You may have heard the term, “Call before you dig” used by contractors, suppliers, or on broadcasted media, but what does that actually mean?
The “Call before you dig” term stems from a public utility locating service, referred to as 811, that emphasizes safety and damage to any utilities on your property. These utilities often include: water, electrical, communications (phone, internet), sewer, and gas. After selecting a contractor, you should always make sure they are calling or electronically submitting a new job with 811 if any excavation is required. This includes any digging, even with a shovel.
After the job is set-up, utility locators will come out and start painting different colored lines on the ground to indicate that there is a utility running in that general area. The different colors indicate different utilities and are usually categorized as such: water=blue, electrical=red, communications=orange, sewer=green, and gas=yellow.
Why is it important to mark out and locate these utilities before digging? The first answer is safety. When digging it is possible to strike through an electrical, gas, or even water line that causes a safety issue to the contractor, the customer, and any bystanders. Depending on the line that is struck authorities may be required to respond and a specialty contractor will be called out to safely repair the struck utility.
The second answer to why it is important to mark out utilities is asset protection. Often, when a utility is struck, a specialty contractor may be required to fix the utility and most times will charge a fee. For example, internet and phone lines are usually buried a few inches beneath the ground and do not have any protection around them. This is the most common utility to strike as they can be cut with a shovel when trying to locate. If struck, the utility owner would need to be contacted to make a repair.
It is worth noting that when calling 811, the locators will only locate public utilities so things like irrigation and utilities past the service boxes will not be located. The best way to identify these is if you have access to the site plans for when your house is built. While most homeowners do not have access to these, a contractor may be able to determine the approximate location of the utilities in the field. It is not guaranteed that they will be able to find all utilities on the property.
At Excavation Contractors LLC, we strive to give you the best quality project we can provide. Call, text, or email us today to get started on your project!