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Thread: Flags & Marks Questions

  1. #1
    Senior Member UULC's Avatar
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    Default Flags & Marks Questions

    Ok I have 30+ years locating before I moved to the dark side. I want to get input from the forum. Scenario a said contract utility locate contractor company marks one utility this being WOW with flags and paint. Within 2' and about 18" deeper is a Verizon line that was not marked. Said contractor does not mark the Verizon with ANY paint or flags. No flags or paint on the job for Verizon. When the 50pr gets cut with a shovel said company say's the WOW paint and flags cover the Verizon cable.

    They stated since it was within 2' of the WOW paint and flags that VZ is covered. I call Bull Sh*&. How is anyone to know to look for a separate line if it was not marked. Also let me say this said company had on positive response ongoing project but this was the first our bore crew was out there. This was before I came here and I am now fighting a $2,000 claim.

    I say since the line was not marked they did not do their job. One utility cannot cover for other utilities. So what does the group think?

    From the Dark Side,
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  2. #2
    Mke
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    Default Re: Flags & Marks Questions

    it all depends on state dig laws. Here in Oregon it states that you have to "hand dig or Vac ex" within 2' of any utility mark. They state that this 2' cushion is only for horizontal accuracy and that the contractor has to dig this way to their depth limits. I've seen locating companies try to get out of damages using this excuse quite a bit. Most of the time the company around here tends to pay half anyways.

    The other side of this is... You were digging on a ticket that had Verizon but there were no Verizon marks... Did you guys make a call to verify that Verizon was marked properly? You stated that the locator didn't mark Verizon, I assume that they are the company that Is supposed to mark Verizon? Out here Verizon doesn't use the normal big companies.


    Where I stand on the issue... When I locate for construction and know there is a utility in the area that can be shadowed by a shallower utility or if there is a utility that is not locateable, I walk my contractors through the work area letting them know why I think there are other utilities and where I believe they are located. I know it has to suck when public locators do this, but that is why my employer uses us to not just protect our utilities, but we are used to verify all utilities during all excavations in and near our properties.

    good luck

    Mke

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    Senior Member ProfessionalLocator's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flags & Marks Questions

    The problem of one utility, or an additional line, being under another has no easy answer and no as of yet solution.

    Local jurisdiction requirements generally rule. Virginia requires hand digging to expose utility plus 12" (24? I forget) completely around exposed utility.

    When the additional utility(s) are un-locatable it depends on the client most of which just bill the locate company. Baltimore Gas & Electric used to just eat the damage themselves.

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    Senior Member yahoo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flags & Marks Questions

    I agree with PL and Mke . make them prove that they had their line marked on the day that they say they had their line marked out . that would end that issue. one painted job does not cover all utilities , period .
    wise men talk because they have something to say and fools because they have to say something....plato

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    Senior Member The Big-E's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flags & Marks Questions

    Playing Devil's advocate: Did the contractor find and verify the WOW cable prior to damaging the Verizon line? If it was exposed and verified first, I would say you have an argument. If it wasn't, then I would say contractor is at fault. Also, you say the positive response was "Unmarked: Ongoing Project"... did the contractor call into question that positive response? It is the contractor's responsibility to call back in a no-show or contact the utility owner and/or dig responsibly on such a positive response. If they dug anyway without contacting about the positive response, then it would be contractor's responsibility in my opinion.
    yahoo likes this.

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    Senior Member UULC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flags & Marks Questions

    We had the WOW line exposed. Was digging deeper to be able to see the head go by and cut the VZ line. No marks but the WOW flags and paint. VZ has turned it to collections and we are fighting it. We have talked to 811Sunshine and they said each utility must mark their own line and one utility cannot cover another utility.

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    Premium Member daman1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flags & Marks Questions

    I have had contractors see that there were marks where they requested and began digging only to hit an unmarked line. When they saw comm flags, they assumed all comm lines were marked. They don't realize that only one comm company had gotten there yet and began digging before the 48 hour deadline. That made it the contractors sole fault.

    If there were two lines buried and I knew it, you would have gotten two marks. Otherwise it's just confusing. If the ticket deadline had passed, my guess is the Verizon line was never attempted to mark. Now, after the fact, they're using the WOW marks as enough of an excuse to muddy the waters and are hoping you'll just pay the damage rather than litigate it.

    The only catch? At the top of the dig ticket there is a list of utilities that are notified by your request to respond. If the were no marks or clear flags from each one of them you may, technically, have been required to notify 811 of the no show. I'm not sure how the regulations work and it changes for each state but, in my experience, the 811 guys have their legal asses covered so well, it's hard to pin anything on them.
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