Do you have questions about BYDA’s Plan Reading Sessions?

We conducted a Q&A with our education team. Here’s what they had to say:

How do the Plan Reading sessions contribute to safer excavation and digging practices?

You don’t know what you don’t know” is an old saying. Many people are dismissive of utility asset maps, mainly because they are not familiar with reading them. Our Introduction to Plan Reading course is designed to give you the skills and knowledge to accurately locate yourself on the map, look for the surface features like valve covers, pit lids and markers and match them to the plans. The session also shows you where to look for other clues, who to contact for further advice, and how to make educated decisions on the best path forward in the five Ps of safe excavation.

What distinguishes the plan reading sessions from the well-known BYDA awareness session?

While the BYDA Awareness session is great for highlighting the dangers and risks to those at the frontline, such as plant operators and spotters, the Introduction to Plan Reading is aimed at everyone in the design and site control stages of any ground disturbance project. Designers and planners can do a desktop study using a combination of the Utility Owners’ maps (QL-D) together with some aerial photography or a detailed site survey as a base layer. From there, they might do a site walk-through to confirm the presence of certain utilities and perhaps produce a “Combined Utilities Drawing” (CUD) asset location plan to Quality Level C under Australian Standard 5488. Using the skills obtained in the Introduction to Utility Plans, Engineers and site managers can take the CUDs and current Before You Dig Plans to check for critical design interfaces that might require further investigation, like potholing to get Quality Level A data and/or the presence of an asset protection officer.

Leon, BYDA’s dedicated Education Officer in NSW, leads an informative Plan Reading session complete with real-life onsite examples.

Can you share any success stories or feedback from participants who have attended one of your Plan Reading sessions?

On the 7th of November, we had the pleasure of hosting BYDA as special guests as part of an ongoing catch-up series for the NSW Construction Regulators. Our inspectors were engaged throughout the session as it was practical and provided a hands-on experience in utility identification within the busy Parramatta CBD area. The session was so successful that we proposed inspectors outside of construction would also benefit from attending and are looking forward to collaborating again in the new year

Ryan, Safe Work NSW

I found the presentation to be extremely informative. It gave us a greater understanding of the importance of BYDA and how it could impact on a design.


It was good to have the opportunity to view the services in real life and see how they correlate to the Utility maps. It gave me a greater familiarity with the symbols and line drawings.


Help your team develop and upskill to interpret asset owners’ plans, legends, and symbols effectively. Understand the complexities of plan interpretation to ensure smooth project execution. Book your free session today.