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Al-Bayati, A J and Panzer, L (2019) Reducing Damage to Underground Utilities: Lessons Learned from Damage Data and Excavators in North Carolina. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 145(12).
- Type: Journal Article
- ISBN/ISSN: 0733-9364
- URL: https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)CO.1943-7862.0001724
Damages to underground utilities are unfortunately a common occurrence on many construction projects. Damaging an underground utility during construction often leads to work delay, road closures, social costs, and safety accidents. Through a combination of damage data analysis and a construction practitioner survey, this paper examined the current deficiencies in damage prevention efforts as well as the possible root causes. Understanding the current root causes that contribute the most to underground utility damages presents opportunities to reduce future damages. The analyses presented in this paper are the result of a survey completed by 477 excavators who experienced the current damage prevention efforts. Data on 11,160 damages in the state of North Carolina were collected and analyzed. The key contributions of the study include, among others, recommendations to improve education material, tailoring construction firms’ plans to address locating delay and inaccuracy, and improving utility owners’ locating efforts. Accordingly, the findings can help the industry improve its efforts to reduce the damages to underground utilities and enhance the performance of construction projects.