Pivotal to the success of managing all building, road, and railway construction projects is the effectiveness of conditioning works. Re-alignment of cables and pipelines is a major part of this. Unfortunately, these conditioning works often cause overruns due to their unclear location information, poor alignment between network designs, and other unexpected surprises in the ground. Also during the regular operation period of buried networks, ‘spontaneous’ failures, and utility strikes cause significant economic damage and result in nuisance. This is a major societal challenge. Trends like the energy transition, climate change mitigation, and rise of smart city technologies will magnify this. The additional demand for utility streetworks will disrupted urban space, creating ever more complexity and nuisance.

What do we do about this? The CME group runs the programmes of ZoARG (www.zoarg.com) and FiDETT (www.fidett.com) to help resolve problems of coordination, asset management, and safety. We implement and test off-the shelve technologies (e.g. GPR), develop open digital data models, create 3D/4D visualization concepts, and train new ‘underground professionals’. Our research and development work closely connects to the industry, relates to MBO and HBO educational institutes, and has a significant empirical component.