The County Council monitors the works undertaken by utility companies and inspects over a third their works to ensure that signing and guarding and reinstatements comply with National specifications.
Once completed, a utility reinstatement has a two year guarantee period. If the reinstatement fails within this period then the utility company is usually required to rectify the fault at their own cost. If more than 10% of a company's reinstatements fail within two years then the company is required to put in place an action plan to resolve the problems.
The County Council also undertakes additional inspections on utility company works (at cost to the utility company) to ensure compliance with the plan. These additional inspections only cease when the failure rate drops back below 10%.
Our records show that only a tiny proportion of utility reinstatements fail to comply with the National specification for safe signing and visible surface defects. Most are 95%+ compliant and some even have a 100% compliance rate.
The County Council also undertakes regular inspections of work undertaken by its own contractors to assess site safety and quality of workmanship. As with utility companies, the small percentage of any defective works are usually repaired at no cost to the County Council.
In order to assess the depths and types of materials used in reinstatements and road works the County Council undertakes a programme of random core testing. Results are analysed and discussed with contractors in order to determine trends and arrest poor performance.
The County Council has developed a voluntary code of practice with utility companies and County Council contractors, with the aim of improving the quality of works and further minimising disruption. It covers works in Hampshire, including those parts of Hampshire that are the responsibility of Southampton City Council.
The Code of Practice is called the Good Working Practice Agreement, and it complements the National Code of Practice developed by the Highway Authorities & Utilities Committee (HAUC(UK)