Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE)

SAM’s subsurface utility engineering services provide our clients with state of the art utility designating services designed to establish as-built site conditions, greatly enhancing project safety and minimizing expensive project delays and change orders. We use state-of-the-art geophysical sensing equipment to identify, designate, locate, and map existing and abandoned utility infrastructure. We recognize every site is different, so we bring a suite of equipment to your site, including magnetic, sonic, and acoustic technologies; ground penetrating radar; and radio frequency detection.

Experience at every level of service

SAM’s expertise dates back to the origins of SUE in the early 1980s. Since then, our engineers, surveyors, and technicians have developed sophisticated solutions to meet the four SUE quality levels.

  • Quality Level D: Record Research/Data Collection. Information is derived from records research or oral history. Quality Level D can provide a “feel” for the overall congestion of utilities, rather than a comprehensiveness solution.
  • Quality Level C: Visible Surface Feature Utility Survey. Utility surface feature data is obtained from surveying and plotting aboveground utility features. Level C data supplements Level D data and identifies omissions and errors in record information.
  • Quality Level B: Utility Designation. Our suite of surface geophysical sensing technologies is utilized to locate and mark underground utilities, and then tie their location  to project monuments.  Field data is then mapped onto plan documents,
  • Quality Level A: Underground Utility Locating (Test Hole). Utilities are safely exposed, measured, and mapped using nondestructive vacuum excavation equipment to establish precise horizontal and vertical location data.

Our SUE services are typically performed in accordance with ASCE CI-38-02, but can be modified to meet your needs.

Meet our team of industry-leading experts.

Key Services

  • Record Research / Data Collection
  • Visible Surface Feature Survey
  • Utility Locating and Marking
  • Non-Destructive Vacuum Excavation
  • CAD Plan Preparation
  • Utility Design/Specification
  • Utility Relocation Plans
  • Conflict Identification
  • Site Management


Fleet of Vacuum Extraction Equipment

We provide a full range of vacuum excavation “safe dig” services from large trucks to portable skid systems. This flexibility allows us to uncover and provide exact horizontal and vertical utility data in settings ranging from roadways to inaccessible right of ways to crowded plant locations.  Vacuum extraction technology allows the removed soils to be used as backfill. Our trucks come equipped with pneumatic tampers, and our crews are trained to provide numerous forms of site restoration.

Whether you’re looking for a cost-effective solution or the most accurate data to reduce project risks, SAM can help.