View Full Version : Does anyone call a underground utility locator for bededging?

02-25-2012, 07:31 PM
Hey everyone,

I was wondering if any of you have to contact an underground utility locator for bed edging. Now I know that bed edging shouldn't be anywhere close to the depth of 3-4" (the depth my bed edger goes) but do you still call them to cover your butt. I would be worried about cutting a lady's low voltage landscape lighting wires, she says i'm responsible even though I asked her if she had any before hand, take me to court, and they rip me for not calling an underground utility locator. I know each state's laws are different but I live in PA and PA one call's website says it is the law to contact them if you are going to do any EXCAVATING. Would bed edging fall under excavating?? BTW, it is $100/yr to have them locate utility lines for businesses, but FREE for homeowners.

Your thoughts below:

02-25-2012, 08:02 PM
Pretty sure edging doesn't fall under excavation, but if you do cut her wires you have insurance right?

02-25-2012, 08:04 PM
YOur post is hard to follow but I think you are saying that you cust her low voltage wire and rather than fix it and satisfy her you refused and she took you to court. Is that correct?

In the future specify that the homeowner is to call and request the inspection or pony up the $100

02-25-2012, 08:07 PM
I do have insurance.

The scenario that I stated above hasn't happened, YET! It was a hypothetical situation. I ALWAYS ask my customers PRIOR to bed edging if they have low voltage lighting but the question is, is bededging "excavating"? I just want to avoid any future legal trouble since it is a HUUUGE fine!!

02-25-2012, 08:15 PM
It is not excavating.

02-25-2012, 08:46 PM
I'm doubting the locator service includes low-voltage wires. I think 1-CALL will deal with water lines, gas lines, cable, electrical. Beyond that, I think you are on your own.

Do not presume all these utilities will be below typical edging work. I've seen too many cable TV lines cut, when doing edging, lines that most would presume they would be further down. Also, I have cut irrigation lines. When installing, they were only put down a couple of inches. The edger just sliced right through the top of the plastic pipe. No locator service will spot these lines either.

02-25-2012, 09:05 PM
we have cut dog fences, lighting, irrigation lines etc. I usually just fix them and tell the guys to be more careful. It actually happens fairly frequently. I am a stickler for deep edges. We never call and never have issues with customers because I fix them immediately.

Glenn Lawn Care
02-25-2012, 09:27 PM
I've cut a wire or two in my day.
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02-25-2012, 10:56 PM
I do. The way the utility companies bury cables 2" around here it's common to hit them.
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02-25-2012, 11:01 PM
I got news for you in PA Verizon only goes 2-3 inches below ground so yes you better make a PA one call before you do any edging!

02-25-2012, 11:46 PM
Hey, Kirk.

I am a Locator. Any time you disturb the soil whether it is with a shovel or a backhoe, you are considered to be an excavator... or excavating.

Always, always, always call the one-call service. CATV lines are commonly buried just an inch or two deep. Some phone lines can be shallow as well. Although not as often. And, only call in for the area you are digging. Calling in the entire property when you are only putting in a tree in the front yard ties up utility locators for longer than needed. Some of these people hit the road in the morning with 40-50 jobs to do in one day. Locating the entire property normally takes about 15-20 minutes. Locating just the front yard takes a few minutes. If they saved 10 minutes on 10 of those tickets for example. That adds an extra 1 hr and 40 min to their day. That is a HUGE help and it lets them get to your tickets sooner.

Locators that come out after you call the one-call service are contracted to locate specific utilities. They do not locate everything. Just the people who pay them. This includes water, sewer, power, telephone, catv, gas, and fiber optics owned by some of the communications companies such as Verizon and Time Warner. There are more fiber companies but you get my point. Some other utilities contracted out for locating may also include street lighting and intersection signal lines. There may be one or two others but I cannot think of them at the moment.

Utility locators will not locate sprinkler lines, yard lighting, pet fences, etc. They aren't paid to locate those things. If, however, you are there when one shows up, they might locate a line or two if you ask them and they have a few minutes. I have on several occasions.

As far as you being responsible for cutting the privately owned lines. That is a no brainer, of course you are responsible. That is why you hire a private locator and then add it to the bill. If the customer is implying that you are responsible for finding the lines at your own cost then someone has a screw loose.

02-26-2012, 09:41 AM
Like cable vine said they will only mark the utilities not dog fences or landscape lighting wires. I am not sure about all states but in New York YOU the contractor has to call for the mark out if the home owner does it and you hit a line you get a fine even if it wasn't marked. I put clauses in my contracts about privately owned unmarked wires or pipes in the yard so if they don't tell me it's there I won't pay for it if I hit it.
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Daily Lawn/Landscape
02-26-2012, 01:04 PM
The way we handle this is, we inform the customer that they must mark all lighting, dog fence ect. Not our responsibility, becaues we can't see what is under the soil, mulch,etc. If it is not marked, we are not responsible, and they have to sign off on the service agreement before the work is done. We find more dog fences doing irrigation more than anything. We charges $5.00 per cut repair. One customer we had last year, we had 7 cuts. The customer had no problem with it, because they had no idea where the wire was for sure. You need to CYA.
By the way, we call 811 eveytime we have to disturbe the soil. It's free!


02-26-2012, 01:25 PM
I have a few landscapers who will call me to locate low voltage such as landscape lighting. Most irrigation companies will have a tracer for locating valves, these can also be used for lowvolt lighting. As far as covering yourself you need something in your service agreement releasing yourself from liability. Like others above, we state that the homeowner must mark everything before, anything not marked we are not responsible for.

As far as depths of lines, I have seen gas only 2" deep, originally the front lawn was a hill, but the homeowner had it leveled out and terraced, and they did not have the line lowered