Atkins has started the operation for making a digital map of underground cables and pipes to improve worker safety and boost construction projects all over the UK.
This week, the engineering consultancy has launched the construction phase of the National Underground Asset Register project officially.
The initiative which was declared earlier this year, is being guided by a task force including the government’s Geospatial Commission and utility companies.
Atkins has received an award to deliver the construction phase, making a “minimal viable product” for the North East of England, Wales, and London before enhancing and rolling it out to the rest of England and Northern Ireland.
Each year, over 4M holes are excavated in the UK, and the annual economic cost of accidental utility damage is measured at £2.4bn.
It is expected from the digital map created by the asset register project to facilitate building projects and assist to keep workers safe.
Lord True, the Cabinet Office minister stated: “This new digital map of the UK’s underground utilities assets demonstrates our commitment to putting innovation at the forefront of the UK’s economic recovery and ambition to build back better.
He also added: “The digital map will be built in partnership between industry and government over the next three years, and enable critical and local services, such as gas, water, electricity, and telecommunications, to be efficiently maintained and delivered to homes and businesses via the web of cables, pipes, and ducts currently beneath our streets.”
Moreover, Nigel Clifford, the Geospatial Commission deputy chair asserted: “Our National Underground Asset Register will be a momentous step towards providing the UK with a shared national data asset of significant value. I am proud of the collaboration with industry that we have so far established as part of our preparatory work and look forward to it continuing.”