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Utility Coordination

How Does an Engineer’s Role in Utility Coordination Impact the Construction Process?



As engineers, avoiding obstacles and setbacks to complete projects within limited timeframes is critical. However, it is very common for projects to encounter utility related delays due to conflicts with coordination during design and construction, and there are certain steps in the process that can be effective in meeting the project owner’s expectations of satisfactory utility coordination and delivering a successful job.

 

When utility coordination is performed efficiently, the process can prevent delays in getting utility services such as power, communication, gas, sewer, or water, to a project site, and avoid costly utility changes and setbacks in construction schedules. Avoiding issues related to utility coordination begins with effective communication and careful consideration of every utility company’s deadlines and processes.


Promptly kicking off a new project and submitting all required documents will get a job into the utility company’s project queue quickly. Along with submitting required documents, responding quickly to any questions or needs from the utility designer can help keep the project a priority for the utility company. Attending site visits at the project site is another important element in the utility coordination process that can be very pivotal in the outcome of a project. Site visits allow engineers to catch potentially costly errors early in the construction phase that otherwise would have been more problematic later in the project. Solutions for the issues can then be explored while saving the owner money and time on their construction schedule.


For complicated projects, such as projects located in areas where the service provider has older systems, like in downtown areas, or where capacity is not very developed in new areas of town, using a utility coordinator is often recommended. By working carefully with the utility coordinator and other parties involved, engineers can quickly identify project limits and alternatives, and solutions can be explored without causing major delays.


Utility coordination is an extensive process that requires all involved in a project to adhere to the construction schedule and budget and consider the various deadlines and requirements of utility companies. The purpose of utility coordination is to save time, money, and any headaches for all parties involved in a project. As engineers, being there from the time a project begins until the end is a key element in executing a successful project.



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