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Digging Deeper: How Ground Penetrating Radar Enables Better Planning and Better Buildings

Ground penetrating radar (GPR), also known as ground surveying, is a non-invasive, geophysical mapping method using radar pulses to image the ground’s subsurface.

By using GPR on project sites we can detect underground obstructions – like pipes, utilities, leaks and line breaks – in a non-intrusive way, and its results have a massive impact on construction. When blueprints and records are unavailable or incomplete, or utility companies are unsure where utility lines exist, GPR helps fill in the blanks by providing a complete look at existing conditions of the job site. Additionally, GPR helps to avoid potentially dangerous and disruptive situations such as hitting a major utility like a water main or power line.

The importance of GPR was demonstrated in a big way during a recent building project on the Endicott College campus in Beverly, Mass. Windover’s team knew there were existing underground utilities, but without having any existing plans for the site did not know the exact locations. Working with Meridian Associates, the site was surveyed using GPR which revealed that these underground obstructions were far more extensive than originally imagined. This data led us to ultimately move the location of the building – a decision that will save the school both time and money in the long run.

We are always looking for ways to create certainty of outcome for our clients and GPR adds greater predictability and reliability to our projects by improving:

  • Safety – GPR allows construction teams to locate and avoid dangerous situations
  • Planning – GPR fills in any blanks and provides a complete picture of the underground environment on the job site and eliminates any unwanted surprises
  • Aesthetics – GPR allows construction teams to detect underground obstructions and tag them using flags and spray-paint (instead of digging multiple test-holes)
  • Costs – less digging and more digital planning, eliminates “guess work” when construction commences
  • Future Maintenance – GPR plots are integrated into a project’s Construction Documents and then included as part of the final As-Builts so our clients have a comprehensive map of what has been built above and below ground on their site

Windover utilizes various technologies to deliver the most cost-effective, safe and on-time projects to our clients. GPR is one of these solutions that is adding tremendous value for our clients, regardless of project type.

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