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Reasons why you might need to have your subsurface utilities located are:

  • Major building works (Renovations, extensions, knockdown, rebuilds)

  • Minor building works (Shed/outbuilding footings, decks, pergolas)

  • Drainage design

  • Landscaping 

  • Fencing

  • Pool installation 

  • Retaining walls

  • Irrigation

  • Plumbing works

  • Electrical works

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Something that is often overlooked when planning a project that involves excavation is identifying where the underground utilities lay. Out of sight out of mind as the saying goes, but just because you can’t see something, doesn’t mean there’s nothing there.


The ground is full of pipes and cables that are used to power our homes, carry wastewater away and keep us connected to the internet and each other. There are many, but they can all be categorised into six general categories:

  • Electricity

  • Communications

  • Water

  • Gas & Fuel

  • Storm Water

  • Wastewater

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After subsurface utilities have been identified and marked out with ground marking paint or pegs, a basic mud map or sketch provides a record for future reference long after the ground markings are gone.

For a superior alternative to a mud map or sketch, MRLS also offers Utility Mapping.

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With current advancements in technology such as Field Surveys, CAD drafting and GIS, it isn't unrealistic to expect survey-grade data of utilities in DWG or DXF formats (to name a few). 

MRLS makes use of highly accurate RTK GNSS receivers to survey utilities. This data is then provided to customers in a range of formats, including PDF for easy viewing and/or printing.

Whether you're an engineer, an architect, a tradesperson or a property owner, having your subsurface utilities located and subsequently surveyed and digitised, is quite a valuable record to have.

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Water leaks come in all shapes and sizes.

The point of the leak is often not where the water shows at the surface, if it shows at all.


Just like an underground cable fault, MRLS can attempt to pinpoint the exact location of the water leak, saving time, money, and environmental impacts on the subject site.

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There are many reasons why underground cable faults occur, but when they do, it can be a substantial inconvenience considering how reliant we are on electricity nowadays.

When an underground fault on an electrical cable occurs, one option is to re-run the faulty section of cable. This is ok in theory, but in practice, this can be unnecessarily destructive, time-consuming and costly.

MRLS can pinpoint the exact location of the underground fault, saving time, money, and environmental impacts on the subject site.


(Note that certain criteria need to be met in order for this outcome to be achievable)

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'GPR' as it is often referred to is a discipline unto itself and can be used to complement traditional pipe & cable locating methods. A GPR consists of a few components which I won’t go into here, but for the sake of visualisation, many GPR’s resembled what looks like a lawn mower. It is pushed along the surface in a line for as long as needed.

Unlike actively tracing a single target, such as a pipe or cable using electromagnetic locating, GPR takes an individual profile of the ground whereby interpretations of reflections from different materials can be made. Additionally, multiple individual profiles can be collated side by side in postprocessing software to create a pseudo-3D model of the area scanned.

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MRLS uses robust drain inspection equipment to locate and/or inspect drainage pipework. The primary use for CCTV inspection equipment at MRLS is for locating the position of drainage pipework for alteration, addition or simply for avoidance.


Drilling footings for that deck or putting up a new fence?

The benefit of using purpose-built CCTV Drain Inspection equipment is that they are designed to go down small drainage pipes, unlike standard locating rods which are often quite rigid. The other main benefit is that the CCTV allows you to see things like concealed branch lines, partial or full blockages and to inspect the condition of the pipe.


With more and more critical infrastructure being installed below the surface, it is sometimes necessary to obtain the most accurate level of information by exposing the utility using NDD methods.


As the NDD process fits right in between firstly locating a utility, and lastly, surveying and collecting data on the utility, MRLS can project manage the NDD process by engaging one of our preferred contractors. Electronic locating, NDD, surveying and drafting plans of utilities is then able to be provided in one complete package.


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