Check out the proposed changes to AS 5488

PEL836 Check out the proposed changes to AS 5488

Standards Australia has released a for-comment draft of the five-year old Australian standard for the classification of subsurface utility information.

Back in December 2014, in an article headed“In praise of AS 5488”, we talked about the then one-year-old Australian standard AS 5488-2013 Classification of Subsurface Utility Information. I was heralded by Standards Australia as something that would “improve public safety, reduce costly property damage, and provide more accurate information on the location and type of subsurface utilities than in the past.”

Then, in March 2018 we reported that a revision of the standard was in train. We quoted Rob Sansbury of Wood & Grieve Engineers, in an August 2016 presentation to the IPWEA Sustainability…or the revision.

He said: “To date, AS 5488-2013 has had limited industry take-up, with only 26 copies sold by SAI Global in three years (2013-2016).

The opportunity for AS5488 - 2013 to create a paradigm shift in the way underground utilities are managed has not yet been realised.”

According to an article by Sansbury in the March 2018 Edition of Consulting Matters, the main purpose of the revision is to include in the standard a component for subsurface utility engineering (SUE), and the revision is being led by former Queensland Department of Main Roads director general Bruce Wilson.

The article explains that SUE refers to an engineering management process that involves engineering, geophysics and geospatial disciplines and technologies to manage certain risks associated with utility mapping. “Essentially, without SUE, the industry has no single ‘rulebook’ for relevant project or asset owners, local authorities or state government bodies to mandate for all design engineers.”

It says five countries have SUE standards in place: the USA, Canada, UK, Malaysia and Ecuador, and the primary aim of the AS5488 upgrade is to incorporate the engineering management of subsurface utilities to bring it into line with the standards in these five countries.

Sansbury says: “We want SUE to be recognised as a specialist area of engineering and we want there to be a rulebook for all design engineers.”

The for-comment draft is available from the Standards Australia website and is in two parts: Classification of subsurface utility information (SUI), Part 1: Subsurface utility information and Classification of subsurface utility information, Part 2: Subsurface utility engineering.

Comments on the draft revision to AS5488 close on 10 October and Sansbury said he expected the revised standard to be published early in 2019.

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