Concrete Scanning Blog

Scanning Concrete from a Vehicle Mounted Boom Lift

scanning concrete on boom lift


Our Santa Clara office performed concrete scanning services for a local overpass project. The bridge needed a new water pipe installed. This pipe had to be installed on the side of the bridge due to seismic regulations. To ensure safety for everyone involved, the client requested Penhall Technologies to scan the concrete beforehand.

The scanning was done from a vehicle mounted boom lift. This type of boom lift is not commonly available, the one used on this project was brought in from Oregon. The vehicle was set on the bridge. With the boom lift on it, our analysts performed the scanning overhead.

concrete scanningThis system worked in a very particular way. The truck had a camera and a microphone that allowed the analysts and the driver to communicate. Depending on the required scan areas, the driver moved the boom lift accordingly. The entire scan job was done using this unique mobile system.

Our Santa Clara analysts scanned 18″ × 24″ areas in two phases. For phase one, they scanned 26 areas. For the following phase, they scanned 20 areas. The concrete scanning itself took a week to complete. Our analysts found rebar in the slab, but no conduits or cables were present.

For Penhall, as well as for our client, safety was the main priority. Our analysts regularly attend safety trainings that involve boom lifts. This particular project was done over water. Our analysts had morning and evenings safety briefings, as well as very thorough walk out inspections. Moreover, the vehicle mounted boom lift was inspected both in the morning and after their regular lunch break. As a result, the analysts completed the scan safely.

After the scanning was completed, Penhall Company performed the core drilling without striking any rebar. This confirms our analysts’ accurate findings and markings done on this project.

Our analysts are expertly trained to handle any construction project, such as this one, and bring you precise results that will keep your project safe.

October 20, 2017

FAQ – Concrete Scanning and Utility Locating

There is usually a lot to cover when deciding to utilize concrete scanning or utility locating services. We put together this list to answer your questions and guide you in the right direction for your project.

How long will the service take?

This all depends on your needs, and it varies from project to project. For both concrete scanning and utility locating many variables come into play. Age of concrete, moisture content of the ground, obstructions in the path of utilities, wire mesh and congested rebar, just to name a few. The best way to determine the estimated completion time of the scan or the locate is to contact us. Being prepared with as much information about the area as possible will aide in our estimation time.

You don’t offer your services in my area, can you travel to me?

We can absolutely travel to you. Our analysts frequently travel to where they are needed throughout the United States. Specific pricing for travel time can be discussed with you, give us a call or send us an email.

Can you locate water leaks?

Our utility locating equipment won’t specifically locate a water leak itself. However, we can look for signs that indicate a possible leak. For example, the analyst would look for signs that would be indicative of damp soil. We also trace out water lines so you know exactly where to dig for inspection.

Can you scan while it’s raining?

When using GPR equipment, the collected data from wet surfaces is not accurate.  This means that the results of the service won’t give you the best framework to follow before cutting, coring, drilling, or performing any type of excavation or trenching. Moreover, we can’t get our equipment wet.

Can you scan all concrete?

We scan any concrete slab or structural component as long as it is three months old. It is important to note that our equipment has a scanning depth of 16 inches, or 32 inches if we have access to both sides of the slab or surface.

How soon can I get a report of the findings?

Our analyst will provide a report of the findings after he/she completes the scanning and marking any found objects. This is included in all completed scanning and locating projects.

Do you offer any additional reports?

You can request an additional report, called a formal report, that includes pictures, a summary, and 3D scan. This report, comes at an additional cost and may take up to eight hours to complete. Also, the analyst would complete the report off site and email it to you.


If you have any more questions, or are ready to schedule a scanning or utility locating service, please call us at 844-211-5300 or send us an email at


October 6, 2017

Four Reasons Why Concrete Scanning Is Essential For Your Project

concrete scanning

Concrete scanning is a method that finds subsurface hazards through the use of GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar). Some of the objects that GPR detects during scanning include: pipes, conduits, post tension cables, utilities, live wires, rebar, and voids, among others. But, why is it important to find and identify these objects?


When cutting into concrete without scanning first, there is a possibility that you will encounter a subsurface object or hazard. In some incidents, hitting an object can injure the workers at the jobsite. For example, cutting into a post tension cable. The released tension after the cut can cause the cable to snap or expand, causing a blowout. In addition, your workers could be electrocuted by striking a live conduit.


Striking any subsurface objects can result in delays for your project. Quite often, clients call us after they have hit an object in the concrete. Unfortunately, they have learned the hard way. Now they have decided to scan the rest of their project to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. Other times, the repairs needed to fix the damage that has occurred can cause delays. Avoiding these incidents will help to ensure that you can complete your project on time.

concrete scanning markings


Without hiring scanning services before, one may assume concrete scanning is simply an additional cost to a project. In reality, scanning offers a significant cost savings! By having a clear picture of a proposed cut, core, or trench area, you are no longer playing a guessing game. This provides a tremendous financial benefit by preventing repairs and additional services that result from striking a subsurface object. As mentioned before, concrete scanning helps your projects stay on time. Whereas a project that encounters delays can cost more money.


One of the most significant benefits of concrete scanning is accuracy. You can proceed with your project knowing that the proposed layout areas for any drilling, coring, or cutting are safe. On many projects, our analysts find hazards in the layout proposed by the client. If the client hadn’t decided to scan, there is a possibility they would have encountered many of the problems mentioned.

For these four reasons, concrete scanning is a vital method for your project. At Penhall Technologies, we value your time and safety, so we make sure that our services convey that to your project.

September 1, 2017

What to Expect – Concrete Scanning for Your Construction Project

concrete scanning

Deciding to scan concrete for your project was a smart decision for many reasons. It saves you time by knowing where to exactly cut, drill, or core. It saves money by preventing damages. And, most importantly, it keeps your project safe. Now that you want to move forward with our scanning services, here is what you should expect.

One of our expertly trained GPR analysts will arrive at the jobsite. Before they start scanning, they will meet with you to discuss the areas that you want scanned. You would need to provide a layout for the analyst to scan.

After this, the analyst is ready to scan. GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar) is safe to use during regular business hours. This means that any trades on the jobsite can continue with their job while the scanning takes place.

The analyst might use different types of equipment depending on the job itself. Our analysts carry the GSSI Mini XT. This equipment is ideal for locating rebar, conduits, post-tension cables, voids, and real time determination of concrete slab thickness. They also use the GSSI 2000 MHz palm antenna. This equipment works in small spaces, approximately 2” from the wall. In addition to the GPR equipment used, all analysts are also equipped with an RD 7100 unit. This unit is ideal for locating live conduits within walls, slabs, or ceilings.

concrete scanning marks

While the scan takes place, the data shows up in real time. Our analysts can interpret the data and from there he/she can mark any objects directly on the concrete surface with tape, chalk, keel, or markers (as pictured above). Then, the analyst would communicate their findings with you.

Sometimes, the proposed layouts are clear and ready for coring or drilling. Some other times, the analyst finds post tension cable, rebar, or other objects in the area where the coring or drilling is proposed. If this is the case for your project, you can propose a second layout location. The analyst will then proceed to scan that area to make sure that it is clear and safe.

After the scanning, a summarized written field report of the findings will be provided you. With this piece of information, in addition to your field markings, you can make decisions as to where to cut, core, or drill. Additional electronic reports are also available upon request, including pictures and 3D scans. These reports take additional time and will be completed off-site and will be emailed to you.

Now you know what to expect when hiring Penhall Technologies for our concrete scanning services. When our analysts arrive on site, you will find that you have gained a trusted partner who will undoubtedly add value to your project. Regardless of the project scale, our analysts always come prepared and ready.

August 25, 2017

GPR or X-Ray – How to Determine What Your Project Needs

GPR - ground penetrating radar service

GPR analyst on a concrete scanning job


Now that you have decided to scan first, you might be wondering what suits your project’s needs: Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) or digital X-Ray? Penhall Technologies offers GPR services nationwide, and X-Ray services in Seattle, San Diego, and Los Angeles. Both concrete scanning methods help you locate subsurface objects and hazards. However, they are both unique, and have different uses.

More often than not, GPR would be the first step to locate any subsurface objects in concrete. GPR analysts start by marking the desired area, which the customer provides a layout of. Then, the analyst proceeds to scan with a handheld device (see picture above). Based on the collected and analyzed data, the analyst would mark the objects found with chalk, keel, or tape. This process goes smoothly under ideal concrete circumstances.

There are a few factors to consider when seeking GPR or digital X-ray services. First, what concrete structure or structural components are being scanned. Digital x-ray is not an adequate option for your project when you are looking to identify objects or hazards in a slab on grade. Digital X-ray requires both sides of the location in question, such as a slab, column, or beam.

The second factor to consider is the location of the project.  If patrons, occupants, or employees are present at the jobsite, GPR scanning can be done during regular business hours. People don’t need to vacate the area. This is ideal for projects and renovations in sites such as hospitals or hotels, where people may be regularly coming and going.


Penhall's GPR analysts

Penhall Technologies’ analysts demonstrating digital x-ray


Sometimes, after completing GPR concrete scanning, the results may show a highly congested area. This means that the analyst collected data that may be extremely difficult to interpret. This leads to inconclusive labels for field markings. This is when digital X-Ray comes in.

Digital X-ray shows a clearer depiction when it comes to imaging the interior contents of an area that’s congested. For this reason, this method is preferred under these circumstances.

Digital X-Ray is not always a service that follows GPR concrete scanning. We recommend pursing digital x-ray as an option when the jobsite in question is highly congested with structural components such as rebar, wire mesh, and tension cables. Or when you simply want a clear precise image of the area.

Both GPR and X-ray can provide valuable information prior to cutting, sawing, or drilling. It will also keep your project on time, on budget, and most importantly- safe! For more information regarding GPR and digital x-ray scanning services, give us a call at 844-211-5300.


August 4, 2017

We Scan For

  • Pipes and Conduits
  • Post-Tension Cables
  • Utilities and Live Wires
  • Rebar and rebar patterns
  • Voids within the Concrete
  • Structural Integrity of the Concrete