More than 50 million miles of underground utilities exist in the USA. Existing utilities are at varying depths, in varied soils, made of different materials, are varied sizes and have varied access. The importance of accurately locating and depicting existing underground utilities comes more obvious each day to ensure successful construction projects.

It has been reported that at least 70% of projects experience delays and budget overruns due to utility conflicts. The 2018 Common Ground Alliance (CGA) Technical Report cited an upward trend in total damage from 439,000 in 2017 to 509,000 in 2018, representing a 16 percent increase. Inaccurate utility information means increased risk of utility hits. Late utility relocation raises public safety risks due to longer-lasting work zones and exposure to worker strikes and striking a utility line occurs every minute somewhere in the USA.

We must have an industry paradigm shift to reverse this trend. The industry is experiencing too much property damage and loss of lives. TTC has responded to this crisis by partnering with ASCE UESI to offer the 5-day Utility Investigation School (UIS).

TTC was established over 30 years ago as an Industry/University/Government Cooperative Research Center to advance the science and practice of trenchless technology (TT) through research, education and technology transfer. TTC hosted its first 2020 Utility Investigations School (UIS) developed with ASCE's Utility Engineering and Surveying Institute (UESI) on March 26, 2020.

The class was intended to address the two performance goals of ASCE 38: how can a project be designed so as to have minimal utility issues during project development, and how can the professionals protect themselves against utility-related claims. TTC/UESI UIS provided attendees the knowledge and tools to provide competent utility investigations in accordance with accepted national standards.

Jim Anspach, Chair ASCE 38 and 2018 UESI President developed the school curriculum. The course covered geophysics, utility systems construction and configuration, ASCE 38 risk based presentations and professional liability issues. In addition to the classroom lectures, a practical session was held where participants were offered hands-on experience with the Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), Pipe Cable Locator (PCL), and etc.

A total of 20 students attended this school from A/I/DATA, Cobb Fendley & Associates Inc., Ground Penetrating Radar Systems, LLC (GPRS), KCI Technologies, Inc., NTB Associates, Inc., Procimec, SJB Group, LLC, Stiffler McGraw, Surveying & Mapping, LLC (SAM), and Upper Trinity Regional Water District. Sensors & Software Inc. and ImpulseRadar US were the industry partners and sponsors for this School.