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    Default Contractor's Ignorance

    So did a ticket today marking instructions were mark an area starting from the north end of driveway .65 miles east and .5 miles north so basically a square in a field covering multiple tree lines. Said work was only taking place along a 500 ft tree line that was farther east then the .65 miles and could have been simplified much better. anyway the ticket was due one day from the day i got there but the contractor was already pulling stumps, fence posts, and bulldozing the ground. The line was a 50 pair running cross country and the farmers told them it was there but they all thought it was dead...? annnnd this makes you think you dont need to wait for a locate? The line was about 8 inches from the freshly pulled stumps and i think it was deep enough to avoid any damage but I'm still planning on calling the utility company to notify them just as a cover my butt deal. I could have completely avoided the locate because it wasnt withing the marking instructions but that would be ignorance on my part and make me no better then the contractor who i might have helped avoid an annoying damage.
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    Default Re: Contractor's Ignorance

    Good call. Would have done same.

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    Default Re: Contractor's Ignorance

    Don't even get me started... There are times that if a contractor ticks me off enough I won't locate if they have already started digging. I will suspsend and terminate their ticket, notify the appropriate people and report them. Basically they end up having to call in a new locate and have to wait another 48hrs. I guess when you drop the hammer on them enough they eventually quit doing it. But as far as the time on the ticket is weird. I noticed our MN811 has been doing the same, I had an emergency once where the start time was 5 min after the ticket was submitted. I called and they said 'oh yea we're digging in 5 min' I said how the hell am I supposed to locate when I have at least a 15 min drive?? GOOSFRABA... I need to go calm down before my blood bressure hits 200/110
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    Default Re: Contractor's Ignorance

    I can understand your frustration with the contractor, this would happen on the rare occasion in Australia but typically all of the major contractors in Australia require the all of the subcontractors have the site examined by a Locator prior to disturbing ground. I have had contractors in the past though who have decided to go ahead with the work prior to me giving utility clearance. In the not too distant past I had a backhoe operator who decided to start prior to me scanning the area, if he had waited 30 seconds longer prior to excavating I would of told him that he had a Low Voltage power cable approximately 150mm below the surface (around 1/2 foot.) He pulled out the power line and luckily didn't break the conduit it was in, to me though this just proves the value in the work we do.

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    Mke
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    Default Re: Contractor's Ignorance

    Quote Originally Posted by jabajo View Post
    Don't even get me started... There are times that if a contractor ticks me off enough I won't locate if they have already started digging. I will suspsend and terminate their ticket, notify the appropriate people and report them. Basically they end up having to call in a new locate and have to wait another 48hrs. I guess when you drop the hammer on them enough they eventually quit doing it. But as far as the time on the ticket is weird. I noticed our MN811 has been doing the same, I had an emergency once where the start time was 5 min after the ticket was submitted. I called and they said 'oh yea we're digging in 5 min' I said how the hell am I supposed to locate when I have at least a 15 min drive?? GOOSFRABA... I need to go calm down before my blood bressure hits 200/110
    A Kudos on referencing Anger Management.

    Being part of the process is great. Here, where I work we are invited to the "Pre-Construction" meeting as well as the weekly progress meetings for the project. In the Pre-con we actually have a small window of opportunity to speak infront of everyone to go over the companies policy reguarding locates and how the locates should be handled depending on the project.

    Typically I take that time to offer our services to be a contact for the one-call request. We work directly with the excavator and know where they are digging and when. We meet with the one-call locators and escort them to the site and help them as much as we can. Since we have done this, we don't have any "cowboy" excavators come in and dig without locates. I guess thats the difference between a utility that backs their locators and a utility that may not.

    As for the dig time on the Emergency. We have the same here, typically on the ticket there is an astrix with the statement "Advised caller of ORS (Oregon Revised Statutes)" In those laws it states that the locator has 60 min to contact the excavator after the notification of an emergency ticket. The Grey area is that you just have to contact the excavator, it doesn't say you have to locate within 60 Min. The second part of the ORS the locators use is the "Cannot willfully damage a utility". In the phone call for the emergency, they will state that there is utilities in the area and they will be on site in 20 min or whatever. The excavator then takes on any liability if they dig before the locator gets there.

    I assume the MN 811 will have similar language.

    mke

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    Default Re: Contractor's Ignorance

    Quote Originally Posted by Mke View Post
    A Kudos on referencing Anger Management.

    Being part of the process is great. Here, where I work we are invited to the "Pre-Construction" meeting as well as the weekly progress meetings for the project. In the Pre-con we actually have a small window of opportunity to speak infront of everyone to go over the companies policy reguarding locates and how the locates should be handled depending on the project.

    Typically I take that time to offer our services to be a contact for the one-call request. We work directly with the excavator and know where they are digging and when. We meet with the one-call locators and escort them to the site and help them as much as we can. Since we have done this, we don't have any "cowboy" excavators come in and dig without locates. I guess thats the difference between a utility that backs their locators and a utility that may not.

    As for the dig time on the Emergency. We have the same here, typically on the ticket there is an astrix with the statement "Advised caller of ORS (Oregon Revised Statutes)" In those laws it states that the locator has 60 min to contact the excavator after the notification of an emergency ticket. The Grey area is that you just have to contact the excavator, it doesn't say you have to locate within 60 Min. The second part of the ORS the locators use is the "Cannot willfully damage a utility". In the phone call for the emergency, they will state that there is utilities in the area and they will be on site in 20 min or whatever. The excavator then takes on any liability if they dig before the locator gets there.

    I assume the MN 811 will have similar language.

    mke
    HA, I try to do some anger management... sometimes!

    Quick note, MN811 says if an emergency occurs, the owner of the facility needs to contact an excavator within an hour of discovery. Then the excavator must submit an emergency locate request by phone. After the request, all facility owners in the area have approximately 3 hours to visit the site, locate and mark within those 3 hours of receiving notice, unless the circumstance dictates otherwise.

    My city is roughly 200 square miles, and we do not have competing utilities so we are the main jammer. The next big entity is the city itself who handles the storm and sanitary lines. We are governed at the commission level by the city but are considered a separate entity. After the two of us it is just a handful of your typical tv, phone, and fiber companies. The city 'dislikes' us for the most part (mostly because of who should be footing the bill on jobs) and contractors turn their heads to us because of the non-existent enforcement from years past and just getting what they want, when they want. Being an engineer for our utility we hardly see information on jobs until the very last minute and people think we should drop everything, run the data and come up with plans without any of their input, ie load demands, time schedules, etc... Again part of the problem is we are a 'public' organization and are here to serve the people which apparently means we should 'break our backs' and take the 'beatings' when they come.

    We continually have to request, to the point of demanding, to be included on new construction and improvement projects done by outside entities. As if all the engineering and locating will just happen magically, POOF! And the funny part is that when they don't come to us we will now lay down the law or maybe go beyond their intended time frame, resulting in them crying wolf. We are apparently always the 'bad guy'. No one wants to raise rates to fix the 100 year old water mains, but they'll sure rant and rave when the main catastrophically fails. And peoples jaws drop when we fine someone for utility damage or 'illegal' excavation. Once an outside company owner referred to our area as the 'wild west' and he really isn't that far off once I thought about it.

    A lot of contractors are good, in fact the majority are. But I hate when something happens they start nit-picking and playing the word game. Law enforcement officials will say that ignorance of the law is no excuse and neither are every state's dig laws. They are LAWS. They need to be followed. If contractors want to 'cowboy' on the job, it could result in death. 20,000volts does not care if you are a human, if it hits you it will just continue on its path and you won't be around to tell us about your jolting experience.

    Main Point: I care about my job and I care about locating my utilities and my employer backs me 100% no questions asked. I don't want to see anyone get hurt or anything get damaged. I get upset when the 'cowboys' don't care. That my friends is what p*sses me off!

    PS-I've been talking with MN811's GM all day about emergency tickets... This thread really makes it a DeJa Vu for me ha!

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    Default Re: Contractor's Ignorance

    I think for wisconsin I legally have 24 hours for an emergency. We get them called in for 1 hour relocates but I still think legally we have 24. I just call them and let them know when ill be arriving. I wish the 811 service would be more strict on the emergencies though. Had an emergency due for 6 the next morning for a fence that was plowed down by a county truck months prior and now they decide they need it located. Thats abusing the system.

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    Mke
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    Default Re: Contractor's Ignorance

    The most stupid Emergency locate I ever recieved was for 3000' of conduit repair. The excavator stated that the customer is without service and needs locates ASAP. When I show up, its a brand new subdivision and they were trying to pull new cable through the conduit and couldn't. So they wanted all 3k marked. As for the customer who was out of service.... He was scheduled to move in on the following monday.

    mke
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    Default Re: Contractor's Ignorance

    Quote Originally Posted by Mke View Post
    The most stupid Emergency locate I ever recieved was for 3000' of conduit repair. The excavator stated that the customer is without service and needs locates ASAP. When I show up, its a brand new subdivision and they were trying to pull new cable through the conduit and couldn't. So they wanted all 3k marked. As for the customer who was out of service.... He was scheduled to move in on the following monday.

    mke


    I would've told the contractor this is not an emergency and he is going to have to wait the FULL 48hr turn around. FYI an emergency in the state of indiana is a 48hr ticket. As for dickwads digging before locate is due, I call the local gas company damage prevention guy and he goes.out there and shuts them down.

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    Default Re: Contractor's Ignorance

    You gotta call your customer and turn that sh*t in when it happens, no exceptions, no delays. Someone gonna pay, and if it is really NAF, you've got to document it from the second you become aware of the cut. videos are good too. Lots of pictures. maybe get a tape wheel out to show how far from the listed proposed excavation they were digging.

    P.S. Don't compromise yourself lying about damages. I hate hearing people blame a contractor who did everything right. Let the managers do whatever the sh*t they want in litigation, but CYA the whole damn time by just not lying. You'll be a better, more professional locator that way.
    Last edited by Enjoythefall; April 11th, 2014 at 09:16 PM.

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    Default Re: Contractor's Ignorance

    Quote Originally Posted by jabajo View Post
    Don't even get me started... There are times that if a contractor ticks me off enough I won't locate if they have already started digging. I will suspsend and terminate their ticket, notify the appropriate people and report them. Basically they end up having to call in a new locate and have to wait another 48hrs. I guess when you drop the hammer on them enough they eventually quit doing it. But as far as the time on the ticket is weird. I noticed our MN811 has been doing the same, I had an emergency once where the start time was 5 min after the ticket was submitted. I called and they said 'oh yea we're digging in 5 min' I said how the hell am I supposed to locate when I have at least a 15 min drive?? GOOSFRABA... I need to go calm down before my blood bressure hits 200/110
    Dude, you're a piece of crap. I would dare you to try that crap with me - how many times do you want me calling your district manager for not having locates done on time. And just because you don't like them. You're screwing with people's safety and livelihood. They called in their ticket, waited their 48 hours, and if there's no flags there and you haven't contacted them to let them know you'll be late - it's on you dude.

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    Default Re: Contractor's Ignorance

    Quote Originally Posted by jayc View Post
    Dude, you're a piece of crap. I would dare you to try that crap with me - how many times do you want me calling your district manager for not having locates done on time. And just because you don't like them. You're screwing with people's safety and livelihood. They called in their ticket, waited their 48 hours, and if there's no flags there and you haven't contacted them to let them know you'll be late - it's on you dude.
    Your right JC. If you are trying to work with the locator and understand that he just can't be all things to every body then, you'd get your marks in my area. My co-worker has a bore operator who just doesn't care that he has hundreds of past dues. The guy just keeps calling in 2nd and 3rd notices for every job he has for the summer. Complains to the utilities. Is unbending and tries ordering the locator around like he owns him. Won't give a schedule. Won't be patient. Just tells him it not his problem. Dude just wiped out a 600pr and took the charge. He pulled up stakes and left the county. If he wouldn't have been such a dick, he may have gotten his marks.
    I understand it's his livelihood but he doesn't understand it's also ours. If he shows up in my area, I'll burn him up too.
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    Default Re: Contractor's Ignorance

    Quote Originally Posted by daman1 View Post
    Your right JC. If you are trying to work with the locator and understand that he just can't be all things to every body then, you'd get your marks in my area. My co-worker has a bore operator who just doesn't care that he has hundreds of past dues. The guy just keeps calling in 2nd and 3rd notices for every job he has for the summer. Complains to the utilities. Is unbending and tries ordering the locator around like he owns him. Won't give a schedule. Won't be patient. Just tells him it not his problem. Dude just wiped out a 600pr and took the charge. He pulled up stakes and left the county. If he wouldn't have been such a dick, he may have gotten his marks.
    I understand it's his livelihood but he doesn't understand it's also ours. If he shows up in my area, I'll burn him up too.
    As a contractor, I do my part by calling in for locates and giving the 48 hours required. Now, I'm either going out or sending out a 3-man crew to a jobsite. Wait, what's this? No marks!?!?!? Now I'm paying a 3-man crew to stand around and do nothing because the locator didn't do his job. How much money am I supposed to waste every time this happens, and how much am I going to fall behind because I couldn't get a job done in one day like I planned because the locator didn't seem to be able to find the time to squeeze my ticket in.

    You guys probably either don't think or don't care about these problems. A big part of it is if the company you're working for (I'm guessing we're all talking about USIC in this thread), doesn't have the proper amount of locators to cover all the tickets and I understand that you locators work long hours to make up for it. You get paid overtime I'm assuming, but I understand there's a trade-off by not having a life after work.

    So guess what? If I keep having problems with the USIC locators in the areas I'm working in - I'll work my way up the corporate ladder - and I have all the numbers. If the local management can't get the job done, I'll go up to district. And so on, and so on. I know they've got better things to do than to listen to contractor complaints all day and maybe one day do something about the problem.



    Also, it's the law to put down marks and to respond to the ticket in 48 hours (48 where I'm at - I know some places are different). You can't just not do it because you think the guy is a dick. I'm sure that the comments used in this thread could be brought up in court one day.

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    Default Re: Contractor's Ignorance

    Quote Originally Posted by jayc View Post
    As a contractor, I do my part by calling in for locates and giving the 48 hours required. Now, I'm either going out or sending out a 3-man crew to a jobsite. Wait, what's this? No marks!?!?!? Now I'm paying a 3-man crew to stand around and do nothing because the locator didn't do his job. How much money am I supposed to waste every time this happens, and how much am I going to fall behind because I couldn't get a job done in one day like I planned because the locator didn't seem to be able to find the time to squeeze my ticket in.

    You guys probably either don't think or don't care about these problems. A big part of it is if the company you're working for (I'm guessing we're all talking about USIC in this thread), doesn't have the proper amount of locators to cover all the tickets and I understand that you locators work long hours to make up for it. You get paid overtime I'm assuming, but I understand there's a trade-off by not having a life after work.

    So guess what? If I keep having problems with the USIC locators in the areas I'm working in - I'll work my way up the corporate ladder - and I have all the numbers. If the local management can't get the job done, I'll go up to district. And so on, and so on. I know they've got better things to do than to listen to contractor complaints all day and maybe one day do something about the problem.



    Also, it's the law to put down marks and to respond to the ticket in 48 hours (48 where I'm at - I know some places are different). You can't just not do it because you think the guy is a dick. I'm sure that the comments used in this thread could be brought up in court one day.
    I dont understand how the big companies can let so many tickets run behind. they should be pushed of their contracts. We as a small company have trouble finding experienced locators to expand. So were starting at the bottom spending alot of money training properly. Usic has to have trouble with that as well. we couldnt even get a usic employee to jump ship for an instant raise and easy future increases, he didnt need the benefits either. Stockholm syndrome? lol

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    Default Re: Contractor's Ignorance

    I am a locator and have been doing this for many years, probably not as many as some on here, but for long enough to know what I am doing. I would love to work with a contractor like Jayc. However, there are always times when locates may not be done in the 48 hours as requested and it may be due to circumstances beyond our control. The way I have always handled this was a simple phone call to the contractor to let him know the situation, and work with him to get the job done. I don't post much on here, but saw this and had to say thank you for being a good contractor, Jayc.

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