Utility location standard

The Surveyor-General has developed a standard that can be used to define the location of utility assets, typically when preparing ‘as built’ plans. The use of this standard should reduce the risk of accidental damage and the costs of locating and reworking utilities.

It is no longer acceptable to have the locations of expensive or potentially hazardous assets inaccurately defined. The Utility Location Standard provides a new framework for accurately recording the location of utility assets for future needs. 

The utility sector is very diverse, so this standard is a national standard that can be applied locally. It is intended to provide consistency and confidence in the positional information of assets to assist relocation and support planning. The Standard is not intended to have retrospective effect – it does not require existing records to be updated.

The Standard is intended to be used by contractors, surveyors and engineers who undertake the actual survey and measurement of the assets (such as producing ‘as-builts’). A utility organisation or asset manager can specify that this standard must be used when recording the location of new or maintained assets (in contracts for example).

It defines the position of a utility in terms of the geodetic control network, instead of in terms of property boundaries. This is the same network used to define the position of property boundaries.  Virtually all modern spatial data, including aerial imagery, uses this framework – which ensures it can be accurately integrated and spatially overlaid. 

The Standard requires positions to be defined in three dimensions, using the NZ Transverse Mercator 2000 (NZTM2000) projection and NZ Vertical Datum 2016 (NZVD2016).  The Standard also specifies accuracy classes.

In creating the Standard we have considered feedback from individuals working in the fields of asset management, engineering, survey, GIS, and construction; and from interested organisations like utility providers, territorial authorities and developers. Our response to the submissions is recorded in the Decision Report below.

While its use will not be mandatory, the supportive feedback we received gives us confidence that it will be readily adopted into future utility location practice.

Enquiries: utilitylocation@linz.govt.nz

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