How to Avoid Delays with Utility Backfill Testing

Vol. 111 | March 23, 2017

Have you ever been on or had a project that required utility backfill density testing to only find out that at the end of the project that not enough density tests were taken? This may happen on a project where the testing lab has to submit a letter to the local municipality assuring that all the required density tests have been taken at the required frequency and lifts. This is not a good feeling when the only thing holding up the project completion is the P.E. seal and signature.

This can be a painful lesson to keep an eye on the details and not be in a rush! The key things are to plan ahead, have good communication and have good project maintenance.

When a new project started, make sure to have a copy of the project plans. Document when the technician was scheduled to go to the project for utility backfill density testing, be obsessive about getting a copy of the density test report. As soon as you get the report, review the test results and plot the date and locations of the tests on the project plans and profiles.

By plotting the tests on a continuous basis it is easier to detect if there are any missing tests, or areas where the utility contractor might have placed backfill which was untested. In either case, the issue or discrepancy can be detected and addressed a lot sooner than at the end of the project.  This is a way to be proactive and help avoid delays, stress, and heartache.

Bill Ciggelakis, P.E.
Principal-in-Charge, Construction Services

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Related topics: 2017 | Due Diligence