Planning Tools for the Future

The world’s aging infrastructure, expanding population and growing energy
demand are creating an environment that will keep horizontal directional
drilling contractors in high demand. At the same time, HDD contractors
face new challenges, as project owners demand more information and
detailed documentation to help keep our communities and installers safe.

More detailed information can take extra time to prepare and can seem
like a burden but it is a very important step in the process. Without proper
documentation, contractors could end up spending more time on a job than
planned or even put themselves at risk of a utility strike. To help cut down
the time it takes to create detailed reports and plans about your installation
job, and easily share your plans with others, consider investing in a digital planning tool.

Planning tools can help a variety of individuals, not limited to but including engineers, municipalities and drill operators.

Today, utility installation plans are often recorded on a stack of paper with handwritten notes; but with digital planning tools the amount of paper used and the potential to misplace records could be reduced. Additionally, digital
recording could add more accurate information, such as specific mapped GPS coordinates, more accurate potholed locations, locate positions and more.


Vermeer’s web-based software is one example of a tool that can help with bore planning. It was created to capture and mange electronic jobsite documentation in one place to easily share with others. With mapping technology, you
can mark utilities, plan bores in near real-time and export reports to better collaborate and save time before, during and after a job.

In addition to understanding what utilities already exist and keeping record of the utilities currently being installed, individuals may also need to construct detailed bore designs and test the install before any ground is physically touched. This can help with the safety of a bore job and the integrity of the install. Things that should be taken into consideration are the soil conditions where the utility will be installed, the type of product going in the ground
and the piece of equipment doing the install.

There is software available today that can run simulations with specified conditions. This software will take all inputs into consideration and generate a report with notable information, such as load calculations, pipe selection and drilling fluid requirements. This type of information can be very valuable in helping a contractor make proper plans and be more accurate with their record keeping and install. They will be able to better understand the stresses of the install and take into consideration particular industry best practices.

Adapting to unplanned issues on the jobsite can be difficult. The more you know about your bore path, the better. You can never be too prepared and by utilizing more advanced and accurate tools you should be better equipped to handle your future jobs.

Kayla Breja is a product marketing specialist with Vermeer Corporation and is involved in researching the utility installation market and bringing new products and training to the market. Kayla can be reached at

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