Digging Deep for Water Services

This Oregon-based subcontractor used Bluebeam Revu to map out long-forgotten utility lines
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Briefly:

  • Professional Underground Services used Bluebeam® Revu® to map out existing utility lines
  • The previous maps were woefully incomplete
  • Using Revu helped the company save tens of thousands of dollars, and precious time

When Professional Underground Services, a Eugene, Oregon-based utility installations company specializing in green solutions, got the call to upgrade the water services infrastructure to 147 mobile homes in the Pineview Meadows Mobile Home Estates in nearby Sutherlin, they knew it was going to be a difficult job. Several other contractors had already refused, in fact, because the records of the existing water lines were so incomplete they figured the task was well-nigh impossible. But Nathaniel Wilson, an assistant project manager at the firm, was a fresh college grad with a knack for learning new technologies. And he believed he was up to the task.

Bringing Maps up to Date

Armed with an incomplete map of existing water lines from 1972 along with a change order to the original, Wilson turned to Bluebeam Revu, the PDF-based markup and collaboration tool made specifically for AEC professionals. Using the Overlay feature, which allowed him to place the change order on top of the original and then add existing lines where workers found them, he was able to “trace out the whole scope of the work and run where all the water lines, sewer lines and power lines were at,” he says, so that they knew where to dig. The company had called in several locators to try to find the pipes through radar detection, but since the piping was mostly galvanized steel that had burst in many places, there was no way to trace it. “The pipes were that bad.”

Thus, he had a set of drawings that, while not 100 percent accurate, gave the crew a starting point to their work. Wilson used markup features to denote exactly where sidewalks were, where to place road and construction signs, where to install hot taps, blowout valves, where to do boring, and which lines would be service lines and which would be lateral lines. Wilson was also able to identify in the PDF itself when water would be cut off to certain houses in the housing development as the upgrade made progress. With the master schedule, the Professional Underground crew then notified residents when their services would be halted, thus easing the pain of a major infrastructure upgrade.

Saving Time and Money

“Without Revu, the project wouldn’t have been able to get done at all,” says Wilson. “We would have had to hire an engineering firm that probably would have charged $30,000, and taken 6-9 months.” Instead, with two months of planning, including a week that Wilson devoted exclusively to harnessing Revu’s power, the project was finished after three months of construction. Pineview residents were able to get back to enjoying normal life that much more quickly, and the owners finally had a set of utility maps they could count on.