• Sectors:
  • Infrastructure

January 7th 2014, HBK Engineering, The Roderick Group and EJM Engineering took on the task of providing professional locating services for the City of Chicago’s Subsurface Utility Infrastructure with the goal of damage prevention/facility protection. With an installed infrastructure stretching to all corners of the City; The City’s Department of Water Management (DWM) mains and services, The Office of Emergency Management and Communication’s (OEMC) copper and fiber communications cables, CDOT’s Division of Electrical Operation’s (DEO) Traffic and Street Light infrastructure, CDOT’s Median Planter Box water and electrical services and All City owned infrastructure for both Airports (O’Hare and Midway).


 The group is responsible for finding innovating ways to improve the City’s record drawing document management and leveraging key pieces of technology while addressing the daily ticket loads that fluctuate between 300 tickets per day during seasonal lows to as much as 800 tickets per day during the heart of dig season. HBK and its partners are tasked with an estimated 150,000 dig requests per year that need to be safely, accurately and punctually located. HBK and its partners have demonstrated a commitment to doing the right things in the public way. Many of the excavators in the public way rely on HBK for survey, design and permitting services. Professional Utility Locating services is the next step in an evolutionary path that takes what was once a very segmented set of tasks in public way construction and applying the same level of excellence from our subsurface engineering expertise. The locating team members are genuinely passionate about raising the industries’ expectations and reducing costly damages.


With a 30 member team that includes command center dispatch services, field management, QA/QC, locators and tech coordinators their drive has been to improve the methodologies currently being utilized by traditional locating companies and apply an honest assessment of the program and pursue a locating process to tailor the services to our clients expectations while delivering more. Locating team members provide value added in the way they communicate errors and omissions to the City’s record drawings, and our members also provide documented situations of public safety using our same communication tools backbone.


Our team has, in the first 8 months of this project, been able to transition Dig Ticket Management Systems and  mold our field team’s geographic distribution to adapt to the changing conditions based on the amount of aging infrastructure replacement by all the major Utilities. We’ve provided ongoing training to make sure that the team stays consistent and that we are constantly re-assessing the tactics we use to provide safe and precise locates. We are now starting to use intelligence gathered through experience to help us meet the daily demand. Efficiencies will grow and our team will provide the strength of that growth by capturing, documenting, and making readily available the experience of our team as we continue to grow.