Learn to locate underground infrastructure

There’s a whole range of technologies available for locating underground infrastructure and, in Australia, a structure for gaining and demonstrating competence in their use.

It goes by the unmemorable title of NWP330B ‘Establish positions of underground utilities using locating devices’. It’s produced by training.gov.au and describes outcomes required to determine and mark the location and identity of gas, water, electrical, telecommunications and other underground utility services using a range of specialised instruments and asset plans.

However it is not at all prescriptive in the ‘range of specialised instruments, saying only that skills are required in “the use pipe and cable locating equipment.”

Training.gov.au also lists 31 registered training organisations that can provide training to the module. However, as the training forms part a number of other training courses, it is not necessarily available as a stand-alone course.

Information and resources for the training module are hard to come by. However NTIT this! offers “Free assessment tools and teaching resources for NWP330B. NTIS this! Is a web site run by Peter Shanks, programmer, web developer and part time I.T. trainer at the Tasmanian Polytechnic.

He explains: “For the last few years I've been using the web feed produced by the National Training Information System (NTIS) to automate some of the 'cut and paste' work of teaching. In 2011 NTIS was shut down and replaced with a brand new database and web site at training.gov.au, so I've built the site you're currently viewing to take advantage of this new data source.” He describes it as “an ongoing (if sporadic) development project.”

TAFE NSW offers training to NWP330B. It is one unit in a number of courses on water operations

Though they do not claim conformance to MWP330B, a number of organisations in Australia offer training in the location of underground infrastructure. Pipeline Training Australia offers s a two day course Identify, Locate & Protect Underground Services.

The National Utility Locating Contractors Association (NULCA) has established a utility asset location course, designed to “provide a safer work environment for the general public, excavators and all people in the civil works and underground service locating industry.”

Staking U (Asia Pacific) Campus has an Introductory course on ground penetrating radar for buried pipe and cable location.

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