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Locating Gas Mains with Vac-Ex

We needed to locate a 6-inch gas main running through a new development plot, requiring precise excavation in order to determine its exact location and assess its impact on construction plans.


  • When our team was approached by a large housing developer with a unique excavation challenge, we saw it as the perfect opportunity to utilise our new VAC-EX AIR-VAC. We needed to locate a 6-inch gas main running through a new development plot, requiring precise excavation in order to determine its exact location and assess its impact on construction plans.
  • Located on old farmland, the site was intended for the construction of 65 homes, with the gas main servicing houses across the area. In order for construction to continue on schedule, it was crucial for our work to be fast, accurate, and unobtrusive.
  • To locate a 6-inch gas main potentially running underneath one of the plots.
    Vacuum excavate a 35-metre long by 1-metre deep trench diagonally across the plot to find the gas main.
    Assess whether the gas main could be moved and if the house(s) could be built.



We utilised a VAC-EX AIR-VAC for this job, a cutting-edge piece of equipment designed for safe excavation and the location of hidden services. Boasting a compact and agile design, the AIR-VAC allowed us to access tight and confined spaces that were previously inaccessible with larger vacuum excavators. Our team were able to quickly excavate a 35-metre long trench across the property, searching for the 6-inch gas main.

The VAC-EX’s advanced turbine and filtration system ensured a thorough excavation while minimising the risk of damaging existing services.

Key Benefits

Our mini-tracked VAC-EX proved to be a time and cost-saving solution for the project. Its compact size and powerful vacuum technology allowed us to swiftly locate the gas main, reducing excavation time and eliminating the risk of service strikes for the client.


  • Avoiding potential service strikes reduced financial risks for the client.
  • Efficient excavation reduced labour and equipment costs.


  • Swift excavation with the AIR-VAC minimised the overall project timeline.
  • Quick identification of the gas main location allowed for prompt decision-making and progress for the client.


  • The reduction in manual digging decreased soil disturbance and disruption to the surrounding ecosystem.

Why We Use the VAC-EX

  • Safe Excavation: VAC-EX equipment is optimised for safe digging around live services and utilities, with an air lance and vacuum excavation hose made from HDPE Plastic, providing insulation against live underground cables. It has been tested and certified to 75KV, ensuring safe operation.
  • Innovative Design: The AIR-VAC, developed by VAC-EX, solves the challenge of safe excavation in restricted access areas. Its turbine and filtration design ensures a high level of vacuum power.v
    Compact and Lightweight: Weighing 2,200kg and equipped with a trailer, the AIR-VAC is light enough to be towed behind a transit van. Its tracked mobility allows for easy access to tight locations.
  • Efficient Operation: The ground is agitated using compressed air through the AIR-EX lance, powered by a vehicle-mounted compressor. Debris is vacuumed into the integrated skip for easy disposal.
  • Versatile Disposal: Once the skip is full, the AIR-VAC mobile vacuum excavator can be tracked to a tipping point, and the skip can be raised to allow debris to be transferred to a designated location, machine bucket, or low trailer.


This project underscores the value of our innovative VAC-EX AIR-VAC in navigating complex excavation tasks. We located the hidden gas main swiftly, mitigated potential risks, and reduced environmental disruption – all contributing to time and cost savings for our client.

Each project is unique, and we’re always prepared to adapt our strategies and leverage our advanced tools to ensure optimal outcomes.

Facing a complex excavation challenge? Let us show you how our technology and expertise can safeguard your project while saving you time and money. Contact us today – we’re ready to make your next project a success.

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