Improving visibility and resilience of our buried services: creating an industry standard

Industry needs to agree on a consistent approach for recording and sharing information on what assets are buried underneath our streets.

Improving visibility and resilience of buried services
Improving visibility and resilience of buried services

For generations, we have failed to adequately record and map the location of our underground assets, causing inconvenience and safety risks to workers, as well as the general public.

Although good practice is being developed and followed, there is still much more that we can do to improve the visibility and resilience of our buried services.

ICE is therefore working with BSI and other stakeholders to develop an industry standard PAS for recording and sharing the location, state and nature of buried assets.

Why do we need this new standard?

The aim of developing the PAS is to define a consistent approach to effectively record and share information on buried assets and, importantly, whether they are in use.

The benefits of doing so would:

  • Improve safety for the public and operatives carrying out works
  • Reduce disruption caused by works on underground assets
  • Reduce the number of asset strikes to increase the continuity of supply and integrity of underground assets
  • Reduce the environmental impact and costs to asset owners, highway users, businesses and the local community

This new PAS will not replace or comment on existing legislation, but provide a code of practice to implement the requirements. It will build on the existing legislation of New Roads and Street Works Act (NRSWA) and take the next step forward from PAS 128: Specification for underground utility detection, verification and location (2014).

What did PAS 128 achieve?

PAS 128 set out the accuracy to which the data should be captured, the quality expected of the data and a means by which to assess and indicate the confidence that can be placed in the data. Watch the recorded lecture of the PAS 128 launch.

By delivering this new PAS, what do we hope to achieve?

By specifying a common industry standard, this would incentivise regulators and asset owners to coordinate and collaborate on:

  • the collection and sharing of location information data;
  • agreement of consistent data protocols to be used; and,
  • How existing asset records should be updated, recorded and collated.

Equally, it would:

  • Specify the requirements to improve the storing of buried services data;
  • Over time, standardise the format in which records are kept to enable effective sharing;
  • Set a structure for Historic records; and,
  • Improve the quality of data captured when working on underground assets.

How will we be doing this?

We will be working with BSI to create a 'balanced' Steering Group, consisting of representatives of all sectors who have an interest in the PAS from the asset owners, geo-teams, facilities, utilities, to the regulators and local authorities and more.

The intention of this PAS is to state the need for change, provide a potential scope to be included, an indication of the business case for the justification of this PAS and what could be implemented.

If you feel you have the relevant experience and are interested in participating on the Steering Group, or becoming part of a wider stakeholder group, please contact Adam Kirkup on 020 7665 2262 or email adam.kirkup@ice.org.uk.

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