Ground penetrating radar (GPR) is one of the most advantageous technological advancements that has developed in the recent years. It provides a non-destructive, robust, and flexible approach to determining what is located where under the ground.
The challenge with this technology is that few people understand the benefits that it can bring. They may choose to rely on blueprints, schematics and other information that may have deviations from the physical locations of what is underground.
Let’s explore five of the biggest benefits of Ground penetrating radar.
1. No Need for Excavation
Before ground penetrating radar, engineers had two ways of establishing what was underground: they could use site plans, or they could excavate the ground.
The problem is that site plans may not include everything. There have been many cases where items like native burial grounds were present beneath a construction site, which in turn caused complications years later. Of course, excavation would provide a much more precise way to locate those items, but it’s still best avoided, particularly when locations potentially contain sensitive underground items.
Additionally, excavation is costly, both in terms of money and time. While it may be accurate, it’s far more cost-efficient to use GPR since it doesn’t require the time and resources normally needed to move piles of earth out of the way. As such, avoiding these costs is one thing GPR can do.
2. It Doesn’t Wake the Neighbors
Excavation has another major set of pitfalls: it creates pollution and noise. This can lead to everything from the loss of property value to lawsuits.
The noise output from excavation equipment can also be a health hazard, both for your workers as well as anyone nearby. One study, for example, measured the A-weighted decibel levels from 31 excavators at about 87 dBA over an 8-hour period. Given that prolonged exposure to noise levels above 85 decibels can lead to hearing loss, keeping exposure to a minimum is good for both workers and neighbors alike.
Ground penetrating radar is quiet, which in turn means that it neither disturbs people nor the soil. This is ideal for urban areas where the comfort of the surrounding people is a key to successful development.
3. It Works Almost Anywhere
GPR is so advanced that it can penetrate most materials with ease. This allows for accurate, detailed results that give a clear indication of exactly what is below a particular site.
Research supports this. When used with the right techniques, GPR can even penetrate through concrete to detect rebar of various diameters, as was illustrated recently in a 2022 study. In this study, GPR was used on six concrete specimens, with generally positive results for most materials.
This versatility allows it to be used almost anywhere, whether your job site has loose soil, packed dirt, or solid concrete.
4. Preventing Expensive Problems
Construction sites may have inherent problems such as loose soil or erosion-prone areas. These can lead to problems if you don’t prepare for them, either by creating delays or causing accidents, leading to costly downtime. By noticing these areas before construction begins by using GPR, you can avoid potential problems by planning to accurately prevent them.
This saves an incredible amount of money, both presently and in the future. By using GPR data to plan ahead for these challenges, you can engineer solutions that can help you avoid delays and work proactively rather than reactively.
GPR can also help you avoid legal problems as well. For instance, one project handled by Wood Inspection Services involved a construction project next to a cemetery. Many of the plots were unmarked, and GPR made it possible to find the unmarked graves before any digging was done. The end result was to save the developers from costly legal ramifications and spare their reputation.
5. Only as Much Work as Necessary
Using GPR in construction makes it easier and more cost effective to gather data on what’s below the ground at your work site, which in turn makes the entire project more efficient. You’re also able to give more precise cost and time estimates, meet deadlines, and improve your reputation as a result.
Ground penetrating radar helps to notify companies of how much work they really need to do, which in turn allows for more accurate and profitable bids to take place. This increases the ROI on a particular area, which in turn increases the profitability of any project.
GPR in Construction FAQs
How do you use GPR in construction?
locate underground utilities and materials, assess the quality of the soil, and generally inform team members during the planning phase of a construction project.
What are the limitations of ground penetrating radar?
Ground penetrating radar usually has a harder time with conductive soils, such as clay or soil contaminated with salt.
How good is ground penetrating radar in construction?
Overall, GPR is highly effective in construction for the reasons cited above. It keeps costs down and enhances efficiency.
GPR is the Way of the Future
Ground penetrating radar is one of the most advanced technologies that people can use to provide a more accurate look at the composition of subterranean areas.