Customer Wants To Plant 2 Xmas Pines Near Parking Lot Lights..

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by mcw615, Apr 5, 2010.

  1. mcw615

    mcw615 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 473

    One of my easy commercial contracts that's 1,200/month wants to plant 2 spruce pines they bought for christmas in the lawn (which I think will look tacky) and there are 2 HUGE parking lot lights near these areas to be planted. I asked for a blueprint of where the electrical lines run to these lights and he then was kind of mad because I said the power co. Or miss utility have no record of these lines they should be on the property layout, he just blunty said then we'll just have to forget about it. This was 2 weeks ago, I'm out now mowing it and the dean of the school just came out and said he asked a few people about parking lot lines and he said he wants them planted soon because they're starting to bud and he thinks it will be okay.

    The dean in charge of contract is the type you don't piss off or get on his bad side because he will fire you in a heartbeat. Hasn't resigned yet, contract ends 4/15, I really don't wants to dig 20" in the ground right near these huge parking lot lamps without somebody knowing for certain where these private electrical lines miss utility won't mark. If I hit one of these lines I know there won't be any chance of survival but I know if I go back and say I won't do it because '. ' He will sign with someone else. Err.. Any suggestions?
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  2. unkownfl

    unkownfl LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,837

    Carefully dig down the side of the pole a few feet and you will see the wires coming out. dig one side at a time and backfill the other until said lines are found. Street Lights are customer owned most of the time which means. No cuts or 811 will not mark them without charging you a ton of money. Even if you break the wires within 2ft of the pole after it has been marked you will be held responsible and if they circle the pole 2 ft out then within 4ft of the pole your responsible. Start on the side with the access plate above the ground that is normally the side the cable comes out.
  3. DLCS

    DLCS LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,384

    Dpending how old the lights/parking lot is, maybe you could ask them who installed the lights. The electrical contractor may know where the lines run?
  4. billslawn89

    billslawn89 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,365

    i would think that the wires would be in conduit
  5. mcw615

    mcw615 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 473

    The 2 trees he wants planted are about 12 feet from the lights, then on the other side of the light is the parking lot.

    The lights are I would say 15ish years.

    I think I should create a contract saying not responsible for such damages if incurred... I just don't feel comfortable digging not knowing what's below with this high voltage parking lot light right near by.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  6. unkownfl

    unkownfl LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,837

    High voltage LOL. Secondary voltage yes. Yes it could kill you but highly unlikely while digging with a shovel. Kill the power to said light from the breaker before digging.

    Is the light customer owned or does it have utility company stamping? Is it fiberglass, wood, or a concrete pole? You could simply spot dig it back from the pole to dig safely.
  7. mcw615

    mcw615 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 473

    It is a customer owned light. It is on a 3' concrete base, with a steel pole bolted down into the concrete.
  8. ALC-GregH

    ALC-GregH LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Messages: 7,051

    Chances are that you will never get close to the wires. I wouldn't hesitate to go on with digging the holes for the trees. Just be careful. If you run into a line, well, you'll have to move the hole over out of the path of the wires. It's not as if you're digging footers with a backhoe. As Bill mentioned, it SHOULD and more then likely has conduit so for you to cut through that with a hand shovel would take some doing. It's going to be a whole other story if you tell us you have a hole auger for planting trees and HAVE to use it. If that's not the case just do the work for the guy and be done. Heck, I'll drive down and do it for the right price. :D
  9. heather lawn sp

    heather lawn sp LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 681

    What I might be more concerned with is 10 years from now that the tree roots are mixing it up with the wiring it was planted beside. If the tree ever has to be removed extracting it from tree roots could be a major problem. Maybe not your problem but the customer should be made aware of 'roots and wiring' risk
  10. unkownfl

    unkownfl LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,837

    If it has a problem later they can missile or bore a new line in. 10 years down the road I doubt hes going to blame you for this. I have seen many big tree grow through power lines without issues. The only time you get problems is if the tree is hit by lightning or if the wires were nicked when the tree was planted. I guess you could have problems if the tree if blown over and rips the lines out in a hurricane. If it is customer owned it is most likely in conduit and the tree roots will not effect the PVC either. A spruce tree is not going to harm the wires at all. I have seen 30 year old 60 ft oaks grow over existing lines without problems.

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