The Survey Association issues new guidance on specifying a utility survey

Published: 18 Dec 2017

TSA’s latest reference documents provide clarity for clients on PAS 128 compliance

A new and definitive guide to specifying a PAS128 compliant utility survey, issued by The Survey Association (TSA), aims to demystify a complex technical area and improve communication between clients and practitioners.

The Essential Guide to PAS128 2014 Utility Detection, Verification and Location, and the companion Mini Guide, are the first documents of their kind to include practical advice for clients on using PAS 128 to prepare the appropriate tender documents for their project.

Written by TSA’s technical committee, with input from across the industry, the free-to-download guidance also provides clarity for professionals interpreting PAS 128 to deliver best practice utility surveys at the right price.

Technical content author and TSA Council member, Sam Roberts explains the scope of both the Essential and Mini Guides and who they are aimed at.

‘’The Essential Guide goes into depth on all the techniques used for utility detection, the detail of PAS128, as well as health and safety, traffic management and training issues. It is a substantial reference document and a tool for clients to better understand what they are buying, and therefore to commission a survey company with confidence,’’ he said.

The accompanying Mini Guide is split into sections for ease of reference and focusses on the areas of difficulty raised by clients. The Mini Guide is designed to help engineers, architects and planners easily understand if a quotation is in line with the appropriate PAS128 level in the specification, and to be able to ask the right questions when comparing different proposals.

The Essential Guide to PAS128 2014 Utility Detection, Verification and Location, and the Mini Guide can be downloaded, free of charge at

Sam Roberts concluded, ‘’TSA’s new Utility Guidance documents seek to address the misinterpretation and misunderstanding of PAS 128. It is important that clients and those commissioning utility surveys know what they are getting – and what they should be getting, if they specify a PAS128 utility survey.’’

TSA’s Client Guides and Guidance Notes are compiled in consultation with industry experts and are widely consulted by construction and geospatial professionals, nationally and internationally. They provide information on the principles, procedures and regulations affecting specific aspects of survey work.

When the British Standards Institution (BSI) started working on Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 128, titled, Specification for underground utility detection, verification and location, TSA fully supported its production, providing expertise on both the steering group and drafting panel.


For further information, interviews or images contact Ruth Badley on +44 (0) 7376 280385

Notes to Editors

The Survey Association was formed in 1979 and now has private survey company members in all areas of geomatics. TSA represents members on a wide variety of initiatives including the Survey Liaison Group, the GEO Business Show, Defra Flood Forum, BSI drafting panels, the UK BIM Alliance and continual Government lobbying. TSA is governed by a Council of 12, elected from the Full Member companies. A full-time Secretariat, based in Newark-on-Trent, runs the operational side of the Association.

The Survey School: In May 2014, TSA took over the running of the Survey School in Worcester. The TSA Surveying Course, written by TSA in 2001 to address the chronic shortage of survey training in the UK, continues to go from strength to strength. TSA is committed to training the next generation of surveyors and is expanding the number of short courses available at the School. TSA has also offered a Student Bursary to students in their second year at Newcastle University since 2011.