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February 18, 2021

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Safe digging industry improves in 2020

Online safe digging resource LSBUD says it saw more than three million searches for underground pipes and cables pass through its central system in 2020. This record figure was up 9% on the previous year, showcasing the health of the UK’s safe digging industry despite the restrictions and uncertainty surrounding COVID-19.

Richard BroomeRichard Broome, MD at LSBUD, comments: “In order to pass the three million milestone, our portal had to receive a search enquiry every 2.5 seconds during the average working day. This is phenomenal, especially given how disruptive 2020 was with the lockdowns we faced and the halts to construction and big infrastructure projects. It shows that we have surpassed the tipping point for people searching before they dig, and we’re thrilled that this safe digging message is having more of an impact than ever before.

“As we all know, the consequences of hitting an underground asset have significant health and safety, financial and brand implications. It really is lose/lose. However, the good news is more and more people are starting to see that this can all be avoided via asset searching. In fact, our data shows that this has rapidly become second nature and is now a standard step in the vast majority of excavation projects. Long may this improvement continue.”

Further to a record-breaking number of searches, asset owners are continuing to understand the benefits of having greater visibility of their networks, with LSBUD onboarding 11 new members in 2020 from across different industries. These additions mean that the organisation now has over 60% of the utility providers in the UK as Members, and that over two thirds (1 million of the UK’s 1.5 million kilometres) of underground pipes and cables are covered by the central system.

Richard continues: “It was great to welcome so many organisations of different sizes and from different industries to LSBUD in 2020, such as Jurassic Fibre, SSE Renewables, Gas Networks Ireland and Portsmouth Water as well as several others that are either in the contractual or setup phase to go live in 2021.”

“By joining our system, they are able to benefit from the ‘safety of the herd’ effect – the more asset owners who share their information through one central portal, the more enquiries they receive, whilst keeping those doing the digging safe at the same time. Momentum is building and we look forward to welcoming more asset owners to the system in 2021.”

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