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PAS 256 is here! Increasing the quality, accuracy and reliability of data for buried infrastructure

11 April 2017

Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has sponsored the development of a Publically Available Specification (PAS) which gives recommendations for capturing, recording, maintaining and sharing location information and data for buried assets

PAS 256 is here! Increasing the quality, accuracy and reliability of data for buried infrastructure
Image credit: Shutterstock

The UK has a vast network of utility and local authority infrastructure, with over 1.5 million km of assets buried beneath highways and footways of the nation.

To repair, maintain and upgrade this, the utility industry and the Local Highways Authorities collectively undertake a total of over 3.5 million street works per annum.

In recent years, with the growing concern over the level of traffic congestion, efforts have been made to improve the administration procedures for street works and to encourage utilities to minimise their work in the street.

However, despite some progress, there remains no central repository of data for buried services and underground apparatus, nor any consistent means of sharing the required data. Utilities that hold data on their own infrastructure do so in different formats – some vector-based, some on paper drawings, some on microfiche – which makes coordination of information challenging, costly and bureaucratic.

Recognising this and using existing legislation, Institution of Civil Engineers in collaboration with BSI and Infrastructure UK in HM Treasury has developed a national common code of practice (PAS) on buried apparatus that can be implemented across the UK.

Improving the ready availability and exchange of asset information, together with more effective and collaborative planning and coordination will lead to better planned road works resulting in significant cost savings; more effective reinstatement practices; longer pavement life; and improved quality of advance information, readily available to all who need to see it.

Ultimately the new PAS can support the creation of a co-ordinated digital map using real world location and deliver a step change in how effective, managed data supports improved planning, co-ordination and delivery.

Who is this PAS for?

It will be used by organisations that own buried assets, those that require asset records for planning and design purposes, and those that carry out work in the vicinity of buried assets.

Aims of the PAS and why you should use it

The data recommendations in the PAS will help to increase public safety, minimise delay, costs and disruption during street works and mitigate risks of damaging existing assets.

This PAS aims to provide the framework for those owning buried assets to:

  • drive towards improved accuracy when capturing and recording information
  • share more accurate records collaboratively with those working in the vicinity of their buried assets
  • improve the linkage between assets that are part of the critical national infrastructure with initiatives such as Smart Cities, and building information modelling (BIM)

This PAS sets out a consistent, accessible data protocol to enable effective recording and sharing of the location, state, and nature of buried assets, and recommends how existing asset records should be updated, recorded and collated.

This PAS will also cover:

  • the gathering of geospatial data using absolute or relative accuracy, plus associated evidence (such as photographic evidence);
  • measurable deviations from straight line installations, where appropriate;
  • the absolute depth of the asset;
  • the number of days to record and make available the asset data, once collected; and
  • the sharing of collected asset data.

PAS Launch at ICE

The PAS came into effect on 31 March 2017 and is being officially launched at ICE, One Great George Street on 11 April 2017 – register online today.

The PAS can be purchased from the BSI website.

  • Rabinder Phull, knowledge content producer at ICE