Introducing PAS 256: The New Specification for Managing Location Information of Buried Assets

Thu 13th Apr 2017

Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 256

Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 256 is here! Recently launched by the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE) in collaboration with the British Standards Institution (BSI) and Infrastructure UK, PAS 256 is the newly developed national common code of practice for buried apparatus that is implementable across the UK.

The UK's vast utility network and local authority infrastructure includes 1.5 million km of assets which are buried beneath the highways, roads and footpaths across the whole country. Maintaining this network is a massive undertaking for utility industry and local highway authorities, who collectively carry out a total of 3.5 million street works annual to repair and upgrade the network.

However, despite the near constant upgrade and repair process required in order to maintain the network, there currently is no central repository of data for buried services and no consistent means for sharing such data. At present, the way utilities manage and maintain data on their own infrastructure can vary from company to company and even from department to department. A variety of different formats are used, including vector maps, paper drawings and even microfiche, making the coordination of information a logistical challenge.

This is where PAS 256 comes in, providing recommendations for the capturing, recording, maintaining and sharing of location information and data for buried assets. It has been designed to be used by organisations that own buried assets, those that require asset records for planning and design purposes as well as those who undertake work close to buried assets. Ultimately, PAS 256 aims to support the creation of a coordinated digital map using real world location to improve planning coordination and project delivery.

Our Experience

At Mallon Technology, we are highly experienced in providing mapping and digitisation services to the Utilities industry. This has seen us help clients such as KN Network Services, to map and develop a Utility System on Demand (USOD). The web-based mapping system provides its users with detailed, accurate layout maps and associated assets for a specified area.

A team of two highly experienced GIS developers and a GIS data specialist were used to build the USOD GIS, which involved the completion of a number of separate tasks, including:

  • The Development of a web-based GIS which included features such as online digitising, redline mark-ups, print templates and a variety of searching functions
  • Conversion and preparation of OSi vector data
  • Conversion and preparation of GIS datasets delivered in a variety of formats
  • Integration of a gazetteer system for searching and locating
  • Testing and deployment of the system

Completion of the project dramatically improved access to important information regarding the location of underground assets before they began work in any location, helping to keep site workers safe and avoid unnecessary digging to locate assets. In addition to this, the system was designed to be easily updated and maintained, enabling maps and mark-ups to be shared easily.

How We Can Help

With one of the largest GIS teams in the UK and Ireland, we can assist any company or organisation looking to comply with the specifications of PAS 256. We have a range of services that can help organisations of any size, including:

  • GIS Services - does your organisation lack the time or expertise to undertake the work needed to meet the specifications of PAS 256? Our highly-experienced GIS team can work on-site or off to help bring your data in line with PAS 256. We can provide expert consultancy and advice based around your needs and project requirements to ensure you implement the most appropriate and cost effective solution.
  • GIS Software Development - our work has seen us create bespoke GIS systems for different clients to meet a number of requirements. Leveraging Open Source technologies, we can develop a mapping application which will meet your specific needs.
  • Azimap - the complete web GIS mapping platform. We can develop custom built applications unique to your organisation which utilise all the advanced features of Azimap. Available anywhere, Azimap enables maps and data to be shared quickly and easily.
  • Map Digitisation - is your information locked away in map based maps? Our Document Capture team can scan and digitally capture a range of paper based maps, up to A0 in size, and geo-reference the data to ensure that it correctly aligns with its real-world position and the other datasets in your GIS.

Benefits of PAS 256

With a growing concern over the level of traffic congestion across the UK, PAS 256 will help to improve the administration procedure for street works, resulting in a reduction of work undertaken. The benefits of PAS 256 will be seen not just by organisations implementing the practice but by the wider public as well. Ultimately it will help to:

  • Reduce the number of road works and congestion through better planning and cooperation across utilities
  • Improve safety for site workers - workers will be able to access accurate information that will help to reduce accidents
  • Speed up the completion of projects - detailed information will ensure that workers can dig in the precise location without having to search for a particular asset
  • Save costs
  • Improve the accuracy of data when capturing and recording information

To learn more about how we can help your organisation comply with the specifications of PAS 256, please get in touch.