SIM: Powering the Industry Standard

The Mission of SIM

Safety is at the core of SIM.

SIM or Subsurface Investigation Methodology aims to raise the quality of private subsurface investigation results by creating industry specifications. These specifications combine the requirements of experienced-based training, tested technologies, and proven application methods. The combination results in an industry standard for non-destructive investigation of underground utilities and scanning concrete. SIM as a standard will ensure safety, limit damage to underground and structural assets, and increase location contractor accountability on site.

SIM focuses on three primary aspects of subsurface methodology: training, equipment expertise, and best methodology practices.

Industry Leader

GPRS prevents subsurface damage by utilizing SIM. GPRS is in pursuit of 100% subsurface damage prevention. Over the years, we’ve seen an accuracy rate of over 99.8% on over 100,000 concrete scanning and utility locating projects while using SIM. While we’re leading the industry, we’re dedicated to widening the gap between us and the industry standard.

GPRS is the nation’s largest company specializing in underground utility locating, leak detection, video pipe inspection, concrete scanning, and mapping and modeling. GPRS has been the industry leader for over a decade by offering outstanding service and cutting-edge technology. With GPRS, clients get the peace of mind of knowing they have the most reliable scanning technology on their job site, and they’ll receive the assistance of a Project Manager who can provide them with the most accurate data.

According to the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), over the last 20 years, improperly located or unlocated subsurface utilities have caused over $1.7 billion in damages and resulted in thousands of injuries and hundreds of fatalities.

SIM requires multiple technologies to be used in an investigation. This multiple technology strategy provides redundancy in findings, thus increasing the precision of the investigation. The most influential technologies in the industry are the traditional pipe locator/electromagnetic receiver and ground penetrating radar (GPR). SIM not only creates its codes and standards but also requires compliance to a variety of other related construction industry standards as well. SIM requires compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT), American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Common Ground Alliance (CGA), and more to maintain a safe and high standard of utility locating.

Regarding utility locating and concrete imaging, accuracy and precision are at the core of SIM. More data points will bear out the best results as with any investigation. Results that are as close as possible to accurate and precise will yield the best outcome.

How We Accomplish 99.8%

GPRS recognized the lack of specification in the subsurface damage prevention industry and responded with SIM. SIM combines in-classroom training, field experience, and expert guidance into two courses, SIM 101 and SIM 201. These courses are what enable us to achieve a 99.8% subsurface scanning accuracy.

SIM 101

Our SIM 101 class is designed to teach subsurface damage prevention technicians how to use their equipment proficiently and accurately. This education is accomplished through mentorship training, in-class training, and hands-on demonstrations. Understanding ground penetrating radar and EM locating are primary aspects of SIM 101 training. Technicians are trained on how to analyze GPR data that is generated when scanning the ground and concrete.  Additionally, technicians will be proficient in EM locating, including the different methods of EM locating such as active and passive locating methods. They’re also trained to understand and apply different frequencies, grounding methods, and more.

SIM 201

SIM 201 is designed as an advanced training course for utility locating and concrete imaging technicians. The subsurface damage preventions technicians are brought back to the training academy after gaining roughly 2 years of field experience. These trainees are taught advanced techniques as well as additional skills that add value to clients. Some of these skills include EMI, 3D Image capture, and more.

How You Can Support Safety

Safety is important. It’s vital to maintain a thriving workplace culture and protect our team members. We understand this, which is why SIM is a comprehensive and extensive specification. Safety is the reason that we’ve created SIM specifications for concrete imaging, utility locating, and soon we will be unveiling our video pipe inspection SIM specification.

But how can you support safety with SIM? By hiring a SIM-certified service provider, you’re supporting SIM’s goal of safety. You’re making an active choice to stop subsurface damage, the injuries, and the fatalities resulting from it. SIM has three specifications: concrete scanning, utility locating, and video pipe inspection. But what benefits do you gain from choosing a SIM-certified expert in each field?

Concrete Scanning

By hiring a concrete scanning SIM-certified field technician, you are guaranteed a technician with expert level training and ability. Here are just a few of the prerequisite qualifications for concrete scanning technicians:

  • Pretraining mentorship, 4 weeks of application training from a SIM certified mentor.
  •  80 hours of classroom curriculum, GPR theory, test slab training, SIM investigative method training.
  • Post-training mentorship 4-week practical application of testing equipment and investigative methods.
  • Field technicians shall maintain a minimum OSHA 10 safety training certificate.
  • Scan contractor insurance requirements, commercial liability insurance $1,000,000 limit with $5,000,000 umbrella (includes auto and worker comp), professional liability $2,000,000 limit.

Utility Locating

Just like the concrete scanning specification, SIM has created a rigorous utility locating specification that has resulted in over 99.8% scanning accuracy. Here are just some of the prerequisite qualifications for SIM-certified utility locators.

  • Scanning contractor shall submit certification of experienced-based training that meets or exceeds the guidelines detailed in ASNT document ‘Recommended Practice SNT-TC-1A, Personnel Qualification and Certification in Nondestructive Testing Level I ’. The ASNT document recommends 8 hours as a minimum for training and a minimum of 60 hours practicing GPR in order to be a certified NDT Level I in Ground Penetrating Radar.
  • Scanning contractor shall submit/reference guideline, ASTM Designation D 6432-99 – Standard Guide for Using the Surface Ground Penetrating Radar Method for Subsurface Investigation.

Video Pipe Inspection

Video Pipe Inspection is the newest specification of SIM. VPI SIM is a result of combining field technician expertise, rigorous training, and the pursuit of 100% subsurface damage prevention. We have another article detailing the VPI SIM specification and are excited to unveil it. We believe that this specification is bringing us closer to a safer industry.

Learn More and Schedule a Project With Us Today

Want to learn more about SIM or see the specifications for yourself? Visit our website to find more information about our concrete scanning, utility locating, and video pipe inspection specifications. Join GPRS in the pursuit of 100% subsurface damage prevention. Don’t wait, click here to schedule a project with GPRS and allow our highly trained Project Managers to keep your projects on time, on budget, a