The U.K. has not had access to good statistics on underground utility strikes similar to the Common Ground Alliance in North America. Since 2014 the Utility Strike Avoidance Group (USAG) has begun collecting statistics on underground utility damage. USAG currently operates on a voluntary basis with no direct funding other than the support offered by member organizations. Its 2015/2016 report includes over 2700 utility strikes across the UK during 2015 & 16 from 32 participants. For comparison in the U.S. there were 316,422 incidents of damage to underground infrastructure reported to the Common Ground Alliance in 2017. According to the Japan Construction Industry Association (Edson Enohi personal communication), in all of Japan in 2016 there were 134 incidents.
A process to update the 2014 Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 128, has just been initiated. PAS 128, developed under the auspices of the British Standards Institution (BSI) and sponsored by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and others, is one of the few that reflects the advances in underground detection technology - hardware and software - that have occurred in the last few years. That it is now being updated suggests that PAS128 will continue to stay current with the underground detection technology curve.
As we are reminded by the recent underground utility hits in San Francisco, CA, Durham, NC, and Calgary, Alberta, not knowing the location underground utilities represents a serious risk for the public. There are 400,000 hits per year in the U.S. alone. Standards for reporting the reliability of the locational information about underground utilities have been in place for decades but these standards do not reflect recent advances in underground utility detection technology. In the U.S. the 2003 ASCE 38-02 ,which is been used for classifying the quality of location information about underground infrastructure, is widely seen as being out of date. In France the 2012 presidential decree defines three explicit levels of cartographic accuracy for underground structures: A - less than 40 centimeters, B - 40 centimeters to 1.5 meters, and C - greater than 1.5 meters. In Canada the CSA S250 (2011) standard also specifies absolute precision with three different quality levels for exposed utilities and one for remote sensed detection. In the UK the 2014 Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 128, developed under the auspices of the British Standards Institution (BSI) and sponsored by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and others, not only includes the A,B, C, D quality levels of the U.S. standard, but extends it with explicit precision levels B1 to B4 similar in this respect to the French decree and the Canadian S250 standard. I have just had a chance to chat with Andy Rhoades who was responsible for locating and mapping underground infrastructure at Heathrow airport for many years and is now leading the process to update PAS128. Andy told me that this process will kickoff in a couple of weeks with a target of completion roughly six weeks after that. 1e1e36bf2d