Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE)

WGE provides professional Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) management and coordination throughout all phases of a project lifecycle to improve design, delivery and asset management and ensure that construction works are planned effectively.

We follow internationally recognised approaches of a comprehensive surveying strategy and mapping solution to identify subsurface utilities and provide a permanent record of infrastructure and assets for surface and subsurface environments. This approach is known to improve asset management and informed planning of construction works.

Upgrading AS5488 Subsurface Utility Engineering

WGE is working to upgrade AS5488 to be consistent with standards that have been operating successfully in the USA, UK, Canada, Malaysia and Ecuador for many years. The upgrade will bring significant benefits to the industry including:

  • Cost savings of between $4 and $12 during construction for every $1 spent during the design phase (based on studies undertaken by Purdue and Toronto Universities)
  • Improved safety through reduced utility strikes (as witnessed elsewhere in the world where there are meaningful standards for the engineering management of utilities)
  • Fewer project delays
  • Improved environmental outcomes
  • Improved underground database of information

The current AS5488 is limited in its coverage of utility management and has had little buy-in from utility and project owners since coming to the market in 2013. The main difference with the revised standard will be the focus on the engineering management of subsurface utilities as called up as “SUE”, distinct from the Subsurface Utility Information (SUI) focus of the existing AS5488.

The training

WGE is working with Engineering Education Australia (EEAUST) and Open Learning, on a new training module to inform the management of underground assets or subsurface utilities. Available through Open Learning, the training is aimed at practitioners who manage subsurface utilities – including engineers, designers, managers and state or council authorities.

Click here to find out more on the training.

Along with the upgraded Australian Standard for Subsurface Utility Engineering (AS5488) which WGE are currently involved in, the training will inform a minimum level of practice that ensures all practitioners are adhering to the same principles, commensurate with international standards elsewhere in the world.

Our partners

Rob Sansbury

Infrastructure Section Manager, Principal

Our advice to clients

There are a number of examples around the world how an astute application of Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) management can save projects time, money and improve safety.  WGE are working with Standards Australia to upgrade the current AS5488 document to include a more focused SUE approach, akin to other such standards seen elsewhere internationally.  In preparation we recommend undertaking the latest industry training on SUE via the Open Learning platform.