02:20 PM - 03:30 PM
9 November 2021

UESI Panel Discussion #2: ASCE’s Utility‐Related Standards and the Legal Implications

This session is a preview of the next edition of ASCE Standard 38, Standard Guideline for Investigating and Documenting Existing Utilities, and the new ASCE Standard 75, Standard Guideline for Recording and Exchanging Utility Infrastructure Data.

Utility‐related issues during construction have historically been the cause of billions of dollars in cost overruns, claims, redesign costs and significant project schedule delays. Existing utilities are complex intertwined utility networks ‐ a system of systems. Complete, accurate, and comprehensive utility investigations early in project development enable effective risk management decisions by designers and constructors. ASCE 38 addresses technologies and practices which, when coupled with professional judgment, allow project stakeholders to develop strategies to address utility location uncertainties in a defined and predictive manner.

ASCE 75 is intended to provide non‐binding guidance to assist right‐of‐way and utility owners in establishing their own standards. The standard guideline specifies essential elements for the documenting the location and attributes of underground and aboveground utility infrastructure. This includes a particular focus on the documentation of newly installed or exposed infrastructure. The intent of the standard guideline is to present a common definition for communicating the positional accuracy of utility assets and define a minimum set of data attributes necessary to communicate the position along with the type, function, ownership, materials, status, and other information related to the asset.

Finally, this session concludes with a legal perspective on the implications for owners and how ASCE 38 and ASCE 75 can help.

Learning Objective(s):

  • Appreciate that the Engineering team may incur liability for stakeholders not party to the contract.
  • Understand that our hidden infrastructure is significant in scope and poor in documentation.
  • Recognize ASCE has developed standards to protect the engineering team from issues encountered on their project from existing utilities.



  • Jim Anspach, PG (r), Dist.M.ASCE
  • Phil Meis, P.E., M.ASCE
  • Brenda Reigle, Executive Director - NUCA of Pennsylvania