From the magazine

The trials of a trenchless world

Prior to any sort of underground work, you need to make sure that you are aware of where all the underground services are located. This seems to be a relatively simple task where you dial 1100 Dial Before You Dig and get all the necessary plans for your area.

It is at this point that you really need to take note and make sure that you are not heading into danger. Unfortunately not all the plans are up to date nor are they “÷as built’. This can leave you quite exposed and liable. It is imperative that you make sure that you have identified and located all services.

In a perfect world this would be easy, unfortunately we do not live in a perfect world and to make it worse we live in an ever changing world. The truth of the matter is that not all services are easy to locate and not all services can be located with the same device. To locate services a number of different locating systems are needed.

Training and associations

Naturally there are many different types of locators and there are even more different manufacturers. The important task is to make sure you deal with a reputable dealer, someone who is experienced in the business and who offers product training and is up to date with the latest innovations.

If you are going to offer your services as a contract locator you need to make sure that you have the relevant qualifications. Currently there is a very good course that has been developed by NULCA (National Utility Locating Contractors Association). This course is being delivered by JB Hunter Technology and is something we can recommend to all who intend joining this business.

We would also recommend joining NULCA, as they will offer assistance and support for you going forward. The principles of SebaKMT AUS have been involved with NULCA since the early days and their industry support is worthwhile. One of the principals of the company in the United States is actually a director of NULCA USA.

Locating a solution

Making the choice between different types of locators is a seemingly difficult task. The trick here is to have an understanding of what it is you are trying to do. You need to be aware that there is no such thing as a total solution in one box. You need to make sure that you do understand the limitations that various materials place in different locating techniques.

Again we come back to making sure that you deal with a supplier who is well versed in what it is you are trying to do and who has a number of different options that can assist you. What can locate plastic pipes? What does cast iron do to a signal? These are but a few of the questions to be answered.

Let’s start with plastic pipes, your standard pipe and cable locator cannot find them as they need ferrous metal. You can use a push rod with a metal thread or cable in it. You could also have a push rod with a sonde on the end. A sonde is a small transmitter that a pipe and cable locator can detect. If you have the right CCTV inspection system you could also use this.

You could also use ground penetrating radar (GPR). GPR has been around for many years; however it has not always been very successful. The reason for this is the need to interpret what you are seeing on the screen. Over recent years, improvements have been made in the software that the GPR comes with and a lot of the interpretation is done for you. We cannot emphasise enough however, that if you are to consider a GPR, you need to make sure that the people you talk to fully understand the operation of GPR.

Like all methods of locating, GPR has its limitations. Unfortunately there are a lot of people out there in sales who do not fully understand this themselves. You also need to make sure that if you are buying a GPR it comes with factory-backed training and service and that all service is completed here in Australia.

The same can be said for pipe and cable locators. There are many different themes and variations out there, but, which one is right for you? Here is where it is important to make sure you are dealing with someone who knows what he or she is talking about.

You can spend many thousands of dollars and not end up with the right locator for you or your job. Again it is important to make sure that the supplier offers full training services and that they are able to service the equipment with factory trained technicians here in Australia.

Once you have checked for all the underground utilities and have successfully installed the ducting, your customer may want you to show that the route is clear of any obstructions. It is now you will need a CCTV inspection system.

Here again the market has many types to choose from. Knowledge, reliability and ruggedness are the operative words here. You also need to be sure that the system is easily serviced. Due to the environment that you are pushing the camera through, it is possible to have problems and you don’t want to have to wait weeks for a simple fix.

SebaKMT AUS can answer all your needs for the above. SebaKMT AUS is a distributor of MALA GPR and has factory trained trainers and technicians. The SebaKMT Locating Group also manufactures pipe and cable locators under the brand names Metrotech and Vivax. They also manufacture a range of CCTV inspection systems under the Vivax brand name.

All the equipment that SebaKMT AUS sells is backed up with factory training and fully trained technicians for service. The SebaKMT AUS people have many years experience in this industry and can offer second to none support. When you are next thinking about the world under the ground give SebaKMT AUS a call or visit

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