call before you dig

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Island Lawn, Mar 2, 2001.

  1. Island Lawn

    Island Lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 632

    I don't know if any of my comp calls the toll free # to have the underground utilities marked.
    Last year, I mentioned it to a few customers, but they just looked at me funny and said not to bother. Most didnt want to wait the 72 hrs it takes to have it done.

    But this year, Im trying to be more professional! So I called the # and found out that it is state law to do this!
    Now when customers balk, I can let them in on the secret law.
    If they tell me that jo blo mow man never said it was the law, I can let them know that is one of the MANY things that separate from jo blo!

    I just was wondering if anyone else bothers doing this. It does require some schedule shuffling since it takes 72hrs to have done, but it is safer and it is supposed to cover my...

    OBRYANMAINT LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 555

    learned my lesson the hard way!

    was putting conduit under ground for some of my utilities and all was going well untill i hit this rock with the trencher or so i thought! i buckled down on the trencher and throttled up and sure enough it cut right through that gas main! hisssssssssssssssss!

    did not cost me anything but time, in the end it was a good thing i greased the crew that came out to fix it....for the 150 i gave them i got 10 ton of premium fill for the rest of the trench and no they helped me tamp it all down

    i will definately call first next time!
  3. BRL

    BRL LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,211

    Absolutely call!!! If it is the law in your state there is no reason not to. If you investigate a little further you will probably find out that the fines for not complying with that law are quite steep. Not worth getting caught for sure. And God forbid you do hit a line & get caught, your insurance company will not cover you if you didn't follow the rules. I will also say, from experience, that you still must excercise caution even after having the site marked out. The marks can often be inaccurate.
  4. CHC

    CHC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 65

    Our state association (PLNA) provides a subscription to the "Call-before-you-Dig" group. Perhaps yours does also. As I recall the charge for the year was $50.00; pretty cheap when weighed against the cost of replacing an underground utility line.
  5. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 1,276

    Well, law or not, I can't really see a good arguement for NOT calling. Only have to make that mistake once and someone could lose their life.

    In Wisconsin I don't know if there's a law, but it's expected in this area that Digger's Hotline (our name for it here) gets called for any kind of landscape work. The call is free and so is the utility marking. As for the 3 days before you dig - if you have work scheduled for several weeks in advance, this shouldn't present a problem. Just call a few days before you plan to start.

  6. Lanelle

    Lanelle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,361

    Not only is it the law and the fines for non-compliance very steep---just imagine being on the evening news as the guilty party for a whole community losing utility service. No amount of advertising will undo that kind of negative pubicity. Worse, you or an innocent bystander could be seriously injured or killed. Also, if you are selling something to a homeowner on their own property--there is often a 'cool-off' law that permits the homeowner to cancel without penalty. So letting a couple of days go by for the utility marking is only half of the reason to wait.
  7. SCL

    SCL LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 543

    In Illinois there is a free locating service called JULIE. They mark everything within 48 hours and I do believe its the law to call if digging more than a certain depth. All I know is if my insurance company came to a job site, and they do, and saw me excavating without a locate I think they would just pull out a gun and shoot me. The danger of gas and electric is enough, but dig up one fiber optic and knock out the communication and commerce for a couple of thousanfd folks and you get to see how good your bankruptcy lawyer is.
  8. Rex Mann

    Rex Mann LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 621

    In ohio it is called OUPS, Ohio Underground Protective Services, and, it is also free. You call 48 hours before you dig. It is the law.

    Two years ago a scab was doing some trenching and hit a fiber optic cable. They say it cost 50K to repair. Because of that, the city where it happened makes everyone register and have at least 1M liablity insurance.

    You better believe I call for every job.

  9. steveair

    steveair LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,073


    I'm definitely taking a 'defensive' position this year with the 'call before you dig'. Its free in the state of jersey, and though you may have to wait a week, in most cases, my jobs are planned months ahead of time.

    One of my biggest problems is underground house utilities. I don't know how they get away with it, but it seems the installation of utilities coming in/out of curbside road boxes is just sickening. I'm had jobs where the phone and cable lines were placed under a rock row that went from the box to the house. Also, had jobs where a power rake would rip the phone line up about 30 feet away from the box as it was only 6" or less buried.

    With these new 'slam' them in developments, who knows what they are doing.

    Also, not sure how you guys have insurance, but I am only covered for 12" depth of digging (technically, though I discussed with my agent and he said I am covered for going deeper for trees and what not, but they just don't want me digging foundations, utilities, etc without more insurance). For each foot down, the rate went up dramatically. I'd imagine there's a lot of guys in the lawn care business doing construction work without any clue as to how deep they are covered to dig. By calling the 'dig' number, you are at least have some sort of insurance if your insurance gives you problems.

  10. parkwest

    parkwest LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 678

    I wouldn't worry about the 72 hours waiting for the utility locators because this fits in perfectly with the 3 day "Right of Recission" Law.

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