con-struction, operation, maintenance, and asset management of any and all utility systems, as well as the interaction between utility infrastructure and other civil infrastructure.

UESI has more than 30 manuals of practice, two highly respected academic journals, annual conferences, webinars, workshops, and standards. It is current working on model language for state One Call “Design” tickets as one of its newer activities.

If you would like to join and help make a difference, please consider doing so; you don’t have to be an engineer or surveyor to belong. Visit the website at or contact John Segna, Institute Director, at or President-Elect Jim Anspach at

James Anspach PG (ret), F.ASCE, is Director of Utility Market & Practice Development for Cardno’s Utility Engineering and Survey Practice. He is considered a principal founder of the profession of subsurface utility engineering and an authority on standard of care issues for the utility damage prevention industry and the practice of subsurface utility engineering.


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