Utility Locating Blog

Three Reasons Why You Should Scan First

concrete scanning for rebar

A lot of underground hazards lie beneath the surface you will be working on. It is essential to scan first to avoid all of the following scenarios we will touch on.

Hitting a utility line

Hitting a utility line during any type of excavation can result in great costs for those involved. To start, it can cut out the utility service for you and/or your community. According to an article by CBS News, you could face fines from local regulators. Moreover, all repair costs, from fixing the damaged utility line to any damages done to neighboring homes or businesses, can fall on you.

You can also encounter physical injury costs for you or the workers performing the excavating. Some utilities can be dangerous for the person working, such as steam, gas, propane, and electricity, and communication lines.

Striking a post tension cable

If scanning is not performed before construction, you risk the chance of cutting into post tension cable. Slider Engineering mentions that post tension cable release can cause structural damage to a building, as well as injury to workers. They also mentioned that the cost of a single cable repair ranges from $800 to $1,200. This does not include the cost of other repairs of areas affected by the release.

If a worker accidentally cuts into post tension cable, the cable reacts by snapping. In the past, workers have been badly injured or even killed due to this release.

Cutting into rebar

During construction, you also run the risk of damaging rebar. According to BNProdcuts, cutting into rebar can have serious consequences for your project. First of all, you can expect injuries for your workers. Sometimes, when you drill and hit into rebar, pieces of debris can fly out and strike workers. In addition, cutting into rebar can lead to extensive repairs that can keep your project behind schedule.

It is also important to be aware that cutting into rebar can cause serious damage to the structural integrity of the concrete. This can make your site too unstable to work on and further delay the completion date.


“Now many industry experts recognize that cutting into these hazard types can be devastating if people do not scan first. GPR technology is a real game-changer for safety,” said Penhall Technologies President, Simon James. If you want a safe and timely construction project, contact us for our concrete scanning and underground utility locating services.

December 18, 2017

Top 5 reasons homeowners call in for private utility locating

private utility locating

Are you wondering if you need to use private utility locating services? Here are the most common reasons why our clients hire us for their locating needs.

811 won’t do the locate

811 is a public utility locator. They can locate all utilities from the street to the meter. Any utilities in your private property would need to be located by a private utility locator, such as Penhall Technologies.

They already hit a utility

Oftentimes, our customers will call us because they started excavating without scanning first and hit a utility line. Therefore, they want us to scan the rest of their property to prevent any further damage. Striking a utility line can be costly and can result in injury.

They called someone else and they were unsuccessful

This scenario goes hand in hand with the reason previously mentioned. Sometimes our clients do scan. However, the company they selected didn’t provide accurate markings and the client struck a utility as a result. Our analysts complete extensive utility locating training. They are trained to properly mark your site, provide written reports, and to provide you with the best service.

Home improvements

It is always important to locate all utilities before doing any projects that require digging or excavating. This includes, but is not limited to: landscaping, fencing, pool installation, installing a mailbox, deck installation, among others.

Water leaks

A lot of our clients suspect that they are dealing with a water leak. While we can’t locate the water leak itself, we can help you locate the water line and look for signals of wet soil that may indicate the location of the leak.


If you want to learn more about underground utility locating, read our blogs here. If you are ready to schedule our services, please give us a call at (844) 211-5300 or fill out our quote form.

December 4, 2017

How to Find a Leak in a Water Pipe

locate water leak

Our clients often call us asking if we can locate a water leak with our utility locating equipment. While this technology doesn’t give us the exact location of the leak, there are different ways to detect it.

According to the Alliance for Water Efficiency, the typical home loses 2,000 to 20,000 gallons of water per year due to leaks.  Some leaks go undetected for years because the source of the leak is not visible. Such is the case of a leak in a supply pipe that is buried at least 3 feet underground.

When our analyst arrives on your site, he/she will use the utility locating equipment (pictured above) to scan for the water line. On the screen, objects like this line will show up as a hyperbola. From that initial reading, the analyst can follow the path of the line and mark it as he/she goes.

For some clients, this is very useful for inspection. They know exactly where their water line is, so they can excavate and make sure that everything is in good condition. For most clients, they want to know if there is a leak. And if so, where is it exactly?

Our analyst would look for signs of wet or damp soil, this indicates a possible leak and the location of it. When we scan over the leak, the wet soil will typically show up on the screen as a bright reflection. This is an indicator that the equipment has detected a possible water leak.

Do you suspect that you have a water leak? Our GPR analysts are ready to assist you! Contact us for a consultation.

November 10, 2017

FAQ – Concrete Scanning and Underground Utility Locating

There is usually a lot to cover when deciding to utilize concrete scanning or underground 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 underground utility locating service, please call us at 844-211-5300 or send us an email at gpr@penhall.com


October 6, 2017

The Use of Utility Locating Services in Hurricane Harvey’s Relief Efforts

Texas utility locating

The Use of Utility Locating Services in Hurricane Harvey’s Relief Efforts

Last week, Penhall Technologies had the opportunity to participate in the efforts for those affected by Hurricane Harvey. We performed our services at the NRG Center in Houston, which hosts the largest emergency shelter in the city.

First of all, the FDNY Incident Management Team called our Houston office for utility locating services. The New York Fire Department hired them to set up a 40’ x 100’ tent. This tent would function as the main location to serve meals to truck drivers delivering supplies for the emergency shelter itself. The NRG stadium expected over 250 truck drivers coming into Houston to deliver these supplies.

Before installing the tent, they decided to scan the proposed location for it. This was about 85,000 square feet. The scan would ensure that the client could install the tent safely, without striking any subsurface hazards. The location for the scanning took place in the parking lot.

Two of our local Houston analysts scanned for all utilities under the asphalt. They used Ground Penetrating Radar with the SIR 4000 antenna and electromagnetic detection technology through the use of the RD 7100 wand. Then, they found and marked out two utility lines. These were a sewer line and a power line.

These lines did not present any issues for the client. The analysts advised to stay a minimum of 3 feet away from the marked utilities. Due to this, the client had plenty of room left to drive the tent’s posts into the ground away from the marked lines.

Harvey utility locating

“Being able to help my community here in Houston is beyond rewarding. Helping with the utility locate at NRG makes me feel as if I’m having a direct effect on the city that I grew up in. The fact that I can give back and aid my fellow Houstonians in a time of adversity is indescribable,” said GPR analyst Jacob Paddock.

The FDNY Incident Management Team was pleased with the locating services. Since then, we have performed another locate for them in Rosharon, Texas before the installation of more tents. Their needs change daily. Therefore, they have been in constant contact with Penhall Technologies.

As a team, we are proud that our services played a role in the relief efforts. In addition, Penhall will continue to assist in any efforts that aid Texas’ recovery. To donate to those affected by Hurricane Harvey, click here.

September 8, 2017