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General Landscaping
06-01-2006, 10:33 AM
When a cable is cut during minor operations(small plants, aeration, sod cutting, etc) who is at fault?
If the cable was not buried at a proper depth, how can you be held liable for damaging something that is not where it should be?

It may be different in other places; but here, the TV and sometimes phone are laid on the ground before sod and that's where they stay:nono:

I've cut several TV cables with a stick edger and the next week I see where a new cable is run from the box to the house. You can stick your finger in the "trench" and feel the cable.:hammerhead: Kinda makes me want to run it over again:mad:

I'm pushing an aeration in a new neighborhood (<2 year) and am sure the cable TV (maybe phone) are just under the surface. As much as I'd like to see the cable co. suffer for thier laziness and stupidity; I don't want to pizz off a bunch of potential long term customers and be liable for 50 new cable installs:confused:

I know about call before you dig.... but that's not the point..... It's 4" deep MAX..... NOTHING should be buried that shallow.

Now I'm wondering if the irrigation contractor that did the whole 'hood had enough sense to put the lines more than 4":confused:

Dirty Water
06-01-2006, 10:40 AM
Codes vary from region to region. Up here, it is unregulated, so they often put it just under the sod.

However, if you call before you dig, they will fix it for free.

DBL
06-01-2006, 11:57 AM
yeah but even before codes we always tell the customer to show us where any underground lines/cables/dog fences are because we are not liable. we have cut so many electric fences im getting tired of fixing them

MarcSmith
06-01-2006, 12:21 PM
you really think a new hood less than 2 years old in a predominaly sandy soil area is going to have compaction issues?:confused:

I loved wathcing new home get installed in the Boca Grande and englewood area....lay the cable before the sod gets laid...IE lay it on top of the soil....before the sod. or if a you a day or two after teh sod, just lift and tuck....

saw a guy aerate a st augustine yard once. it never was right again after that...

olderthandirt
06-01-2006, 12:53 PM
Find out what the code is and if there not buried to code your not responsible.
If there is no code I would make sure I knew how to fix them and would have a disclaimer in the contract that I'm not responsible for damaging them.

Most important part of a contract is to CYA

MarcSmith
06-01-2006, 01:09 PM
I cut a gate sensor cable at a storage yard I was doing. Cut it with the edger...and the funniest thing is that I had been cutting the property for a few months when I finaly nicked it.....It must have been the first time I edged the property with a fresh blade... I never paid for the repair. but when they came out to repair I told the manaager to make sure it was at least 6" deep...

Splicer
06-01-2006, 01:40 PM
18" depth is code...for CATV...

General Landscaping
06-01-2006, 02:30 PM
you really think a new hood less than 2 years old in a predominaly sandy soil area is going to have compaction issues?:confused:

saw a guy aerate a st augustine yard once. it never was right again after that...

I understand your confusion.... the sprinkler water is running off the yard in a sheet after 20 minutes. I'm not sure where the fill came from:confused:
The downhill side of the sidewalk has fertilizer all in the edger groove.
I'll try to add-on some sand once I get a feel for the customers.

What was the problem with St.Augustine and aeration?:confused:

MarcSmith
06-01-2006, 03:21 PM
I don't know why it did not look right, but it just looked "off" after it was aerated. Maybe it was all the broken stolons or it wasn't cleaned up good, I could not put my finger on it But it never regained its original appearance. even a year later

I could see possibly aerating a Bahia lawn, but never saw anyone aerating st augustine in SW florida.....Maybe we just had too much sand to worry about compaction....

start2finish
06-03-2006, 10:57 AM
I do not believe the cal before you dig pertains the bed edges and areation. I know that cables get cut in this manner, but grading with tractors and bobcats and using hoes(excavators or backhoes) is another situation.
in NC we have to give 48 hours notice, after the 48 hours is up we dig with or without marks if we cut the locating company is responsible for damages. if there are marks then they have a 60 inch buffer zone, 30 on each side (hand dig!)

Tim Wright
06-03-2006, 12:30 PM
Cables are to be 18" and around here they are literally laying on the surface in spots. Its not my fault if the rock heads cannot do their jobs correctly. Not that I don't try to avoid them, but sometimes I just don't see them or know that they are only 1/2 inch down.

Tim

lqmustang
06-04-2006, 02:06 AM
18" depth is code...for CATV...

A cable line buried to 18"?
:laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

mr mow
06-04-2006, 02:30 AM
splicer im electrician and when i went to school(finished a couple of year ago) they pretty much have no code for low voltage......period(thats the national electrical code 2002 im talking about) the new "national" code book comes out every 3 years (i know other sparkys would rip on me, but havent seen the new book) and i dought it still really has any code. In most cases our wire has to be buried 18-24" below or below grade(new construction) alot of times those subcontractor l.v.(low voltage) guys dont even ground that is part of the code for them, but elec. inspector and buildinging insp. dont inforce or dont have jurisdiction... maybe another sparky could elaborate more

SWD
06-04-2006, 08:21 AM
I run into this situation more and more - improperly buried cables and no marking.
Texas requires not less than 48hrs notice to two weeks notice before any type of meaningful excavation is undertaken. Cable marking is actually the responsibility of the customer, however, if a cable is marked then broken the contractor is responsible.
Regarding cable at the surface, I am not responsible, will not accept responsibility for broken cables and the state says the same.
I really do not know how many coaxial cables I have mutilated, more feet of telephone cable wrapped around my power box rake, and I haven't paid for one inch of it.
I had a across the street neighbor to a customer's house complain that we interrupted his cable tv service. Well, we did rip out the tv cable that was lying on the surface of the yard as the cable company said they couldn't get out there to "properly" install it for three to four days. Tough luck.
So I continued grading, ripped out the cable, the junction, and the junction box - all improperly installed to begin with.
Picked up this whole mess, about three hundred pounds of cable, components and debris and gave it to the across the street customer for his cable provider to "re-install".
He had satellite with-in three hours. Cable company shows up, starts to throw a fit about the cable damage, I say wait and call the code enforcement for the area. Code shows up, I explain, the cable guy explains and code writes him a citation for improper installation. Never saw the cable guy again.

olderthandirt
06-04-2006, 09:08 AM
splicer im electrician and when i went to school(finished a couple of year ago) they pretty much have no code for low voltage......period(thats the national electrical code 2002 im talking about) the new "national" code book comes out every 3 years (i know other sparkys would rip on me, but havent seen the new book) and i dought it still really has any code. In most cases our wire has to be buried 18-24" below or below grade(new construction) alot of times those subcontractor l.v.(low voltage) guys dont even ground that is part of the code for them, but elec. inspector and buildinging insp. dont inforce or dont have jurisdiction... maybe another sparky could elaborate more

I don't know what the new book says about cable or low voltage BUT you know that you can add on to national code but not subtract from it. Most local municipalities have a local code on how deep cable TV need to be buried, and the phone company has there own rules. Around here its 8" for cable and phone is the same, I believe that phone decided that was a good depth on new construction and the locals decided that cable should be the same depth and made it code.
The fault lies in getting the installers to follow the code as most won't bother till it gets cut or ripped out and they have to replace it, and then seldom will they bother to bury it then. They usually just push it into the disturbed soil an inch and hope they don't have to come back again.

Splicer
06-04-2006, 09:52 AM
Well after 25 years in CATV I think I am qualified on what the corrent depth is SUPPOSSED to be...18"...18" is NOT very deep at all when you know how far phone and electric is...The drop bury guys are the ones (for the most part) that bury the drops and usually only use a shovel instead of a drop bury machine that places the cable at the required depth...THAT is why you see lines so close to the top...

paolaken
06-04-2006, 11:53 AM
18" depth is code...for CATV...
that is for trunk and feeder line. catv cable drops to the house have no code, it's cheaper to bury a few inches or poke under sod and fix later if cut than to bury at a decent depth. was a cable guy for many years, fixed hundreds and hundreds of cut drops.

paolaken
06-04-2006, 11:55 AM
yeah but even before codes we always tell the customer to show us where any underground lines/cables/dog fences are because we are not liable. we have cut so many electric fences im getting tired of fixing them
never ask the homeowner. they don't know s**t. call for locates and invest in a locator for dog fence, copper propane lines etc.

mr mow
06-04-2006, 10:14 PM
elec. is 18 to 24"(on the residential side of things) depending on what its going under and what it is run through (raceway) heres the problem atleast around here if it is like older than dirt says is no one will enforce l.v. except the l.v. installers(if you didnt have to dig and it was legal,or no one inforced but you..would you?) and like O.T.D. said the nec is the minimum but local municpalities can add to it.

Critical Care
06-05-2006, 11:32 AM
First of all, no one just going about doing regular landscape maintenance is going to be worrying about codes or worrying about having to locate wires. We’re not talking about trenching in irrigation lines. And if an idiot can’t see a problem in the making and lays a cable just under the surface in an area such as a garden or lawn, then that idiot should be the one to go back and correct things without cost to the owner or to the landscaper.

Invisible dog fences? Same thing, but most owners are also generally aware of the wire location. If you’re doing maintenance and see those invisible fence flags up, at least cover your bases by asking first.

mr mow
06-05-2006, 09:53 PM
i take it you landscape only and do not mow? cause if you mowed those coax cables can appear over night(so to speak)

mr mow
06-05-2006, 10:00 PM
you know what you should be worrying about codes, cause you may have diggers hotline come and paint lines for you but i'll tell you what if you hit service feeder with your shovel youll wished you knew before aproximatley what depth those are buried at....and if you didnt call diggers hotline youll be responsible(maybe also with a body on your hands). fyi in my area now diggers hotline is subcontracted out and they dont know there arse from a hole in the wall(wont go into several stories) but if you "just call them" and they come out your pretty much in the clear. It would be very advantagious to know your local codes!

Mike33
06-05-2006, 10:59 PM
Call before you dig. I learned the hard way. We dont do **** any more with out taking the time to call and schedule our work by the marking period even though it is a inconvience. I hit a tv cable 2 years ago that we had marked previous year thought the area would still be fine 1 year later. Bull **** in that 1 year time they bored and placed the cable. We hit it and payed.
Mike

Gatewayuser
06-06-2006, 12:19 AM
Well after 25 years in CATV I think I am qualified on what the corrent depth is SUPPOSSED to be...18"...18" is NOT very deep at all when you know how far phone and electric is...The drop bury guys are the ones (for the most part) that bury the drops and usually only use a shovel instead of a drop bury machine that places the cable at the required depth...THAT is why you see lines so close to the top...

I hit a phone line the other day on a yard I was seeding the wire was only 2-3" deep. The phone company had it fixed the same day and buried the next day and this time about 6" deep. The customer and I never heard anything from them and no one called them either to tell them it was cut.

Mr. Vern
06-06-2006, 01:47 AM
You should always take the time to call USA or DIGS or whatever it is called where you are if you are going to be excavating. I have not always had the discipline to do so, but after my most recent experience I will never neglect to call.

Doing a huge sprinkler system reconfig for a Billionare's widow in town. She subdivided her 20 acres and sold off her 10,000 sqft home and is living in the servants house while her new home is being built. They cut the driveway and then the footing for her brick wall dividing the new property from the old and tore up the entire sprinkler system (capped and buried all cut lines). All of the valves were left on the property she sold. She refused to let us put in a new system and insisted we find all of the lines and connect to the old sprinklers(they were all at least 2-3 feet deep and no longer properly placed). Well, we ordered a USA call and were waiting for it to clear and she was getting irrate(takes 48 hrs here). She insisted we start immediately. Fortunately I stuck to my guns and said we are not digging until the USA clears. She got mad and gave me all kinds of trouble. Well, 2 days after it clears we hit a fiber optic cable line going across the property. Needless to say when the neighborhood went dead and they had to string a new cable, the cable company was looking for donations. They started to tell us that it was going to cost thousands of dollars to repair the line. When I told them that I had a usa docket number and that they had not bothered to come out and mark their cable, they had no choice but to back down and eat the repair. Boy was it fun telling that old gal that this was precisely why we wouldn't start without USA clearing. She doesn't question me nearly as much after that one.

If your going to break ground more than 2-3 inches or more you should seriously consider getting the area cleared. Check your local regs., here you can be fined upto ten thousand dollars if you cut a line without a USA call. It's not likely that you would get fined, but it's possible. Best 15 minutes I ever spent!

Gatewayuser
06-06-2006, 09:59 AM
You should always take the time to call USA or DIGS or whatever it is called where you are if you are going to be excavating. I have not always had the discipline to do so, but after my most recent experience I will never neglect to call.

Doing a huge sprinkler system reconfig for a Billionare's widow in town. She subdivided her 20 acres and sold off her 10,000 sqft home and is living in the servants house while her new home is being built. They cut the driveway and then the footing for her brick wall dividing the new property from the old and tore up the entire sprinkler system (capped and buried all cut lines). All of the valves were left on the property she sold. She refused to let us put in a new system and insisted we find all of the lines and connect to the old sprinklers(they were all at least 2-3 feet deep and no longer properly placed). Well, we ordered a USA call and were waiting for it to clear and she was getting irrate(takes 48 hrs here). She insisted we start immediately. Fortunately I stuck to my guns and said we are not digging until the USA clears. She got mad and gave me all kinds of trouble. Well, 2 days after it clears we hit a fiber optic cable line going across the property. Needless to say when the neighborhood went dead and they had to string a new cable, the cable company was looking for donations. They started to tell us that it was going to cost thousands of dollars to repair the line. When I told them that I had a usa docket number and that they had not bothered to come out and mark their cable, they had no choice but to back down and eat the repair. Boy was it fun telling that old gal that this was precisely why we wouldn't start without USA clearing. She doesn't question me nearly as much after that one.

If your going to break ground more than 2-3 inches or more you should seriously consider getting the area cleared. Check your local regs., here you can be fined upto ten thousand dollars if you cut a line without a USA call. It's not likely that you would get fined, but it's possible. Best 15 minutes I ever spent!

No I won't get fined it was to shallow for code. I always call before I dig here it's called OUPS and I did a job last week that I had them mark.

topsites
06-06-2006, 10:20 AM
you know what you should be worrying about codes, cause you may have diggers hotline come and paint lines for you but i'll tell you what if you hit service feeder with your shovel youll wished you knew before aproximatley what depth those are buried at....and if you didnt call diggers hotline youll be responsible(maybe also with a body on your hands). fyi in my area now diggers hotline is subcontracted out and they dont know there arse from a hole in the wall(wont go into several stories) but if you "just call them" and they come out your pretty much in the clear. It would be very advantagious to know your local codes!

I agree 100 percent, we are not here to argue proper code and technicalities with the wire installer, that is not our problem.
An improperly buried cable's responsibility lies with the installer but that is only if you followed the rules yourself.

Here in Virginia, before you dig - Call Miss Utility: It's the Law ! (so guess who is liable if you failed to call).
Technically speaking, even sticking a probe an inch into the dirt requires a call (but that is far fetched).
Logically speaking, aeration is ok without a call but tilling is not.
Now, if you hit a cable after that because Miss Utility did not mark it or the mark was a ways off, that's different.

Last but not least, like Mr.mow said: Hit a power line one time, that's all it takes. But most of the time, I've never hit a power line so I wouldn't worry too much, still it saves me all those headaches. I keep that phone number with me so at the time of the estimate, I place the call right then and there. This also impresses some customers as you appear to know what you're doing LOL.

Critical Care
06-06-2006, 12:00 PM
I’m sure that everyone here agrees that it is important to know where the utility lines, pipes, and cables are. And as long as I’m going to be trenching in irrigation lines, which I do, I’m going to get a locating service to mark where they are. But…

But how many of you have a locating service come out and mark where things are before you aerate a lawn? How many of you will have the utilities located to plant a shrub? In the original post by General Landscaping, he said that he has cut several TV cables with his stick edger, so before he edges should he have the utilities marked?

I also do landscape maintenance but so far haven’t felt the need to have the utilities located just to mow a lawn. It could however be a good idea to include a sentence within a typical maintenance contract suggesting that “owners who are aware of shallow utility lines, and their whereabouts, should inform us of these prior to service”.

Dirty Water
06-06-2006, 02:39 PM
I've hit 240v lines a couple times with a tractor trencher.

Grounds out through the machine, you have to be carefull when getting off to not touch the machine and ground at the same time.

General Landscaping
06-07-2006, 01:17 AM
Thanks for getting back to center Critical Care.....

As laws have it; I should have a locator service come out before I stick a moisture meter in the ground:dizzy:


So if a utility is marked; and that particular utility should be buried by NEC or local code to 10" and you tear the mess out of it at 2"...... who flips the bill?

olderthandirt
06-07-2006, 09:03 AM
Thanks for getting back to center Critical Care.....

As laws have it; I should have a locator service come out before I stick a moisture meter in the ground:dizzy:


So if a utility is marked; and that particular utility should be buried by NEC or local code to 10" and you tear the mess out of it at 2"...... who flips the bill?

Bills paid by the company that did NOT follow code

Thats what the hell they have codes for so everyones safe and on the same page.

mr mow
06-07-2006, 10:23 AM
who ever installed it, it was improperly installed. the question you might have to answer though is can you prove it?

topsites
06-07-2006, 10:56 AM
Thanks for getting back to center Critical Care.....

As laws have it; I should have a locator service come out before I stick a moisture meter in the ground:dizzy:


So if a utility is marked; and that particular utility should be buried by NEC or local code to 10" and you tear the mess out of it at 2"...... who flips the bill?

If the utility is marked, I don't dig near that mark, I assume that is holy ground LOL

As for who flips the bill, I don't think like that which helps me from being held completely responsible. I have found if I start placing blame or thinking along those lines, then it is more likely the blame comes towards me again. Thing is, a lot of these companies that place lines in the ground are run by employees, none of whom have to fork cash out of pocket to pay for anything, they just come out and fix things if that is what they're told or what their roster or schedule says. So, I inform the customer of the broken line and then we usually call the proper utility Co and just let it work itself out, more often than not the Utility Co takes care of things and then it is all very nice.

I don't know what to tell you if someone says you have to pay for it, that has not happened to me thus far.

I think the Utility Co. is basically ok with it so long we take all necessary precautions.
I mean, if we poke through a line with the moisture meter, gee whizz... but if someone tears up a cable while tilling a large area, it's a bit more like &^%*!!

tthomass
06-07-2006, 12:54 PM
haha, i just got a call this morning form customer i did yesterday.........cable is out. She asked if I hit or saw anything (didn't) and told her know. She told me she didn't think so either because I didn't tell her (which I would).

Using a maddock putting in a little "veggie garden" in the back of a townhouse and they asked me to break up the soil a little before I back filled the timbers with topsoil. So she's called the cable company, see how it goes........as far as the maddock it never saw more that about 4";)

Mike33
06-07-2006, 07:30 PM
You should always take the time to call USA or DIGS or whatever it is called where you are if you are going to be excavating. I have not always had the discipline to do so, but after my most recent experience I will never neglect to call.

Doing a huge sprinkler system reconfig for a Billionare's widow in town. She subdivided her 20 acres and sold off her 10,000 sqft home and is living in the servants house while her new home is being built. They cut the driveway and then the footing for her brick wall dividing the new property from the old and tore up the entire sprinkler system (capped and buried all cut lines). All of the valves were left on the property she sold. She refused to let us put in a new system and insisted we find all of the lines and connect to the old sprinklers(they were all at least 2-3 feet deep and no longer properly placed). Well, we ordered a USA call and were waiting for it to clear and she was getting irrate(takes 48 hrs here). She insisted we start immediately. Fortunately I stuck to my guns and said we are not digging until the USA clears. She got mad and gave me all kinds of trouble. Well, 2 days after it clears we hit a fiber optic cable line going across the property. Needless to say when the neighborhood went dead and they had to string a new cable, the cable company was looking for donations. They started to tell us that it was going to cost thousands of dollars to repair the line. When I told them that I had a usa docket number and that they had not bothered to come out and mark their cable, they had no choice but to back down and eat the repair. Boy was it fun telling that old gal that this was precisely why we wouldn't start without USA clearing. She doesn't question me nearly as much after that one.

If your going to break ground more than 2-3 inches or more you should seriously consider getting the area cleared. Check your local regs., here you can be fined upto ten thousand dollars if you cut a line without a USA call. It's not likely that you would get fined, but it's possible. Best 15 minutes I ever spent!
I agree 100% with you. I still dont think code matters when you hit something and did not call.
Mike

topsites
06-07-2006, 10:31 PM
I agree 100% with you. I still dont think code matters when you hit something and did not call.
Mike

I'm on this note 100% myself, it's not our code to begin with but it's our job to call.

- Once the lines are marked, I don't dig near that, no matter what.

Because what chance do I stand fighting when it comes to the code?
Who would be the expert here, me or the company installing the lines?
It boils down to who installs the most lines... If you had to ask and you were a stranger, would you ask the lawnguy or the cable guy?
Yes I can read the legalese too, but that doesn't make me the expert.

Now if you wanted to argue grass-cutting and you work for Comcast, now we got a good argument so bring it on LOL.

Anytime before you dig, call Miss Utility - It's the LAW ! Yes, it really is!
It's just not usually enforced but if they decided to enforce it, it's a Class-A misdemeanor here, almost like a DUI.

justanotherlawnguy
06-08-2006, 08:06 PM
If you cut it, it is your fault.

We were doing a sod job this weekend and the sod cutter cut the sprinkler system wires. You know the sod cutter only cuts down a couple of inches.

This was clearly the guys fault who installed the system. he should have made sure that he was deep enough.

I couldnt fix it myself, so the homeowner got the sprinkler repair guy out the next day and he fixed it.

Bottom line, that bill came right off our final price. It sucked, but that is just the nature of the beast...

start2finish
06-08-2006, 08:46 PM
we have a clause in our contract stating that sprinkler lines and wires along with all private utilities, ie. satelite wires, propane gas lines, septic lines will be marked by the customer or by the customer's expense. And damage due to improperly marked services can be repaired my time and materials +15%. period.

JT1304
06-08-2006, 10:14 PM
I worked for the power company for 13 yrs. Services run to the house have to be 2'-3' deep, but..... Not everyone follows the rules. The local power company now installs service to house as well the phone and CATV drops. By the way if you do cut a power cable, move away from it(I know this sounds childish) but I have come home before minus my eyebrows eye lashes, mustacheand goatee. Had one heckuva sunburn as well. Trust me, it only takes a second.

Critical Care
06-09-2006, 12:06 AM
If you cut it, it is your fault.

We were doing a sod job this weekend and the sod cutter cut the sprinkler system wires. You know the sod cutter only cuts down a couple of inches.

This was clearly the guys fault who installed the system. he should have made sure that he was deep enough.

I couldnt fix it myself, so the homeowner got the sprinkler repair guy out the next day and he fixed it.

Bottom line, that bill came right off our final price. It sucked, but that is just the nature of the beast...

No way, no how! If someone cut through one of my irrigation cables, I’d go back and fix it – though this has never happened. Dude, you got ripped off. Any halfway intelligent person installing an irrigation cable would have known better.

Now here is an interesting scenario. What if you are told by a homeowner “Be careful edging over there because there’s a shallow cable” but he can’t tell you exactly where it is. Unfortunately you cut through the cable. It was a bit off to one side of where the owner pointed. Are you at fault?

Splicer
06-09-2006, 12:13 AM
I'm on this note 100% myself, it's not our code to begin with but it's our job to call.

- Once the lines are marked, I don't dig near that, no matter what.


Trust me brother...once locates are done that just means that you need to hand dig there...Hand digging is done and you still cut a cable YOU will NOT be charged...you did exactly as you should have...and the other poster is right...9 out of 10 times NEW service going in gets a joint trench which means ALL utilities (power/phone/cable) are buried together...:cool2: :clapping: :drinkup: :usflag:

justanotherlawnguy
06-09-2006, 10:35 PM
Dude, you got ripped off.

You really think so? IF you just got done installing 9000 sq ft of sod, isn't in both parties interest to get the sprinklers up and running as soon as possible?

I think so.

SO what if I had to eat $150.00 in a sprinkler wire repair job. I still walked away with $5k in my pocket. Thanks for the feedback though.