How Land Surveyors Reveal What's Beneath Your Feet

Eugene Vargas

If you have a large parcel of land, you may want to develop it. But before you go too far, you need to know what you're dealing with and, specifically, what is beneath your feet. Why is this important, and what methods can you use to conduct such an investigation?

Shooting in the Dark

Unless you have extensive records and can get in touch with a range of different utility providers in your area, you may not know whether pipes, cables or conduits sit underneath your new land. Yet, you need to dig down to start developing your property and must identify these subterranean threats before you can even begin the design phase.

Understanding the Challenge

You'll be amazed at the type of infrastructure you can find under the average plot of land today. This array could include fibre-optic cables, electrical conduit, water pipes, sewer pipes, stormwater drains and gas utilities. You may find some tell-tale signs dotted around your property, such as a maintenance hole or other access point, but if not, assume that you have all of the above before you do anything.

Using the Right Tools

To make life easier, you need to bring in a land surveyor who has the latest equipment and will be able to tell, with conviction, what you're dealing with. For example, they may have a ground-penetrating radar device that looks like a walk-behind lawnmower. This machine can accurately detect and position both deep and shallow targets simultaneously, gathering information very quickly, no matter how difficult the environment. It's connected to a remote tablet device and will promptly map the underground scene for you.

Surveyors can also use an electromagnetic locator or a trace rod depending on the nature of the challenge and whether you have any existing evidence of pipes. Devices like this will tell you if any of the underground utilities are actually live or not, which should also have a bearing on your plans.

Avoiding Perils

Remember, you cannot afford to press ahead without knowing what you face. If you damage an underground utility, this could lead to service interruption elsewhere and negative feedback. You may face unwanted costs and damage to your reputation, and you want to avoid this at all costs.

Bringing in the Experts

Get in touch with a land surveyor and ask them what they can do to help. They will likely bring the latest equipment and, combined with their expertise, will quickly provide you with all the evidence you need.