The hidden cost of utility strikes

Many people are aware of the legislation surrounding safe excavation, underpinned by the requirement to have a comprehensive and up to date set of utility records available to site staff when they are excavating. But we still hear lots of stories of utility strikes associated with an absence of any records…. 

What is often overlooked is the economic impact of utility strikes. The mantra is simple, as well as risk of serious injury, damaging utility apparatus can have other serious impacts:

  • Costly utility repairs – utility companies look to recover the costs associated with 3rd party damage. These can be significant, and they pursue cost recovery vigorously!
  • Loss of production – it is common for the repair activity to impact site works leading to costly project delays.
  • Damage to equipment and machinery – its not just people at risk of injury, often site equipment involved in utility damage can require repair or urgent maintenance.
  • Disruption of utility services to local home and businesses – as well as the direct financial cost of a utility strike it is not uncommon for claims to be made against companies for equipment damage or disruption caused by a utility strike. As well as the financial impact, there is the reputational impact to organisations.

So utility damage can lead to not just delays on your project but costly repairs, protracted claims and increased insurance premiums.

A utility search is a cost effective and obvious starting point for any type of works, whether it be new development, demolition or an infrastructure project.

In order to avoid utility strikes, the Utility Strike Avoidance Group (USAG) suggest an explicit action:

  • Better preparation in advance of works commencing, through availability of utility records supported by robust location and ground survey practices.

This USAG action is really a descriptor of PAS 128:2014 Specification for underground utility detection, verification and location. We are proud to be sponsors of PAS 128 and are involved in the current review and update of the standard. Our Premier Utility Search is PAS 128* QL-D and HSG47 compliance. This is the first stage in a four part process to enable you and your contractors to plan, design and work safely.

Our Utility Mapping Plans and Reports can save you time and money by helping you avoid costly strikes. We work to ensure our comprehensive utility searches are up-to-date with the frequent changes in utility ownership.  We currently make enquiries to over 40 utility companies to obtain their asset maps, including the independent network operators. They form the backbone of the essential first stage in the safety critical process for full utility location and identification, enabling you to plan, design and work safely.

Premier Energy are experts in utility services with 25 years unrivalled experience. Our cost-effective utility searches not only help avoid the hidden costs described earlier but can save you time and money on the administration costs associated with conducting in-house searches. We assess search responses received in terms of their proximity to the enquiry area using a red, amber and green system (RAG rating) making it easy to focus on the risks. Each search report includes a highlighted search area making it easier to identify your work zone on a utility record.

We also operate an online ordering system that is quick and easy to use. You can enter your search area, receive a cost summary and place an order within minutes. We also offer a variety turnaround times to meet your immediate needs. So whatever your requirement, from urgent requests to initial scoping, we have a suitable search available.

There is always a cost to conducting a utility search. Whether this be by your own in-house team, or a reputable search company such as Premier Energy. But the reality is that affordability doesn’t come into it when recognising the risks involved from a Health & Safety and economic perspective.  Weighing this up always lead to the conclusion that when it comes to utility searches, you can’t afford not to…….

If you have works planned and want to understand how we can help save you time and money then get in touch and talk to a member of our searches team. 

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