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Thread: Help on Marking instructions

  1. #1
    Junior Member foefn's Avatar
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    Default Help on Marking instructions

    I have been asked to teach people in two offices how to create accurate and useful marking instructions. This will be mostly for electric and gas facilities. I would love your input so I can get them away from the "Mark entire lot and entire Road ROW for width of lot". I am looking for several examples I can show with pictures showing the extra work needed by including that much in the ticket. If you have pictures, I would welcome them. I would also welcome commentary and explanations, if you have them.

    It is quite simple to explain the cost savings to people for their company when calling in accurate and concise marking instructions. It is not always so easy to get them to "buy into" the idea that it may take THEM 30 seconds more to type instructions specific to a job rather than a generic text of "entire lot" which will cause four or five other people to have to spend significantly more than the 30 seconds to complete which in turn costs the other companies more money. Did that line make sense to you?

    Your assistance would be greatly appreciated. I welcome all useful comments, examples, and especially pictures. (please send pictures to: inahardhat -AT- gmail.com)

    Thanks, in advance for you help!

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    Member Boss Man's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help on Marking instructions

    One word "Whiteline"
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    Senior Member yahoo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help on Marking instructions

    wise men talk because they have something to say and fools because they have to say something....plato

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    Mke
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    Default Re: Help on Marking instructions

    So... being on both sides of the ticket calling situation... let me start by stating that the 1st contact number and name should not only be available, but should be familiar with the job.

    If I had a nickle for every time I had a bad number, or an office lady who didn't know what they were doing.

    Second, White line it. or have someone available for a meet. I know that isn't always cost effective, but it helps.

    When I call I:

    Paint it in white prior to calling the one-call center.
    Know footages from addresses and/or intersections.
    Know your North and South
    Know what companies need to respond.
    Be available and willing to either send a PDF of the site or meet with the locators in the field.

    Even with all of this, you have 25% of the locators who don't contact you and will mark what they feel has been called in.

    Good luck.
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    Administrator TheCableVine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help on Marking instructions

    Let them know that when they call in just what is needed, it is more likely the ticket will be done on time. I've put off tickets cause I knew they were calling in more than they needed and I too busy and had other tickets to do. When I get slammed with tickets... I don't appreciate getting one that calls for front back and both sides of a property when they are fixing a water valve. I'll push that to the last minute or just put it off til I have more time.

    So... calling in exactly what you need helps us finish the ticket quicker so we can get on to the next ticket. A lazy contractor who says to mark the entire intersection cause it is easier than being specific holds me up and prevents me from getting to the next ticket sooner.

    Another thing, actually visit the site before you call in your ticket. Know what you are talking about.

    As far as the cost part of your post, look at it this way. If I do 30 tickets in a day and 10 of those tickets are "front back and both sides of property" tickets that should really be "Locate front of property for new driveway" or "locate southwest corner of backyard of property to plant a tree" I will probably spend an extra 5-10 minutes on those 10 tickets. Averaged out that is an extra 75 minutes spent locating that didn't need to be done. An hour and 15 minutes is a lot of time when you are very busy and you have contractors calling, wondering why there tickets aren't marked. Time is money.
    second notice likes this.
    "Change does not always equal progress."

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    Premium Member daman1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help on Marking instructions

    May I ask what kind of excavation you do? There are a variety of ways to limit the scope depending on the task at hand.
    For irrigation, entire property is the only thing you can do. For landscaping, white lines and stakes really help. For running utilities, proposed route flags are great. Fence routes along the property line keep us from having to paint accross the entire yard.
    My local utility companies use route flags so I only have to mark along the route. The utility sub contractors don't. They use a standard "mark entire property and road easements on both sides of the road for the entire length of the property". Then they don't answer their phones or return calls. Nothing irritates me more than marking six lines accross the street only to drive by a week later and finding out the water main was on the short side and there was never going to be a road bore. If I get overwhelmed and jobs start going late, guess whos tickets I'll pick?
    The important thing is letting the locator know where the actual digging will be. Steve's right. You'll get a better job done sooner if I can focus on where to mark. Then I can get on to the other 20 jobs you probably called in that day. No 2nd notices for me, no down time for you. Damages cost everyone time and money.
    Thanks for caring enough to ask us. If you were in my area we'd get along great.
    Last edited by daman1; March 17th, 2014 at 11:14 PM.

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    Default Re: Help on Marking instructions

    MKE: One good thing about the regulators here in TX, specifically the Texas Railroad Commission (Gas regulators), is that in the recent proposed revisions they added that an actual on-site contact has to be on the locate request. The Damage Prevention Councils had a big part in getting this and other things added to the revisions. That is just one of the good things that was added but along with that there are some things that make it harder on the operator/locator such as marks have to be within the body of the pipe if the nominal diameter is greater than 13". The problem with this is, the deeper the pipe the wider the signal. Large facilities usually run pretty deep.

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    Senior Member USIC1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help on Marking instructions

    Sad to say but the problem of the generic locate instructions will never change...

    White lining is not mandatory requirement that I have been aware of...

    The one-call dispatch / contractor will IN MOST CASES default to the blanket instructions to avoid writing novels, who would expect anything less regardless of the hardship to the locator...

    Management wont take it up at the monthly one call meetings unless it is something really ridiculous because of the repercussions that can arise for whinining in front of their clients and or creating liability for suggesting limiting the scope of a possible excavation area.

    Take your pick on this issue- its beating a dead horse in getting resolved so the highly productive "@ a boyee" bosses favorite locators have to risk, the company audit, accounting for a perceived best guess path of excavation area vs the liability.

    Yeah, a phone call may work in a few scenarios and a good old just mark what the ticket calls for response is an even more an enjoyable final conclusion since 75% may not know what the path of excavation will be til they get there.

    Its just the relaxing part of the locators work day...satisfying the daily quota, scope of the locates, within the subtly implied expected time frame
    Last edited by USIC1; March 18th, 2014 at 11:33 PM.

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    Member Kramit69's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help on Marking instructions

    Things here in Wisconsin have gotten a lot better over the last 25 years. A lot more white lining and proposed flagging has been implemented over the years. But, there are a few that still cause problems. Those being callers that bid on the contract and have never been to the excavation site and people that sit in a office having never been in the field calling in locates. (there are exceptions) THEN there are the **** heads that just don't give a **** and call in shit way over what they need. I don't put up with that shit no more. I call them to explain to me or have them me meet me on site before one spot of paint is squirted from my gun. I have plenty of back up from the utilities, people at the one call (Diggers Hotline), and my boss and boss's boss. Luckily this rarely happens. I get along great with 99.9% of my excavators. But seems like every year there is always one. Funny they never come back.
    TheCableVine likes this.

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    Premium Member daman1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help on Marking instructions

    Quote Originally Posted by USIC1 View Post
    Sad to say but the problem of the generic locate instructions will never change...

    White lining is not mandatory requirement that I have been aware of...

    The one-call dispatch / contractor will IN MOST CASES default to the blanket instructions to avoid writing novels, who would expect anything less regardless of the hardship to the locator...

    Management wont take it up at the monthly one call meetings unless it is something really ridiculous because of the repercussions that can arise for whinining in front of their clients and or creating liability for suggesting limiting the scope of a possible excavation area.

    Take your pick on this issue- its beating a dead horse in getting resolved so the highly productive "@ a boyee" bosses favorite locators have to risk, the company audit, accounting for a perceived best guess path of excavation area vs the liability.

    Yeah, a phone call may work in a few scenarios and a good old just mark what the ticket calls for response is an even more an enjoyable final conclusion since 75% may not know what the path of excavation will be til they get there.

    Its just the relaxing part of the locators work day...satisfying the daily quota, scope of the locates, within the subtly implied expected time frame

    Gotta agree witcha there Sik1. There are 2 certainties in life.......

    At the first snow of the season every driver seems to 4get how to drive in the winter. At the first day of spring, every contractor 4gets everything I've taught them about how to call in tickets.
    Here we go again.

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