How Vacuum Excavation Works – For Your Project

Over the years we have found that a great deal of confusion exists around how Dial Before You Dig (DBYD), Location Finding Services and the use of Vacuum Excavation Trucks and how they all work together.

Understanding how these services work individually and together can save you time and money.

But more importantly, Human safety and expensive underground assets are at stake.

In essence there are 3 stages to locating assets correctly to achieve Quality A Level – AS 5488: Classification of Subsurface Utility Information

The 3 Stages

  1. Dial Before You Dig
  2. Electronic Service Location
  3. Vacuum Excavation


Project Management   1. Dial Before You Dig

Dial Before You Dig (DBYD) is a free national community service designed to supply plans and documents that show where underground assets such as pipes and cables are located. These plans will also tell you the minimum clearance you are aloud excavate near the utility owners assets.

The plans provided from Dial Before You Dig only indicate the presence of underground assets within the vicinity of the work area that has been requested and do not give an exact location.

Two more steps remain to achieve Quality A Level – AS 5488: Classification of Subsurface Utility Information.


   2. Electronic Service Location

A variety of methods can be used to locate assets electronically. The DBYD plans are often an essential step to determining which equipment is required.

For example, ground penetrating radar, electronic marker locator, ferrous magnetic locator, metal detector, GPO signal generator, sonde on push rod, and cameras are just some of the equipment carried on our well equipped service location vehicles which are all required to locate the different types of underground assets on your project.

The correct equipment in combination with our certified and highly experienced locators make for accurate location of pipes and cables.

After a service location of the work area has been carried out you now have a Quality Level B location – AS 5488: Classification of Subsurface Utility Information.

Quality level B location can not be used for design and construct.

The final step makes all the difference!


   3. Vacuum Excavation

Visually confirming underground assets is the final step to Quality level A service location.

These days, the fastest growing way is through vacuum excavation.

Our location services combined with our vacuum excavation potholing capabilities ensure we are the most accurate underground service location company. We specialize in providing our clientele with a Quality Level A location.

How Vacuum Excavation Works

Vacuum excavation safely breaks up the ground through the use of high-pressure water in combination with a high powered vacuum to suck up the debris into a holding tank.

This method of non-destructive digging (NDD) reduces the risk of damaging underground assets compared to manual or mechanical digging methods. With the use of our Vacuum trucks we visually expose the underground assets that our accredited locators detected, providing you with the location, depth, direction and even the size and material of the assets.

5 Essential Questions

Do you always need to call DBYD? 

Yes. Any excavation, no matter the size, has the potential to damage assets located around the work site. Reviewing the DBYD plans significantly minimizes the risk and ensures the locator or vacuum truck operator has a plan of the assets located onsite.

If we know we need to excavate – who gets the DBYD plans?

We always find it is easier for you to organize the plans as you know the jobs exact location however we can organize this part of the job as well.

How much does vacuum excavation cost?

Costs vary depending on many factors. Location of the project, work required and many other aspects. The best thing to do is contact us and discuss the job.

How deep can you hydrovac?

A lot depends on the equipment being used and the ground conditions but our trucks have the capabilities to excavate up to 6 meters vertically.

How many litres does a vacuum truck hold?

Vacuum trucks come in many sizes. Our trucks spoil capacity is 6000L which enables us to remain onsite and get the job done by reducing the amount of time spent dumping off which saves you time and money.

If you have any further questions please Contact us