This article is from the President of Atlanta, Georgia based GPR firm Xenogenesis Radar Imaging, Roger Baldwin:
WHY YOUR CORING COMPANY SHOULD NOT BE YOUR RADAR IMAGING COMPANY
When Xenogenesis started back in 2002 RADAR imaging was new and we were the only firm in the area that specialized in using ground penetrating RADAR to locate steel in elevated slabs. My background was in industrial x-ray of concrete slab, as well as, steel inspection of new construction. This combination made me the perfect candidate for performing RADAR imaging because most buildings I walked into I already knew what to expect in the floor before I ever got my equipment out. My firm enjoyed the status of being the only RADAR firm until the construction industry fell apart in 2008. We only did RADAR imaging and avoided coring of locations out of respect for the coring companies that used our service. Unfortunately, when the bottom fell out of the construction industry the coring companies did not have the same respect for the RADAR industry. Overnight three of the larger firms bought equipment and attended the two day class to learn to do RADAR imaging. My firm still had respect for the remaining coring companies that did not perform RADAR imaging so instead of Xenogenesis going into the coring business we chose to subcontract to the coring firms that do not perform their own RADAR imaging. Honestly, we know very little about coring at Xenogenesis except pricing and scheduling information because we are not a coring firm, we do however employee firms that have vast knowledge of the methodology of coring and are spoken of in the highest regards by our clients. We will continue to perform our coring this way and invite any coring firms that can meet our standards to contact us.
RADAR scanning is an art form just like coring it takes dedication and a great deal of time to master the nuances of each area. We choose to focus all our energy on providing error free scans and always improving RADAR imaging. Coring companies do not have the background or the motivation to put much effort into RADAR imaging. I have personally taken the RADAR imaging class offered by the manufacturer and what it will teach you is how to turn on the equipment, calibrate the equipment, and how to do basic scans. What it will not teach you is the various challenges that arise when you are in the real world. So what happens is the coring companies will typically send an apprentice to the class and when he returns all of a sudden they are experts at RADAR imaging. Trust me after talking to my clients that have been burned for thousands of dollars when they trusted them that nothing could be further from the truth. I have been doing this a very long time and I know for a fact that it takes a minimum of six months of everyday training to produce a technician that will not cause you a financial headache. A two day class will not produce a qualified RADAR technician.
Coring companies started doing RADAR imaging as a way to make up for revenue lost due to the economic slow down. If you look at their websites it is obvious that they do not consider RADAR imaging a serious part of their company. I have visited areas where they have scanned and personally found the marks to sometime be off and once even found them to be the exact opposite of what was in the floor. I have spoken with several clients that have hit conduits in the floor where a coring company scanned it and they informed me that the coring company indicated that it was “all part of the job and stuff happens” and that they were not responsible for any damage that occurs. This is not a random occurrence mainly because coring companies started their firms to core holes and that is where they place all of their effort. When coring a hole the coring company places a hole where the client tells them too and I agree they are not responsible for any damage that occurs because they didn’t pick the area or lead the client to the area, but when they scan the area they are telling the client the safe areas to core. It is at this point that the coring firm should take responsibility for any damage, but they do not and the client is left with an expensive mess that the coring company will walk away from. To add insult to injury they will send a bill for the scan as well. These are the problems that give legitimate RADAR firm a bad name.
When Xenogenesis scans for hole placement we will tell you up front if we can guarantee the spot or not and if the client wishes to get the area physically x-rayed instead we will not charge them if they provide us with an x-ray invoice because we want our clients to have error free cores. We want our clients to have an error free core as possible, and when a mishap occurs we step up and take responsibility for any damage that we are responsible, we will investigate thoroughly and try to determine what happened so it will not happen again in the future.
Most coring companies will not tell you but RADAR scanning is an opinion. It is their opinion of what their RADAR equipment tells them about the floor and their interpretation. What they do not tell you is that because it is an opinion their firm should be treated like an engineering firm or a surveying firm, both of which give their clients their opinion. Because the service they provide is an opinion standard general liability will not cover any damage that occurs due to their error or omission. This means if there is ever any major damage that their client will have no recourse but to cover damage themselves. The insurance they need is “errors and omission” insurance which is the same required of engineers and surveyors but they will not get the insurance because clients do not require it. The clients do not require it because they don’t know what the insurance company will say until it is too late and damage has occurred. If the coring company truly cared about the RADAR imaging portion of their business they would carry this insurance without having to be required. Xenogenesis always tries to look out for every issue that may arrive and will always have the right coverage for our clients projects.
In conclusion, Xenogenesis is not a coring company. RADAR imaging of elevated slab is not something we just do on the side, it is the only thing we focus on. Our clients will never have the same technician coring that does the RADAR scans because our clients need people that are reliable and well trained in RADAR imaging. We will always be striving to provide the best RADAR imaging as possible and to stand by our scans if a mishap occurs. We will always have the correct insurance even when our clients don’t require it.