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Al-Bayati, A J and Panzer, L (2020) Reducing Damages to Underground Utilities: Importance of Stakeholders’ Behaviors. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 146(09).

  • Type: Journal Article
  • Keywords:
  • ISBN/ISSN: 0733-9364
  • URL: https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)CO.1943-7862.0001899
  • Abstract:
    Vital services like clean water, sewer, and electricity utilize underground infrastructure. Unfortunately, many damages to underground utilities are happening during the course of construction activities. Therefore, there is a need for a greater understanding of damage causes to better manage risks to underground utilities during construction work. Understanding the root causes will help stakeholders and policymakers make the best possible decisions to reduce future damages. In this study, utility locators’ perspectives regarding the damage causes and overall prevention process were collected, analyzed, and compared to excavators’ perspectives and responses that were previously reported. Surprisingly, the results suggest that stakeholders’ behaviors (i.e., human factor), rather than technology limitations or current policies, significantly contribute to a breakdown of the damage prevention process. Specifically, communication between stakeholders, excavators’ behaviors, and locators’ working conditions have been identified as crucial factors in the damage prevention process. There are few, if any, empirical studies that have recognized the human factor as a contributing element to utility damages. Thus, the findings will help improve future policy development. In addition, the clear and detailed description of damage causes and prevention processes will help stakeholders understand the contribution of their behaviors to the damage prevention process, which will result in a more reliable and workable process.