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Thread: Limits of locating lines

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    Member Boss Man's Avatar
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    Default Limits of locating lines

    Iím trying to touch base with other locators to get their operating standards. We are a municipality that owns its power. We had a dig-in last week that has raised flags. In the past we havenít had a set standard on locating commercial secondary power. We do not own or maintain commercial secondary services. So the question is should we locate it or not? My personal thoughts are if it is mapped we should locate it at least to the metered point.
    My question to you would be how far does your company locate commercial services? If you can include the other utilities limits as well. I'm thinking as a safety standard

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    Mke
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    Default Re: Limits of locating lines

    Boss, I'm in a situation similar to you. However we not only deal with electrical, but we run the gambit of all utilities. Our Official stance (for leagal reasons) is that we do not locate any utility owned and operated by other entities.

    Our Lease language states that property owners who lease property from us are responsible for the underground utilities on and associated with their property.

    What we actually do: First and foremost we make sure any excavator knows who's utility is in question. We let them know that it is not our responsibility to locate the utilities in question. If the excavator has time, we assist them in contacting the appropriate locating companies. If it is a property owner responsible, we let the excavator know that they should call a "Private Utility Locator" to come in and locate these utilities.

    After that shpeel I see what the excavator is doing and locate appropriately. If he's installing a sewer line to a building, i'm not going to mark the entire property, but I will locate the utilities crossing his trench. I also mark all the utilities in Red without lables. I will let him know verbally what they are, but the main goal is to protect the utilities without accepting the liability of any possible damages.

    My main goal is to protect utilities, but it is also to educate the excavator. Most think if they call the one-call they are good to go. I just got a call yesterday from a Prime contractor building a hangar and in his phone call to me, he eluded to the fact that he thought I was responsible for locating Storm lines where they are going to tie into. I had to let him know that is not the case and had to quote him the above language for leased properties. I did finish up with letting him know I would head out there to see if I could help.

    I know its a bit of a dance but its part of the job.

    mke

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    Senior Member jayc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Limits of locating lines

    Hey Boss,

    From a contractors perspective, here's my $0.02:

    First, as a contractor, it's tough to know how each particular city deals with locating lines. For instance, out here, Naperville owns their power and will locate all of their stuff on a ticket UNLESS it's an MDU (Multi Dwelling Unit). So for apartments and townhomes, the contractor is responsible for locating the lines. If it's a residential neighborhood, they locate the services going to the house. In Batavia, they have their own power and will locate everything for you. In all of the ComEd areas, USIC locates everything. Everything.

    Second, say you leave it up to the contractor to locate commercial lines. How do you let the contractor know ahead of time if they aren't familiar with working in your area? Gotta think about that one.... Actually, if it's owned by the property owner (not necessarily the current entity in the building - they most likely rent), then it's up to the property owner to locate - do they know that? Did the utility inform them that anytime work is done on their property they will have to hire a private locator for such an occurrence, even if the work is technically not being done for them? Who picks up the cost?

    Third, if you have everything mapped, I'd say locate it or sub it out to a locating company...there's no way you're going to be able to provide maps to every contractor.

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    Mke
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    Default Re: Limits of locating lines

    Quote Originally Posted by jayc View Post
    Hey Boss,

    From a contractors perspective, here's my $0.02:

    First, as a contractor, it's tough to know how each particular city deals with locating lines. For instance, out here, Naperville owns their power and will locate all of their stuff on a ticket UNLESS it's an MDU (Multi Dwelling Unit). So for apartments and townhomes, the contractor is responsible for locating the lines. If it's a residential neighborhood, they locate the services going to the house. In Batavia, they have their own power and will locate everything for you. In all of the ComEd areas, USIC locates everything. Everything.

    Second, say you leave it up to the contractor to locate commercial lines. How do you let the contractor know ahead of time if they aren't familiar with working in your area? Gotta think about that one.... Actually, if it's owned by the property owner (not necessarily the current entity in the building - they most likely rent), then it's up to the property owner to locate - do they know that? Did the utility inform them that anytime work is done on their property they will have to hire a private locator for such an occurrence, even if the work is technically not being done for them? Who picks up the cost?

    Third, if you have everything mapped, I'd say locate it or sub it out to a locating company...there's no way you're going to be able to provide maps to every contractor.
    JC, It's real easy to say "Mark it". The only reason the locating industry is around is for someone to be responsible for damaged utilities. As a Locator for a Public agency, we have taken class after class about "Ethics" and the main point of this class is to limit liability. You wanna know why most companies contract out locates? Its to limit liability.

    Boss Doesn't need to locate lines he's not responsible for. If he does, he has to realize he is taking liability on those lines. We already have a crap load of liability on our shoulders, we don't need more. Since Boss knows who is responsible for those lines he needs to let the excavators know, out of courtesy.

    Just because its on a map, doesn't mean you can locate it. We have a centeral utility plant. Everything comes in and out of this building. I can show you a map of all the utilities that come and go near this building. Half I'm responsible for, the other half I am not. It is big enough stuff, I do not locate other companies utilities there, I do insist on any work taking place must contact the companies directly for locates. Its not that I can't locate them, typically for design work I have located the utilities. The importance of the utilities being located need to be impressed upon the excavator and the locators for the utilities. (Other then Centurylink, most utilities consider this area part of the "Core" and perform the locates in house).


    Here is the missing part of this. The company I work for, and me personnally have been threatened with PUC fines for marking "Utility owned" lines. It doesn't matter that we prevented damages. They do not want people other then their representatives to locate their utilities. I know this is sperate from the "commercially owned" utilities Boss is refering to, but it is along the same line and something that locators need to be knowledgeable about.


    JC, As a contractor..... why is any more the locators responsibility then yours when you are going from township to township? I have to be familiar with Two different states Dig Laws. I have to be familiar with 3 different power companies, 3 different Telephone companies, 4 different water districts, 4 different sanitary districts, 2 different state DOT's, 5 different Gas transmission lines (2 of which are Aviation Fuel)..... I can keep going down the list, but Its easier to get to the point. I have to know what I'm looking at and how to locate it or how to help other locators locate it in any given situation.... the least the contractor can do a little leg work to figure out if he needs to locate the lines or not. You don't bore blindly, why would you go into a different area without doing some leg work?

    mke

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    Default Re: Limits of locating lines

    I'm not saying, "just do it and take ownership"...from what I'm reading, he's wanting an input of, "should we locate it or not"? I'm merely pointing out from a contractors perspective, if they're already going to mark their primary lines, why not mark the drops too? Conversely, if you don't mark the lines and a contractor not familiar with the area comes in and doesn't know the rules and no one tells him and he hits it, now you've got a problem on your hands. My other point was if you're putting it on the property owner to locate - because technically the contractor shouldn't have to do work for free, how do you tell the property owner or the renter of that commercial property that they're responsible for locating anything a contractor should ever call in.

    I'm trying to look at it from all angles. And I'm trying to express what could happen if they put the responsibility all on another party. Like he said, they don't have any set standards and I'm assuming they're looking at developing them. I'm hoping they would want to hear multiple opinions and/or multiple scenarios and make the best judgement for their future needs.

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    Default Re: Limits of locating lines

    Quote Originally Posted by jayc View Post
    Hey Boss,

    From a contractors perspective, here's my $0.02:

    First, as a contractor, it's tough to know how each particular city deals with locating lines. For instance, out here, Naperville owns their power and will locate all of their stuff on a ticket UNLESS it's an MDU (Multi Dwelling Unit). So for apartments and townhomes, the contractor is responsible for locating the lines. If it's a residential neighborhood, they locate the services going to the house. In Batavia, they have their own power and will locate everything for you. In all of the ComEd areas, USIC locates everything. Everything.

    Second, say you leave it up to the contractor to locate commercial lines. How do you let the contractor know ahead of time if they aren't familiar with working in your area? Gotta think about that one.... Actually, if it's owned by the property owner (not necessarily the current entity in the building - they most likely rent), then it's up to the property owner to locate - do they know that? Did the utility inform them that anytime work is done on their property they will have to hire a private locator for such an occurrence, even if the work is technically not being done for them? Who picks up the cost?

    Third, if you have everything mapped, I'd say locate it or sub it out to a locating company...there's no way you're going to be able to provide maps to every contractor.
    Naperville is a bit weird especailly at 59 and jefferson. at that intersection it is com ed and naperville power. those lines right there either divide there and or tie in to one another at the transformer next to the portillos.

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    Default Re: Limits of locating lines

    Quote Originally Posted by fiberlocator99 View Post
    Naperville is a bit weird especailly at 59 and jefferson. at that intersection it is com ed and naperville power. those lines right there either divide there and or tie in to one another at the transformer next to the portillos.
    Same with 59 and North Aurora Rd, as well as 59 and Diehl Rd.

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    Default Re: Limits of locating lines

    We locate all the way to the utility owned meter on the outside of the building. A lot of commercial in my area has 3 phase to the transformer and the meter is located on the transformer pad. That's as far as we go at that point. But if the meter is on the building we run it to meter. Hope this helps. If you need more info just ask.

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    Mke
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    Default Re: Limits of locating lines

    Quote Originally Posted by PureOwnage View Post
    We locate all the way to the utility owned meter on the outside of the building. A lot of commercial in my area has 3 phase to the transformer and the meter is located on the transformer pad. That's as far as we go at that point. But if the meter is on the building we run it to meter. Hope this helps. If you need more info just ask.
    This should be the standard as far as utility companies are concerned. You locate up to the meter or change of ownership. With Electrical lines you will have a meter, with sanitary lines you will typically have a genaric point (10" behind curb). If there were industry standards, the contractors wouldn't have to guess who's supposed to mark. One of the power companies in my area won't mark any electrical services inside trailer parks or apartment complexes. Even though the meters are on the units and they maintain the equipment (switch gear and transformers) inside the facilities.

    JC, Sorry for the long rants, if you read in between the lines, I think Boss should mark the cables in question, but to re-iterate to the excavator that the lines are not his responsibility. So, with that we are on the same page, where we seperate is I think the excavator needs to know how to coordinate his work to the locates he needs. That is the "little bit of leg work" I refer to.

    Mke

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    Senior Member Enjoythefall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Limits of locating lines

    Who's meters are they? If a meter is yours, and there is a mapped secondary running to it, then it makes sense that you should locate that secondary up to the meter.
    daman1 likes this.

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    Default Re: Limits of locating lines

    Quote Originally Posted by Enjoythefall View Post
    Who's meters are they? If a meter is yours, and there is a mapped secondary running to it, then it makes sense that you should locate that secondary up to the meter.
    Personally, I agree with this statement.

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    Default Re: Limits of locating lines

    Quote Originally Posted by Enjoythefall View Post
    Who's meters are they? If a meter is yours, and there is a mapped secondary running to it, then it makes sense that you should locate that secondary up to the meter.
    That's the way I always explain it. It can save a lot of money in the short term but there's a ton of small print in the utility contract when you run a private line from a meter not attached to the building. Somewhere in there you agree to take responsibility for protecting and/or repairing any damage to that line.

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    Default Re: Limits of locating lines

    if I understand the question right .....always to the metering device is the safest thing to do BUT in the end it is best to stick to protocol
    ....
    wise men talk because they have something to say and fools because they have to say something....plato

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    Default Re: Limits of locating lines

    Now i'm jonesing for some Portillos. an italian beef or a hot dog.

    For the utilities I have located for we just locate up to the meter and everything beyond is considered private. I locate a lot of farm that make use of bus bars or power distribution centers. We use a white flag that lets the contractor know there is private electric in the area and our phone number on it. Along with making a courtesy call to the contractor.

    There was private power between two buildings of this company. The locator knew the contractor and as a favor dotted out the power. I think there was two or something but the contractor hit it. It causes a short and caught the power panel to catch fire, which caused the building to catch fire. the locator got fired and the locating company paid for the damages. i think it was like $80K. I think they stated by putting down marks the locating company took responsibility and liability for the cable.

    i know in IL they list the utilities in the area for that ticket on the bottom of the page. A contractor can just cross them off as they are marked.

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    Default Re: Limits of locating lines

    Quote Originally Posted by paintitnow View Post
    Now i'm jonesing for some Portillos. an italian beef or a hot dog.
    I've got a better place for a beef sandwich. This Italian deli that I've been eating at since I was 5. Great place.

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