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Thread: The Future of Contract Utility Locating.

  1. #46
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    Default Re: The Future of Contract Utility Locating.

    For the most part, contractors are assholes, they are disrespectful, and have no common sense. And, many, if not most, 811 operators are the same way. I used to call contractors when the locate info did not match what I see onsite. I now say "f#*K Em" and give them exactly what they asked for and deserve. What? ...."I located the wrong side of the street? Your deadline is today? Sorry, a-hole, go back to 2nd grade and learn compass direction before you accuse me of marking wrong side of street." . When I finally realized that there are so many times contractors, utility company "engineers", "managers", whatever/whoever never even visit the work site. they use Google Earth, maybe old records from 1957, or worst of all, from memory to call in address, direction, pole #'s, scope of work, etc. I also know that many (too damn many) 811 operators simply take names, address, phone, etc. from contractor and just put "locate entire property" on ticket instructions because it is "easier". Hell, most time they don't even change caller info, they simply populate fields on ticket request with last record on file. "F#@k them lazy ass MF's too"!

    I do not believe this industry will get any better until there is active, consistent, and meaningful (fines, prison, etc.) enforcement of the dig laws in each state. Yeah, that means someone in a truck with a blue light can roll up at any time and any place and ask for your ticket number. Don't have it, "go home, pay your fine, try again in two weeks". Making them wait, could also cost them the job! Maybe even put them out of business for repeat offenses. Auditing 811 calls would also help get rid of the incompetent wastes of human flesh that accept "emergency" ticket requests for water meter installs or pest control. Locators should also be able to report any crazy shit they see going on from contractors (repeated, unnecessary updates,etc.) and on ticket info they get from 811.

    Never understood the lack of enforcement (except for court system) nor the lack of support from utility industry to lobby for this change. Until then, nothing changes........I'm still just the locator. But, at least I know where north, south, east, & west is. Engineers should have their degrees stripped and have to locate for USIC in Alabama for one year as a first time offense! Yes, I am serious!
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  2. #47
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    Default Re: The Future of Contract Utility Locating.

    Quote Originally Posted by second notice View Post
    For the most part, contractors are assholes, they are disrespectful, and have no common sense. And, many, if not most, 811 operators are the same way. I used to call contractors when the locate info did not match what I see onsite. I now say "f#*K Em" and give them exactly what they asked for and deserve. What? ...."I located the wrong side of the street? Your deadline is today? Sorry, a-hole, go back to 2nd grade and learn compass direction before you accuse me of marking wrong side of street." . When I finally realized that there are so many times contractors, utility company "engineers", "managers", whatever/whoever never even visit the work site. they use Google Earth, maybe old records from 1957, or worst of all, from memory to call in address, direction, pole #'s, scope of work, etc. I also know that many (too damn many) 811 operators simply take names, address, phone, etc. from contractor and just put "locate entire property" on ticket instructions because it is "easier". Hell, most time they don't even change caller info, they simply populate fields on ticket request with last record on file. "F#@k them lazy ass MF's too"!

    I do not believe this industry will get any better until there is active, consistent, and meaningful (fines, prison, etc.) enforcement of the dig laws in each state. Yeah, that means someone in a truck with a blue light can roll up at any time and any place and ask for your ticket number. Don't have it, "go home, pay your fine, try again in two weeks". Making them wait, could also cost them the job! Maybe even put them out of business for repeat offenses. Auditing 811 calls would also help get rid of the incompetent wastes of human flesh that accept "emergency" ticket requests for water meter installs or pest control. Locators should also be able to report any crazy shit they see going on from contractors (repeated, unnecessary updates,etc.) and on ticket info they get from 811.

    Never understood the lack of enforcement (except for court system) nor the lack of support from utility industry to lobby for this change. Until then, nothing changes........I'm still just the locator. But, at least I know where north, south, east, & west is. Engineers should have their degrees stripped and have to locate for USIC in Alabama for one year as a first time offense! Yes, I am serious!
    I think all locators.... or at least the ones who have been working in the industry for any given ammount of time have the same oppinions.

    The issue comes down to one question. Where do we start? The utilities are fine the way the system is working now. They contract out their locates and don't have to deal with the bullshit. The excavators are on the highground..... they may be functionally retarded, but they still have the highground. They can reason away most of any issues as long as they actually made the call. As for the opperators, they are worthless as well, but that is what you get when you hire people to type and not to understand what is needed. In order to hire people to understand what information is needed and what questions to ask to figure out that it is a Bid or Survey request as compared to a regular 48hr notice it will take more money. Not much money in a system where the service is provided for free.

    As for the lack of enforcement, I think that all comes down to the locators being the best fit for "whipping boy". We don't have the backing by the utilities. We don't usually have backing by our company. No one fights for our side. So when an issue comes up, typically it is excavator vs locator. or Utility vs excavator. never is it Locator vs. anyone. too much time an effort.

    In my current role, I get to be on the front end of large projects. I get invited to pre-construction meetings and actually get to contribute. I take that time to help the excavator understand how to get the response from the public locators for their specific job. Unfortunately, their is only a few excavators that understand what i'm trying to do and will follow my suggestions. Some are missing the functional part of being functionally retarded.

    I actually think the industry will only improve if the locators get the needed backing by the utilities they locate for. You would be surprised on how an excavators tone will change when they realize that you are a representative of a particular utility, more then just their locator.

    mke
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    Default Re: The Future of Contract Utility Locating.

    Quote Originally Posted by second notice View Post
    I used to call contractors when the locate info did not match what I see onsite. I now say "f#*K Em" and give them exactly what they asked for and deserve. What? ...."I located the wrong side of the street? Your deadline is today? Sorry, a-hole, go back to 2nd grade and learn compass direction before you accuse me of marking wrong side of street.
    YES!!! Exactly this!!!!


    Quote Originally Posted by second notice View Post
    Auditing 811 calls would also help get rid of the incompetent wastes of human flesh that accept "emergency" ticket requests for water meter installs or pest control. Locators should also be able to report any crazy shit they see going on from contractors (repeated, unnecessary updates,etc.) and on ticket info they get from 811.
    Took the words right out of my mouth. Love that description waste of human flesh. So poetic.



    Quote Originally Posted by second notice View Post
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    Default Re: The Future of Contract Utility Locating.

    I believe if USIC and Utiliquest merged it could corner the contract market, and demand significantly higher pricing from the majors.

    No mom and pop outfit could supply the labor much less have the bidding competition when intrastate/national scale contracts start getting written.

    That is my thought on where the future could go.

    Utility regulators nationally wont allow the infrastructure to get flim flammed by handing contractors prints and telling them they need to chase down some back ally private locate firm to be responsible to get infrastructure marked... JMO
    Last edited by USIC1; September 19th, 2015 at 09:39 PM.
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    Default Re: The Future of Contract Utility Locating.

    A Usic guy and I was talking about this today at work after we met at the same ticket that had been called in 19 times now without a single piece of dirt moved. I think the companies that still have the contracts should keep them, provide no prints to the contractor but much less turn it into private locate rules. The contractor will pay the company we work for like they would pay a private locating company. We show up we charge per hour and we will provide depths if thats what you want but at the same time no piece of equipment is that accurate. We give them everything they want but they are paying us per hour. The company will make more money which means the locators will make better money and have better equipment. That alone would cut ticket volume and footage that does not need to be marked. If you start hitting the contractors in their pockets they will eventually start working with us along with us working with them.
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    Default Re: The Future of Contract Utility Locating.

    Well lately I am seeing more and more contractors calling tickets in for survey work . And I am told by my liaison that I have to mark it out . And when I approach them with the Tennessee 811 laws they still tell me to do it . And I also find do out that these survey companies are doing this to avoid the cost of hiring private locate companies to survey areas for bidding purposes . I still do the job but it pisses me off that they area getting away with getting something for free . And I have found out that the survey companies get paid to bring in private locators . So the more and more for abusing the 811 system . But after talking to 811 system people there is nothing I can do about it . Contractors can call in whatever they want without regards to the 811 laws and the 811 system won't even set them right . A perfect storm waiting to blow up .

  7. #52
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    Default Re: The Future of Contract Utility Locating.

    Quote Originally Posted by dragon View Post
    Well lately I am seeing more and more contractors calling tickets in for survey work . And I am told by my liaison that I have to mark it out . And when I approach them with the Tennessee 811 laws they still tell me to do it . And I also find do out that these survey companies are doing this to avoid the cost of hiring private locate companies to survey areas for bidding purposes . I still do the job but it pisses me off that they area getting away with getting something for free . And I have found out that the survey companies get paid to bring in private locators . So the more and more for abusing the 811 system . But after talking to 811 system people there is nothing I can do about it . Contractors can call in whatever they want without regards to the 811 laws and the 811 system won't even set them right . A perfect storm waiting to blow up .
    I'm biased in this reguard. I work for our survey department and see the necessity of getting the correct information to the guys who are collecting the infield data and giving it to the engineer. When you have outsiders locating your plant, you have a higher chance of missing pertinent information or mis-lableing the important utilities. I know I differ from most, if not all public locators on the importance of locating for survey work, but I will concede the abuse of the 811 system.

    Driving Iron rods are part of the survey process and should not push the ticket to the 48hr notice side of the request. It should be a minimum of 2 weeks depending on the time of year. I actually think that this would be a great locate for noobs to cut their teeth on and have a seasoned locator check to verify the high priority lines.

    I've personally located areas and after the survey crew gave the information to the engineers, they so smartly decieded to change the location of the utility install.

    As for the abuse of the 811... That is systemic. The system in a whole is designed to have abuses. From the operators gathering information to the excavator, hell, even locators abuse the system... I've seen them. We interpret the rules one way, and if we believe we are right we push that onto the other two parties involved.

    mke

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    Default Re: The Future of Contract Utility Locating.

    When it comes to survey tickets there are several important aspects.

    One is they are not free. The people who called the ticket in may not pay but the customers of the utilities pay for these in their bills. The site survey industry spent many years and dollars lobbing to get this. That the utility customers pay for this is unforgivable, shame on our regulators.


    The locate firms also are unfairly compensated. The contract price on the ticket does not cover the usual large site these tickets demand. Some of these tickets pay as little a $5.00 and when the locator spends an hour or more marking it the locate firm looses money. As a result the locate firms turn a deaf ear to complaints that a survey tickets' marks were not accurate or complete.
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    Default Re: The Future of Contract Utility Locating.

    Survey and design tickets are a write off. Here they are paid to collect records, and designate and if needed potholed. I google their name in the buisness sections and see what they do. If they are not a underground contractor I will call and flat out ask.

    On another note I just got done routing myself for tomorrow and I have 3 sets of tickets with 3 seperate contractors doing the work. All the wording cover the same area and they are doing the work for Bright house. They all called in tickets to bid on the cable project.

    Does anyone else have that problem?

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    Default Re: The Future of Contract Utility Locating.

    I am sorry but companies that call in tickets for bid or survey work are cheap lazy bastards . Hire private locating companies to locate. 811 states it is NOT for surveying, period .
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  11. #56
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    Default Re: The Future of Contract Utility Locating.

    Quote Originally Posted by dragon View Post
    I am sorry but companies that call in tickets for bid or survey work are cheap lazy bastards . Hire private locating companies to locate. 811 states it is NOT for surveying, period .
    I agree with the bid locates. There is no reason for this. A proper design would of picked up and mapped any utilities and would render any bid locates unnecessary.

    I've had to yell at two seperate contractors over the past week about calling in bid locates or locates so they can just "See" what is in the ground. I told both of them that when I get a call from the public locators, I'm telling all of them that it is for bidding reasons and that they should wait till they get an excavator on board before they mark things out. They were pissed but they didn't fight me on it.

    As for the Survey requests... I think it depends on the state. Our 811 actually has a "survey locate" which the locators have 10 business days to respond with maps or field markings. What this means is that companies that have access to maps will not locate, and the companies that don't will usually wind up sending locators out to paint.

    I don't know how you feel about protecting your companies utilities, but I would rather put the effort in on a Survey request so what ever work is slated to take place can avoid our utilities then have another company come in and do their best blind sweep to pick up on the utilities. We have enough HDPE pressure mains, Fuel Lines, Fiber, tunnels, etc... I don't want to leave it to chance.

    mke
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    Default Re: The Future of Contract Utility Locating.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mke View Post

    I don't know how you feel about protecting your companies utilities, but I would rather put the effort in on a Survey request so what ever work is slated to take place can avoid our utilities then have another company come in and do their best blind sweep to pick up on the utilities. We have enough HDPE pressure mains, Fuel Lines, Fiber, tunnels, etc... I don't want to leave it to chance.

    mke


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    Default Re: The Future of Contract Utility Locating.

    In Alabama, 811 allows 5 days for "survey" tickets. But, AL811 has no balls or enforcement and will take a ticket/survey request from a monkey in the B'ham zoo. Engineering firms call in "site prep" tickets to skirt the 5 day rule for surveys. Pisses me off that they get away with lying on a legal document. Just like most other agencies in Alabama government, Al811 is a hand puppet for the companies that fund it.....big utilities. Pretty much a worthless entity the way I see it.
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    Default Re: The Future of Contract Utility Locating.

    Quote Originally Posted by USIC1 View Post
    I believe if USIC and Utiliquest merged it could corner the contract market, and demand significantly higher pricing from the majors.

    No mom and pop outfit could supply the labor much less have the bidding competition when intrastate/national scale contracts start getting written.

    That is my thought on where the future could go.

    Utility regulators nationally wont allow the infrastructure to get flim flammed by handing contractors prints and telling them they need to chase down some back ally private locate firm to be responsible to get infrastructure marked... JMO
    Not in Colorado, USIC got the boot earlier this year and word is that Utility owners have had enough of Utilitquest already

    More states need mom and pop shops IMO

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