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Non Destructive Excavation Services

Non-destructive digging is a method of excavation that prioritises the structural integrity of surrounding material around a zone that requires clearing. It is a widely accepted method of digging that prioritises safety and efficiency and often can be a more affordable and safer alternative to traditional excavation means.

Before any digging, an underground service locator is needed to detect utilities below ground. LiveLocates operates around the NSW South Coast and Canberra region, providing non-destructive excavation services to worksites, commercial properties, and residential properties.

Compared to traditional digging equipment, non-destructive digging allows workers to operate with greater care and reduces the chances of incurring costly damages to public and private infrastructure below the surface. Regardless of your industry or reason for excavation, LiveLocates services can ensure all underground areas are safely cleared.

Using both hydro excavation and vacuum excavation, LiveLocates ensures you can work around existing utilities and cabling underground whilst still being able to clear an area effectively.

Accurate Locating

Dial-Before-You-Dig (DBYD) Certified

Experienced, Local Technicians

What is Non-Destructive Digging?

Non-destructive digging incorporates several excavation techniques that focus on maintaining the integrity of surrounding areas whilst still providing a fast, safe, and effective way of removing material from surrounding underground utilities. Otherwise known as vacuum excavation, hydro-excavation, or non-invasive digging, all these methods provide a similar result of removal of both organic and non-organic material from underground areas.

The non-destructive digging process involves the use of a high-pressure water lance that is applied to dirt, clay, or other terrain underground to dislodge the material before it is removed with the application of a powerful vacuum. The removed waste is sucked into a nearby tank that is often mounted on the rear of a truck or trailer. Non-destructive digging is safer, cleaner, and more environmentally friendly than the use of traditional digging equipment.

vacuum excavation services
vacuum excavation services

Before commencing any non-destructive digging job, a LiveLocates technician will undertake a detailed utility locating investigation using both radio detection and our GPR Services (ground penetrating radar).  Utility locating before any digging is vital to minimising any possible damage to assets or workers. The non-destructive digging equipment will extract the earth via a surgical opening made in the ground. In this opening, the vacuum and lance are inserted to begin the digging and extraction. The vacuum will collect the debris, thus providing a safe exposure of the assets without damage to their external protective layers.

Damaging essential utilities below the ground, such as water, gas or sewer lines or communications and power cables, is extremely dangerous and costly to your project as well as the potential to cause massive delays. Furthermore, you can cause lengthy disruptions to the provision of these services and inconveniences to local areas. Non-destructive excavation is sensitive to these concerns and enables workers to operate with these considerations in mind.

Utilise Non Destructive Technology to Safely Clear Land.

Frequently Asked Questions


What are the benefits of non-destructive excavation?

LiveLocate’s non-destructive excavation program is one of our most popular services. This method is most typically used for safe excavation around underground utilities to perform Quality Level A locating in accordance with Australian Standards AS5488 Subsurface Utility Investigation, drain clearing, digging trenches and potholes.  Here are some of the other benefits involved:

1. Cost-effective digging

The cost benefits of utilising non-destructive digging equipment are evident. Beginning with a lower risk of damaging surrounding utilities, non-destructive excavation will quickly remove the chance of incurring costly repairs. Causing damage to these assets will also delay your project, leaving you with further costs. In fact, in certain situations, LiveLocates vacuum excavation services are cheaper than more traditional digging equipment and requires less operating power, saving money on labour costs.

2. Quicker process 

Non-destructive digging allows for the exposure of buried utilities, thus presenting accurate information on the location of these assets saving you time and money. Additionally, even if you have identified the location of assets underground, the process of hand digging around utilities is time-consuming, inefficient and often dangerous.

3. Safer digging 

Essential cables and pipes run below almost every worksite both in rural and urban locations. In more urban settings, subsurface areas are even more densely packed. When working in these environments, it is essential you operate with an increased degree of care and consideration. High-pressure pipes and electrical cables can cause severe damage or injury to workers if they are broken. Non-destructive digging is the safest way to clear these areas without damaging nearby assets.


When should my worksite use non-destructive digging?

Non-destructive excavation methods like vacuum excavation are used routinely across all industries involved in civil, infrastructure and construction works. LiveLocates can assist worksites needing maintenance, installation, or repair work with our digging equipment. It is a safe alternative to mechanical digging when critical subsurface infrastructure needs to be avoided.


Is non-destructive excavation environmentally friendly?

This excavation method is considered the most eco-friendly method of removing debris from underground. Digging is done in a fast and clean way that removes only the parts of the environment that it needs to. In doing this, the surrounding areas maintain their integrity, and nothing is damaged. The machines store all the debris removed, and the land can be easily restored to its original state following the excavation.


What types of worksites use non-destructive digging services?

LiveLocates offers accurate and safe non-destructive digging services to any engineering or construction projects across our service range.

Most commonly, these services are used by:

  • Plumbers and electricians
  • Infrastructure Contractors
  • Local Government
  • Directional Drillers & Underground Cable Layers
  • Utility Providers
  • Building Construction Companies
  • Excavation & Civil Construction Contractors
  • Geotechnical Engineers


Why is it important to conduct non-destructive digging?

  • Reduce the risk of damaging vital assets and utilities below the ground.
  • Dig with greater precision compared to traditional methods.
  • Keeps the integrity of nearby structures like tree roots.
  • Lessens the risk of damage to workers and public property through accidents.


Where do LiveLocates service?

Our non-destructive excavation services extend right across the South Coast of NSW, the Snowy Valley, Snowy Mountains and throughout the Canberra region. More specifically:

Snowy Mountains – Jindabyne, Thredbo, Perisher, Crackenback, Cabramurra

Snowy Monaro – Berridale, Cooma, Bombala, Bredbo, Dalgety, Delegate, Michelago

Snowy Valley – Tumut, Talbingo, Khancoban, Adaminaby, Tumbarumba

NSW South Coast – Nowra, Huskisson, Batemans Bay, Moruya, Narooma, Bermagui, Bega, Tathra, Merimbula, Eden

Canberra suburbs and surrounding regions

For more information contact us on 1300 517 062 or with an online enquiry, and we will get back to you about how we can help.