ASCE Utility Investigation Standards, Technology, and Legislation
Utility owners are rarely contractual parties to the infrastructure project development process, yet their existing pipes, cables, and support structures have significant effects on project risk, schedules, and budget. Reliance upon utility owner records for design base conditions has proven insufficient as these are often inadequate or incompatible with designer needs, especially within congested urban corridors.
Historically, engineers delegated the problem, through disclaimers and contract language, onto the contractor. This escalates project costs as contractor contingency rises to reactively address unforeseen utility issues, but more importantly, engineers forgo opportunities to proactively and strategically address base conditions that affect public health, safety, and welfare in the planning and design stages.
ASCE developed two standards, ASCE/UESI/CI 38-22 (ASCE 38) and ASCE/UESI/CI 75-22 (ASCE 75), to assist engineers in managing risk associated with utility infrastructure. Although a non-mandatory consensus standard it is considered a best practice in many states and Colorado (with minor additional language), has turned ASCE 38 into a statutorily required standard for all public projects disturbing more than 1,000 square feet and 2-feet of depth. The results from Colorado have Pennsylvania and other states following suit. The Engineers Joint Committee on Contract Documents (EJCDC) consisting of ASCE, NSPE, and ACEC also reference these standards as a basic engineering service.
ASCE 38 and ASCE 75, along with new technologies for cloud-based data management and geophysical methods for seeking out utilities, are driving new and untapped risk management strategies for project development. This session will present these two newly published utility standards, associated new technologies, and new legislative efforts to employ these best practices.