RS Banner.png
  • Emma Chetwynd Jarvis

What are Desktop Utility Searches and how can they benefit you?

What are desktop utility searches?

Desktop utility searches are the most basic form of utility survey. A non-intrusive process, searches are carried out remotely, using either paper or existing online records of locations and positions of any underground utility works.

Using information readily available, desktop utility searches give us as surveyors the ability to build a picture of a construction site, from topography to buried infrastructure without ever having to come to the site.

This has several benefits, including minimising time spent on-site, preparing surveyors for what they will find and saving time searching a wide area for utilities.

How do desktop searches work?

Desktop searches are often easy and relatively quick to complete.

Through researching a site, you can find reports and records of previous utility surveys, including service networks in the vicinity and any underground structures which should be noted prior to any construction or excavation works.

Why carry out desktop searches?

Desktop searches carry with them several benefits for both surveyors and clients, most notably saving time that surveyors will spend on site but also minimising the time spent in the surveying phase of a project.

For the most part, information on a site is easily accessible and can be found in a short time researching online. Council records and results of previous surveys are available to download, often free of charge and provide a basis of what the site is like.

However, as records are often either incomplete or inaccurate, desktop surveys can sometimes be unreliable and as such are used mostly as a preliminary step to a full survey.

What are the benefits?

Carrying out any utility survey is done with the intent of ensuring maximum on-site safety that utility strikes do not happen at the construction stage, and that serious injury to contractors or staff is prevented.

Desktop Searches allow surveyors to build up an image of a site’s geography, features and any structures or utilities which are in the area, without ever going to the site.

This allows surveyors to be better prepared for on-site surveying, for example using geophysical tools like ground penetrating radar (GPR) or electromagnetic location (EML).

As a result, surveyors spend less time on site, minimising down-time and providing a clearer, more accurate result of your site survey.

How can Rock Surveying help?

Rock Surveying is experienced in providing accurate underground utility surveys in high risk, urban and rural locations. Our team of Surveyors guarantee accurate results through a variety of different methods, including ground penetrating radar (GPR) and electromagnetic location (EML).

To learn more about the importance of utility surveying or to speak to one of our professional surveyors, contact us today at or call 01905 456 384.