If you’re planning any underground maintenance work, then you’re probably concerned about avoiding underground assets such as gas pipes. A recent report cited that accidental damage from excavations cost Queensland over $20,000,000 worth of damage in 2017 alone.
To avoid any costly mistakes, it’s worth asking how deep gas pipes are in Australia, and what the best strategies are for avoiding them during construction.
How deep are gas pipes buried in Australia?
The actual depth can vary depending on whether the builder designed the gas pipe as an access point or no. However, there is a rough average over the nation. The depth of the gas pipes in Australia average between 200mm to 600mm beneath the surface.
This depth is relatively similar in comparison to other countries. Such as the UK, which ranges between 375mm and 700mm depending on their location. Or, in the US where gas pipes have to be at least 500mm deep
Can you dig over a gas line?
We would never advise digging over a gas line because there’s a reason we keep them buried so deep. If one of the pipes becomes damaged, then some of the gas can escape. This instance can result in a fire or an explosion depending on the type of damage caused.
Even if you’re only digging at a shallow level, the disturbance to the ground may cause unseen damage to the pipes beneath the surface.
One option is that the damage is instant, causing an immediate safety danger to the people on-site. However, the more sinister potential is for a slow leak, which causes a steady release of gas over time and causes a much bigger explosion. Posing a risk to both yourselves and the public, it’s best to avoid gas lines.
How far away can you dig from a gas line?
The Australian Government recommends that for underground assets, the minimum approach distance should be 300 mm or more. This number increases for high-pressure services and mains, and you must complete comprehensive risk assessments before beginning work.
However, for you to safely avoid gas pipes, you need to know where they are. This data can change over time with surface erosion making old readings inaccurate, and you never know what might be lying beneath the surface.
What’s the solution?
You must have up-to-date Dial Before You Dig Plan on-site before any construction work begins. Plus, these need to be in-line with regulation AS5488, ‘Classification of Subsurface Utility Information’ (SUI). Failing to do this before work begins can leave you liable.
So, if you need to conduct excavation or below-ground maintenance work, you need an underground service locators service. Here at Lambert Locations, we use the latest in EMF technology to give you an accurate position of any underground assets.
On top of this, we can give you an approximate of how deep they are so you can conduct a proper risk assessment.
Contact Lambert Locations
If you need underground service locators, then get in touch with our team today. Our professional team offer a prompt and thorough service, so call them today to book.