The Importance of SUE - Blog Series, Part I

Nearly every civil infrastructure project is impacted by existing utilities. By using SUE to accurately map existing utility facilities civil engineers can mitigate these impacts, and reduce unnecessary utility relocations and delays. The results are measurable project cost savings, a reduced schedule, and a safer working environment for the contractor. 


There have been several case studies on the impact SUE can have on your project. The studies confirm that SUE can save you 3 to 4 times your investment (or more!) by eliminating conflicts and delays. Please don’t take our word on it, read the case studies for yourself here:


Case Studies

January 2000 FHWA/Purdue Case Studies

  • A total of 71 projects from Virginia, North Carolina, Texas and Ohio were studied.
  • “The total savings on a typical project may range from 10% to 15% compared with costs from a project not supported by professional SUE.” 

2005 University of Toronto Study

  • $3.41 Return on $1.00 Investment

April 2013: Utility Investigation Study by Texas A&M Transportation Institute

  • Highlights TxDOT’s use of SUE on highway projects
  • Recommends basic SUE training and utility impact analysis training.
  • The estimated benefits by the studies reviewed ranged from $3.41 to $22.21 per $1 spent on SUE services, suggesting a significant return in benefit.

What is SUE? 

Subsurface Utility Engineering, or SUE, is a sub-discipline of civil engineering, that combines technologies and design methodologies to deal with the problems of underground utilities on civil infrastructure projects. 


Professional SUE services should be completed in accordance with the recommended practices and procedures described in ASCE publication CI/ASCE 38-02 “Standard Guidelines for the Collection and Depiction of Existing Subsurface Utility Data.” As described in the publication, four levels have been established to describe and depict the quality of subsurface utility information. 


The four quality levels are as follows:

  • Quality Level D (QL “D”) – Information obtained from existing utility records.
  • Quality Level C (QL “C”) – Surveyed data depicting visible above-ground features supplemented with QL “D” information.
  • Quality Level B (QL “B”) – Two-dimensional horizontal information obtained through the application and interpretation of non-destructive surface geophysical methods. Also known as “designating,” this level incorporates QL “C” and QL “D” information and provides surveyed horizontal positioning of subsurface utilities.
  • Quality Level A (QL “A”) – Three-dimensional horizontal and vertical information obtained through non-destructive vacuum excavation equipment to expose utilities at critical points. Also known as “locating,” this level incorporates QL “B” information and provides precise horizontal and vertical positioning of subsurface utilities.


The Rios Group are experts in SUE. If you have additional questions about the SUE process, would like to understand how to better utilize SUE on your current or next project, or if you and your team are interested in a more in-depth “Lunch & Learn” presentation on SUE, you may contact us at / 817-345-7500 or 512-580-5440.


Keep an eye on this blog for updates. This is the first in an 8-part monthly blog series in which we will touch on the importance of SUE in several different markets, including: transportation, water & wastewater, campuses and facilities design, and more. 

TRG Honored by Oncor as Rising Star Company of the Year

TRG was honored this week by Oncor as the Rising Star Company of the Year for their Supplier Diversity program. The award ceremony, which was scheduled for March 29th, had to be postponed due to storm related power restoration efforts. The award ceremony was worth the wait. We are so honored. Thank you, Oncor!

2017 National Small Business Week is May 1st - 7th

TRG was honored to be featured in the Texas Workforce Commission's video highlighting small business in Texas. President and Owner, Rosa Navejar, was joined by Project Manager Tim Habenicht, PE.  It really is a great time to do business in Texas!

Check out the video here:

TRG announced as Overall Winner at NCTRCA's Annual Awards Dinner

TRG was honored and humbled to be named the recipient of the Overall D/M/WBE Business of the Year at the NCTRCA Awards Gala last night. It's with the support of NCTRCA and their member entities' programs that TRG has been able to flourish. Thank you to NCTRCA for your commitment to D/M/WBE businesses!

Tommy Franke Joins TRG as Senior PM and Lead Over San Antonio

TRG Celebrates Grand Opening of Round Rock Location


Rios Group Launches New Website

TRG launched a new website to kick off 2017, and this year is poised to be the the most exciting year yet. We're planning a Grand Opening celebration for our new office in Round Rock next week, and in July we'll celebrate 5 years of service to our partners. As we continue to be your experts in SUE and UC, we thank you for your confidence in our ability give you responsive, reliable results.  

TRG President Rosa Navejar Honored with Minority Leaders in Business Award

Rosa Navejar, President and Owner of TRG, was honored to recieve the Minorities in Business award from The Fort Worth Business Press. 

Don't let Unknown Utilities Derail Your Next Project!

TRG President on air with PlayMakers Talk Show

Rosa Navejar, President of TRG, sat down with Steve Klien, of the PlayMakers Talk Show, to share her experiences as a CEO.   

Catch Rosa on  Friday, 9/4/15 @ 3 pm and Saturday 9/5/15 @ 2 pm on 770 KAAM.  

Can’t break away to hear the show live? The podcast should appear on the station’s website by Monday 9/7/15 at