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Avoiding Damage to underground & overhead utility assets


The prevention of damage, like safety, is a shared responsibility. That is why it is critical that all stakeholders are aware of the potential hazards, legislative requirements and best practices associated with working in the vicinity of utility assets.

Avoiding Damage to underground & overhead utility assets

In the utility industry, we often hear statements like “Damage prevention is a shared responsibility” or “enhanced communication prevents damages.” These, along with many others, are powerful guidelines to avoiding damage to underground services as well as overhead utility assets.

Stakeholders include anyone who engages in or is responsible works disturbing the ground and may include: contractors, homebuilders, landscapers, asset owners, councils, homeowners, farmers, consultants, railway operators, architects and developers; this list is not exhaustive!

Ground disturbance can take many different forms, including: excavation, digging, fencing, trenching, sub soiling, directional drilling, augering, tunnelling or boring, ditch works, topsoil stripping, landscaping, tree planting, blasting, and driving posts, bars or anchors.

For a powerful insight into how prevention of damage to utility assets is on the international agenda,  a recent article regarding a military base in the USA summarising the issues they experienced is available here.  Anyone who will be disturbing ground has to check their works against utility assets. These assets include hundreds of thousands of kilometres of underground and overhead pipes and cables in the electricity, gas, high pressure fuel, water and fibre optic networks.

Locating all utility lines before works commence can help ensure that you;

  • Avoid the harm to you and your teams caused by striking utility assets
  • Avoid the disruption to the general public and asset owners from disrupting supplies
  • Avoid significant financial implications
  • Save time and money.

By using a service like LinesearchbeforeUdig (LSBUD), all involved can work more safely and efficiently, saving disruption and delays to works and asset networks.  It helps ensure compliance with necessary legislative requirements and best practice for safe working.

LinesearchbeforeUdig (LSBUD) is a free to use online search service that any individual (“User”) can use to check their works against over 50 asset owners’ (“Members”) utility assets. These assets include hundreds of thousands of kilometres of underground and overhead pipes and cables in the electricity, gas, high pressure fuel, water and fibre optic networks. The service processes over 1.6 million enquiries per annum- that’s more than one every 20 seconds.

The service can be broken down into three easy steps-

  • You provide a few details of your works and submit a free online enquiry
  • You receive an instant response showing which of our registered asset owners (“Members”) have assets near your site
  • Our registered asset owners send you the plans of their assets relevant for your area, in accordance with their processes.

LSBUD Members respond in a variety of different ways; many will respond automatically while others may request further information.

“We see millions of diligent searches being made through our service helping prevent utility damage and cable strikes every year. Whilst through our commitment and work with the Utility Strike Avoidance Group ( we recognise that there is no silver bullet for eliminating these issues, we must learn from internationally recognised best practices to help us reduce them. LSBUD is developed on both the OneCall principle and the market leading software established in many countries including the USA, Canada, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand where the principle of a ‘OneCall’ system is the recognised first step to utility strike avoidance.”

Richard Broome, Managing Director of LSBUD

For more information about LinesearchbeforeUdig (LSBUD) call us on +44 845 437 7365 or visit the website and complete our contact form.

Please note that not all asset owners are LSBUD Members and whilst the LSBUD service will help you identify them by supplying contact details etc. it is your responsibility to identify and contact all asset owners within your search area.


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