From surveying to locating – the best of both worlds

After nine years of surveying and working with utility locators, Leyton Varley finally decided to give into his curiosity about locating.

“I approached the Head of Utilities at work and my manager about my interest in locating. They both loved the idea of me progressing my career and learning a new skill,” said Leyton.

It was a change in direction that Leyton hasn’t regretted.

“Becoming a locator has brought new opportunities to learn, grow and excel within an evolving construction industry. It’s also opened new pathways for both my career and at work that I never imagined,” said Leyton.

Leyton is a Senior Surveyor and Utility Locator with Survey Management Solutions, in Melbourne, Victoria. He says the most challenge aspect of the job is dealing with distorted signals. On the flipside, his favourite thing about being a locator is the problem solving and playing a role in protecting his colleagues from harm.

“Safety is extremely important to me. It’s also key pillar of our company and our highest priority on any work site.

“Being able to locate and protect underground services from accidental damage brings me great satisfaction – it means I’m protecting workmates and others from harm. With construction being a high-risk industry, nothing’s more important than going home to your loved ones every night,” said Leyton.

Taking care at work certainly applied to Leyton in one instance. He recalled his most dangerous encounter to date was with a huge brown snake he uncovered curled up in a Telstra pit.

“Safe to say this pit was UTO (unable to open) that day! Maybe I should’ve clamped it to see if it had a trace,” joked Leyton.

Locating is often likened to detective work, it involves problem solving, exploring and unearthing interesting finds, as Leyton has discovered.

“We carried out a QL-A and QL-B locate and survey job in a main street of Collingwood, alongside saw-cutting and NDD (non-destructive digging) workers. What made this job so interesting was seeing multiple layers of old bluestone that was still there well below the existing surface.

“It was fascinating to see the remnants of an old Melbourne street – and many unknown services too!” said Leyton.

In becoming a locator, Leyton also sought to take the next step and become a Certified Locator. His approach was to go slow and make sure he was prepared for each stage of his training and certification.

“I didn’t rush into the certification program. I made sure I was diligent with my work and training, so I was well prepared for the exams.

“Being a surveyor, I took the slower route, managing both survey work and locating training together. I believe the extra time I took meant I was ready for the tests and made me a better locator in the long run.

“Learning from quality, experienced locators made all the difference too,” said Leyton.

Congratulations on becoming a Certified Locator Leyton! With more than 900 Certified Locators across Australia, you’re part of the solution that helps keep site crews safe – and prevents damage to underground utilities.

Find out more about becoming a Certified Locator here.

To contact a Certified Locator for your next project search here.

Connect with Leyton on LinkedIn.

Connect with Survey Management Solutions on LinkedIn.