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Universal delivers a broad range of professional services to help build
the infrastructure needed for a modern nation. Considering all the
pipelines, electric transmission lines, new highways, water facilities,
airports, and other improvements needed for our society, Universal's
professional services are vital to solving your problems.
Our complete services include –
Land and Right of Way
Universal excels at the processes of acquiring property interests for
infrastructure projects. It is our entire focus, and all surrounding
services are devoted to deliver results more effectively and efficiently.
Acquiring real property interests involves land title, valuation,
descriptions, conditions, and much more detail. But, most importantly, it
involves People. Our approach is to quickly build rapport and understanding
with our clients, with subconsultants, and with those affected by a project.
The interests we acquire might include permanent easements for project
structures or needs, access easements, temporary work easements, fee title
(ownership of all rights), permits, and other rights.
Project management consists of the range of duties to oversee in a most
effective manner the execution of a project's tasks. Project management not
only includes the specific project manager but also the supervisors below
that position and the corporate management team above the position. The
Project Manager has a key role in determining the success of the project
through skillful communications, scheduling, budget management, quality
control, and data management.
Some level of environmental permitting is required on every pipeline and
electric transmission line as well as for many government projects.
Environmental permit requirements can be as minor as a seasonal stream
crossing or as major as an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) with
required federal government approvals.
Effective project development requires Right of Way and Environmental
staff to be involved in the early planning of a project. These services help
plan the routes and ensure that the right of way can not only be acquired,
but that the project can be built there. Universal’s Environmental Services
Division and our right of way staff will efficiently coordinate those key
services from project conception through construction.
Surveying & Mapping
Through our subsidiary Universal Surveying & Mapping (USM) (www.usmsurveying.com),
Universal offers customized surveying and mapping solutions for projects of
any scale. USM is an experienced provider of surveying and mapping services.
Our clients benefit from our decades of experience and the latest technology
tools, such as GPS, Robotic Total Station, GIS, terrestrial laser scanning,
utility coordination, and airborne LiDAR. The integrated way USM and
Universal Field Services can work together on a project accelerates
performance and minimizes costs. We are devoted to customer service by
staying on schedule, in touch, and within the budget.
Universal’s GIS/Mapping Division offers extensive experience serving clients with a broad range of geospatial services including Cartography, Map Production, Web Map Services, and Spatial Analysis. From project conception to completion, our GIS specialists leverage ESRI’s suite of products to provide comprehensive mapping services and deliver powerful business intelligence in a wide range of formats. Combining geospatial data from various sources with project data collected by our right of way staff, we collaborate with all project disciplines to provide visual representations of key metrics from feasibility to construction. This includes coordinating data transfer between our ROW field staff, environmental group, and surveying team. Our GIS services are designed to meet the specific needs of each project and deliver critical data with cost effective solutions.
Services include: due diligence research and recommendations, route and site selection, feasibility studies, environmental planning and permitting, natural and water resources, cultural resources, air quality, and construction liaison.
Universal has long recognized the importance of providing our clients
with documentation to support the quality processes that have taken place in
the acquisition of property and displacement of any residences and
businesses. Our file systems relate to the scope of the projects we are
serving and the requirements of our client. When only a few parcels are
affected, we might utilize a simple MS Excel spreadsheet for tracking and
reporting. For large projects, we have progressively developed and used
database systems with increasing versatility and scalability for tracking
all data and adapting to unique reporting or documentation needs.
In addition, our new database system has leading-edge features to store
GIS, aerial, and other useful data as well as interact with it online. Users
of the system can find specific data or document images, relate data files
to other information, store the information in formats determined by the
client, share the data with others, and generate reports. Universal also has
highly skilled and experienced GIS and mapping resources in-house for
maximum effectiveness of management and connectivity with that data.
Our substantial experience in federal-aid acquisition programs and the
database management requirements of those programs has been a good guide to
the importance of maintaining detailed and comprehensive files regarding
Line List Preparation
At the earliest stages of executing projects for new pipelines and
electric transmission lines, right of way staff often must develop a list of
all potential property owners in the vicinities of the project locations.
The lists are developed when agents with special training review tax rolls
and conduct detailed research of property title. Research will be done to
determine all parties of interest in the project. The findings are then
placed in the project database and the documentation is saved in a
well-organized file system. The Line List then allows the project team to
contact property owners and other stakeholders to inform them of key
information regarding the project.
Right of Way Cost Estimates are analyses of the potential costs of land
and right of way needed for a project and are done to assist in the
consideration of or design of a project to minimize impacts on society,
overall costs, and schedule management.
Dedicated to providing best-value services, the Universal Team is focused
on the effective management of plans, schedule and budgets. Universal
listens to the client and stakeholders and recommends useful solutions to
areas of concern. Universal is dedicated to the efficient and effective
application of every effort in accomplishing our client's goals.
A Title Report/Search provides a summary of the status of current
ownership of and interests in a particular property following a review or
search of the public record regarding that property. This usually is
prepared in order to issue a title commitment of insurance by a properly
The title search can look back at ownership over differing periods of
time, such as just to the transfer of the current owner, to 20 or 30 years,
or even back to patent when the U.S. government conveyed ownership to the
first private party.
These are an independent and objective analysis of the value of property
conducted by an appraiser with unique experience and skill in conducting
such analysis. For real estate valuation appraisals, experts traditionally
use three approaches to value and reconcile the findings most appropriate
for the parcel/property being appraised. The approaches are Market Data,
Cost, and Income. Usually, one method is the most relevant for a particular
Universal often contracts with the most experienced and skilled
appraisers knowledgeable of a project location so the most reliable
valuation information is obtained and presented properly.
The final decision for the location of a project's features (route)
consists of many complex analyses. These might include environmental
studies, government review, cost analysis, public outreach reviews, and
other considerations. The typical analysis done by Universal for rights of
way issues affecting route selection includes (as appropriate) land
valuation, types of properties affected by the project, potential
residential or business relocations, and public outreach.
Right of Way Permitting is a form of acquisition typically done very
early in a project by which all regulatory or governmental interests that
are affected by a project are recognized, documented, and appropriate
approvals obtained relative to the project's right of way needs.
Universal will acquire all use Permits issued by affected counties,
federal and state highway Permits, county road crossing Permits, Railroad
Crossing Licenses, permits from other utilities, and other federal or local
permits required for the construction of the transmission line.
An essential element of any project involves establishing and managing
the records needed to document all activities and transactions as well as to
show compliance with the program objectives and ensure eligibility for
State/Federal participation, if applicable. Universal maintains a separate
file for each parcel, permit, or other activity. Universal will deliver
written status reports in an acceptable format according to the client's
schedule covering all aspects of the project to the client. For projects
that have an internet-accessible database, the system will be enabled to
provide authorized users customized reports to serve their needs.
Universal has conducted diligent and thoughtful relocation assistance
services since the founding legislation (the Uniform Act) was implemented.
Our staff is highly trained in the laws and regulations appropriate to the
Uniform Act and all associated State and Local laws and requirements.
In full compliance with all laws and regulations, Universal provides
financial and advisory facilitation to persons and businesses displaced by a
project, assisting the displacees with their move to minimize any losses and
inconvenience and not subjecting them to a replacement situation that is
inferior to where they were previously.
Public outreach activities are important to every project at levels of
effort appropriate for the timing of tasks and the size of the project. This
involves some basic purposes – to learn from the public vital information
relating to route planning, to provide helpful services to those affected by
or interested in a project, and to provide those people with valued
information. Universal has experience in public outreach activities for all
kinds of projects, beginning with environmental services. We also have
various best-practices policy and procedure guidance for effective operation
of Open House environments and public contact.
To those affected by a project, the uncertainty of what lies ahead is
often the most frustrating part of the process. We have found that involving
right of way staff in community workshops provides an excellent mechanism
for disseminating accurate project information to a large number of
stakeholders. They afford the public an opportunity to view the project maps
and to ask questions about the land acquisition and relocation assistance
Damages Settlement of Construction Damages occurs at the time of
construction of an infrastructure project. Unexpected situations arise that
cause inconvenience, cost, or physical damage to the interests of property
owners affected by the project. Settlement of those construction damages
involves a right of way agent who meets with the property owners, tenants,
and other affected parties, identifies the claims of the parties, and
negotiates a settlement of such claims so that no lingering disputes remain
between affected parties and the owner of the project after construction.
Right of Way Turnkey Services provide maximum ease of service delivery
and minimization of management complication, combining all right of way
related services served by a single services provider. This is often the
most efficient and effective contracting method. This "turnkey" approach
enables a project developer to have a single point of contact for all right
of way functions for services delivery and accountability.
Partnering with Engineers
Many public agencies, utilities, construction companies, and private
entities hire engineering companies to design a project and conduct other
tasks such as route selection, line list preparation, public outreach,
utility relocation, survey permission acquisition, permitting, and land and
right of way acquisition. The engineering firm then subcontracts to
Universal these activities for the application of the most experienced and
skilled negotiation and relocation agents. Universal serves large and small
engineering clients all across America.