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Thread: Question about the nature of design tickets and how they are handled by the one call centers for excavation in each state across the country.

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    Junior Member AABUtilityLocating's Avatar
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    Default Question about the nature of design tickets and how they are handled by the one call centers for excavation in each state across the country.

    Hello friends. I have a question on how design requests are treated at the one call system for excavation in each state. For example, an engineer who wants to design a subdivision or residential neighborhood might want to know if a major water transmission line runs directly through his parcel of land before he starts to spend the time dividing up the lots in AutoCad and assigning property corners. This is more than 30 days before he intends to excavate on the parcel of land. However, because his request is for design purposes and he is not excavating within a reasonable period of time (usually 30 days), the staff at the one call system will usually refuse his request.

    I know that here in Maine, the one call system Dig Safe will refuse any and all design requests, with the explanation that "Information requested from an operator for design purposes shall not be a substitute for the notice of intent to perform excavation."

    I believe that New York will issue design tickets to locators, but they are labled as such DESIGN tickets and the rules to handle them are different than a regular excavation ticket. I am not sure what the differences are, but it I think it revolves around the locators getting into contact with the design caller and telling the designer over the phone where the utilities are or by emailing that designer digital images of maps. Or sometimes the locators can just ignore the design tickets.

    I am curious what the rest of the country is like and how the utility companies handle these design requests. I am starting to think that most of the design requests are just ignored for the most part but am wondering what the experiences of others are.

    Specifically, the reason I am asking is that we are a newer company that is trying to market ourselves as a solution to this problem. When architects and engineers need to design a large commercial building, residential subdivision, or combine multiple parcels of land for thier purposes, or any other design problem, they need to know what kinds of underground utilities are in the way before they can start planting buildings, designing right of ways, and inserting property corners in thier design software, amongst other things. But they need more than just field marks.

    In fact we just had a gentleman last week who had a large water line running through newly purchased land that he knew was there in general but had no idea where it was exactly. The town hall had a right of way on the books that said the water company owned a right of way that was 40 feet on either side of the pipe. The problem was the location of the water pipe itself was defining where the right of way was! Field marks were not enough for this architect, he needed a proportional digital map as well so he could design around it. We have proffessional land surveyors on staff that can transfer this survey grade data to a base map for implementation during the design and planning process. Accurately located, drawn to scale, and delivered to the design team electronically. We can even place elevations on all utilities on a required vertical datum and Maine State Coordinates.

    Thanks for any information in advance, and I hope that you all have a pleasant evening.

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    Default Re: Question about the nature of design tickets and how they are handled by the one call centers for excavation in each state across the country.

    In Florida I will not respond to a design ticket. In Florida, when you call in a design ticket you get a list of the utilities in that area. It is up to the engineer of record to get with each to find out if they have facilities within the project. It is the up to the engineer to contact a Sub-surface Utility Engineering (SUE)company to go out and verify the location & DEPTH of all utilites.

    I get tickets from SUE companies who want us to go out and mark so they can vac=excavate our lines. They have prints OR should have them from the utility companies. If a Engineering Firm calls in a dig ticket I will turn it over to Sunshine State One Call for enforcement and education. It is spelled out in the law.

    I hope this helps.

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    Default Re: Question about the nature of design tickets and how they are handled by the one call centers for excavation in each state across the country.

    811 locators do not get paid for design locate request.(Its not in their Contract).They get paid for actual dig locate request.Thats why they get ignored,what you have to do is contact the utility companies like phone,power,water,etc directly.The actual utility company can issue you prints,or they can possibly pay their 811 sub-contractor,but you would have to go to all the utilitiy companies and get them all to agree to pay to have their own 811 locators to go out to do a design locate.That means you would have to go to probally at least 6 utility companies each time you need a design locate.If you try to call in false dig tickets claiming that you are digging just to get your design locates done,you could be fined for doing so.Why would you want 811 locators to do your design locates anyway?You ever heard the saying you get what you pay for?If they did do design locates,guess how they would do them,fast and without much care cause they have lots of dig locates to get done,and a design means your not digging on it so they don't have to worry about getting a damage.Best thing to do if the utilitiy companies won't mark any of their utilities that run thru properties,is to hire a Sue/Private locate company to do the design locates,they have more equipment,and more knowledge of locating all utilities than your standard 811 locators.Some of those design locates your gonna need are gonna have private utilities on them,so either way you will need a sue/private locate company at some point.Hopes this helps,Good Luck!

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    Default Re: Question about the nature of design tickets and how they are handled by the one call centers for excavation in each state across the country.

    Quote Originally Posted by UULC View Post
    In Florida I will not respond to a design ticket. In Florida, when you call in a design ticket you get a list of the utilities in that area. It is up to the engineer of record to get with each to find out if they have facilities within the project. It is the up to the engineer to contact a Sub-surface Utility Engineering (SUE)company to go out and verify the location & DEPTH of all utilites.

    I get tickets from SUE companies who want us to go out and mark so they can vac=excavate our lines. They have prints OR should have them from the utility companies. If a Engineering Firm calls in a dig ticket I will turn it over to Sunshine State One Call for enforcement and education. It is spelled out in the law.

    I hope this helps.
    Actually, if an engineering company is performing vacuum excavation they are required by Florida Law, FS556 to call in a locate ticket. FS 556.102 (6) & (7) read as follows; (6) “Excavate” or “excavation” means any manmade cut, cavity, trench, or depression in the earth’s surface, formed by removal of earth, intended to change the grade or level of land, or intended to penetrate or disturb the surface of the earth, including land beneath the waters of the state, as defined in s. 373.019(22), and the term includes pipe bursting and directional drilling or boring from one point to another point beneath the surface of the earth, or other trenchless technologies.
    (7) “Excavator” or “excavating contractor” means any person performing excavation or demolition operations.

    There is no "enforcement" for an engineer calling in a valid dig ticket. Apparently the education needs to be the other way in that locators need to be educated that a dig ticket in Florida for a vacuum excavation is a valid dig ticket and should be located in accordance with the law. Failure of a locator to locate in accordance with the requested ticket could result in substantial liability for the locator.

    (3) If, after receiving proper notice, a member operator fails to discharge a duty imposed by this act and an underground facility of a member operator is damaged by an excavator who has complied with this act, as a proximate result of the member operator’s failure to discharge such duty, the excavator is not liable for such damage and the member operator, if found liable, is liable to such person for the total cost of any loss or injury to any person or damage to equipment resulting from the member operator’s failure to comply with this act. Any damage for loss of revenue and loss of use shall not exceed $500,000 per affected underground facility, except that revenues lost by a governmental member operator, which revenues are used to support payments on principal and interest on bonds, shall not be limited.

    Now, if the engineer or surveyor calls in a dig request solely for the purpose of obtaining locate marks without the intent to excavate, that is a violation of the law.

    556.114
    (1) An excavator providing notice under s. 556.105(1)(a) shall identify in its notice only the area that will be excavated during the period that the information in such notice is considered valid under s. 556.105(1)(c).
    (2) When an excavator has not completed an excavation noticed under s. 556.105(1)(a) within the period that the information in the notice is considered valid under s. 556.105(1)(c), the excavator must provide a subsequent notice to the system under s. 556.105(1)(a) to continue with the excavation, and such subsequent notice shall identify only the remaining area to be excavated.

    556.112 Design services.—
    (1) Each member operator shall provide to the system annually, and shall thereafter keep current, the contact names and telephone numbers of individuals who may be contacted by design engineers, architects, surveyors, and planners for the purpose of responding to requests for design services.
    (2) Each member operator shall provide to the system annually, and shall thereafter keep current, a list of fees applicable to each type of design service that each member operator chooses to offer to design engineers, architects, surveyors, and planners.
    (3) Each member operator, within 20 business days after receipt of the fee provided for in subsection (2), shall either respond to a request for design services, if the member operator chooses to provide the services requested, or shall notify the party requesting services that the services will not be provided.
    (4) This section shall not apply to any state agency, municipality, or county, or contractors, consultants, agents, or persons or firms acting under their authority, in the planning, preparing, or performance of work in their right-of-way. This section shall not limit or expand any existing law governing the process a state agency, municipality, or county uses to request design services from member operators or the responsibility for providing or paying for such services.

    Read for yourself:

    - Chapter 556 - 2012 Florida Statutes - The Florida Senate

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    Mke
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    Default Re: Question about the nature of design tickets and how they are handled by the one call centers for excavation in each state across the country.

    Quote Originally Posted by yaherdme22 View Post
    Why would you want 811 locators to do your design locates anyway?You ever heard the saying you get what you pay for?If they did do design locates,guess how they would do them,fast and without much care cause they have lots of dig locates to get done,and a design means your not digging on it so they don't have to worry about getting a damage.
    This is why we can't have nice things...

    First off, I have a dog in the fight. I am an "in-house" locator who is based in the engineering department and managed by the survey group. With that being said, I see first hand why design tickets are important. However, most contract locators treat them exactly the way they are represented here on the board.

    Typically with contract locates for design, if they show up the marks are spaced out every 100' or so. Typically it will be marked to cover their arse (every paint color in the back of their truck). The accuracy is extremely questionable and the routeing is as well.

    When ever we have project in design we require a notice to the One-Call System, I typically pray that they don't show up so I don't have to explain to the survey crew to ignore erroneous marks. It has gotten bad enough that I will go out with our R8 and pick up the utilities my self.

    I think if you have surveyors on staff and locators on staff you will get a better idea of whats in the ground. The surveyors can do record searches and the locators can verify and locate in the field.

    So, with that being said. How in the world can the above statement by yaherdme be acceptable? If you are going to ignore a design ticket, ignore it. but to approve of going out and half assing a ticket? Wether it is a design ticket or a dig ticket. If its attatched to my name I give it all I got. Why? Ironically, because its my job.

    It's like an AA meeting.... Hi, my name is mike. I'm a utility locator. Its what I do. Its why I get a paycheck. I'm not saying to role over and take it from anyone who calls in a ticket. What i'm saying is if one puts paint down, it should be their best effort. I have been able to advise engineers to avoid areas of congestion with a phone call and accurate paint. If you don't have either, they are going to design right through that congestion.

    mke
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    Default Re: Question about the nature of design tickets and how they are handled by the one call centers for excavation in each state across the country.

    In my area design tickets have a 10 day due time I locate every one the same as a dig ticket with 1 exception the services are not marked at the request of the design company. Information overload I guess we show the taps but don't mark the services. On another note if yahder cracks on contract locator's being inferior 1 more time we are going to have a problem!!

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    Senior Member Wingfoot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about the nature of design tickets and how they are handled by the one call centers for excavation in each state across the country.

    Quote Originally Posted by AABUtilityLocating View Post
    I have a question on how design requests are treated at the one call system for excavation in each state.

    New York will issue design tickets to locators, but they are labeled as such DESIGN tickets and the rules to handle them are different than a regular excavation ticket. Sometimes the locators just ignore the design tickets.

    We are a newer company that is trying to market ourselves as a solution to this problem. Architects and engineers need more than just field marks. [They need] a proportional digital map so they can design around [utilities]. We have professional land surveyors on staff that can transfer this survey grade data to a base map for implementation during the design and planning process. Accurately located, drawn to scale, and delivered to the design team electronically.

    I am curious what the rest of the country is like and how the utility companies handle these design requests.
    I can only address my experience as a locator with DESIGN tickets. I realize you represent a legitimate need that many locators treat as toilet fodder. I sheepishly admit I can be just as guilty as the next guy.

    The utility companies I represent in my area expect me to comply with all One-Call locate requests; DESIGN tickets are an authorized request. My suggestions:

    1.) Be specific on what you want on each ticket. (i.e. "Water only needs to respond." "Utilities NOT in road right-of-way needs to respond." "Only utilities in the road right-of-way need to respond.")

    2.) Note on every ticket, "Only need buried trunks, primaries and main lines marked. Not interested in service lines."

    3.) The more locate ticket requests filed, the greater the locator response. One ticket per block (or every 500 feet) would be a good start. Locators are graded on production for raises and such. One DESIGN locate ticket per square mile will not get utilities marked.

    4.) If you are stingy on filing locate tickets, expect to file a "No Response" on each DESIGN ticket. "No Responses" are a way a locator can double his ticket count which in turn helps with that locator's production numbers.

    5.) If you file "No-Response" tickets, by law you should expect at least a telephone call within two hours from all utilities on the tickets. When talking to the locator who responds to the "No Response" ticket(s), don't try to be a nice guy. Sugar will get you nowhere with these people. But don't be a A-hole either. Just be professional and demand results. If no phone calls are received within the two hours, call the One-Call center. The One-Call center will get you in contact with the representatives of each utility not in compliance while you wait. Again, be professional and demand results.

    As a wrap up, be specific on your requests, give us a bucket load of tickets, expect to file many "No Responses" and follow up with telephone calls to the One-Call center if no contact is made to you within two hours of the "No Response" tickets.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------

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    Default Re: Question about the nature of design tickets and how they are handled by the one call centers for excavation in each state across the country.

    a 10 day period, that must be nice!!! when i have a design ticket, i call the contact on the ticket and explain to them that i will only mark out the main lines and no services and they are 99% of the time ok with that. i explain to them that i have contractors that are actually digging that are waiting for me.

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    Default Re: Question about the nature of design tickets and how they are handled by the one call centers for excavation in each state across the country.

    In Virginia we have 15 working days to complete a designer ticket..

    Basically the only ticket we can straight out refuse, whether it be an emergency ticket, normal ticket or designer ticket, is anything over one mile in length. Even though a contractor can call in as many one mile tickets as he wants..

    56-265.17:3. Procedures for operators in response to a designer notice.

    An operator, upon notification by a designer in accordance with 56-265.17:1, shall:

    1. Respond to the designer's request for underground utility line information within fifteen working days in accordance with subdivisions 2, 3, and 4 of this section;

    2. Provide designers with the operator's name, the type of underground utility line, and the approximate horizontal location of the utility line. The foregoing information may be provided to the designer through the means that include, but are not limited to, field locates, maps, surveys, installation records or other means. If the designer requests field locates, the operator shall provide field locates in accordance with the accuracy set forth in subsection A of 56-265.19. Marking shall be done by both paint and flags whenever possible;

    3. Provide such information about the location of the utility lines to designers for informational purposes only. Operators will not be liable for any incorrect information provided or for the subsequent use of this information, nor will they be subject to civil penalties for the accuracy of the information or marks provided. Any concerns about the accuracy of information or marks should be directed to the appropriate operator; and

    4. Respond to the operator-excavator information exchange system by no later than 7:00 a.m. on the sixteenth working day following the designer's notice to the notification center.

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    Senior Member Bad Robot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about the nature of design tickets and how they are handled by the one call centers for excavation in each state across the country.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mke View Post
    .

    So, with that being said. How in the world can the above statement by yaherdme be acceptable? If you are going to ignore a design ticket, ignore it. but to approve of going out and half assing a ticket? Wether it is a design ticket or a dig ticket. If its attatched to my name I give it all I got. Why? Ironically, because its my job.

    It's like an AA meeting.... Hi, my name is mike. I'm a utility locator. Its what I do. Its why I get a paycheck. I'm not saying to role over and take it from anyone who calls in a ticket. What i'm saying is if one puts paint down, it should be their best effort. I have been able to advise engineers to avoid areas of congestion with a phone call and accurate paint. If you don't have either, they are going to design right through that congestion.

    mke
    I'm on board with this 100% friend. I had an old timer train me in this years ago. The first thing he ever said to me was this: "You're a dog. You're marking your territory so the rest of the dogs know what is, and what isn't, yours. Be the alpha male, and do the job better than every other dog. And you'll always be the alpha male."
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    Default Re: Question about the nature of design tickets and how they are handled by the one call centers for excavation in each state across the country.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Robot View Post
    I'm on board with this 100% friend. I had an old timer train me in this years ago. The first thing he ever said to me was this: "You're a dog. You're marking your territory so the rest of the dogs know what is, and what isn't, yours. Be the alpha male, and do the job better than every other dog. And you'll always be the alpha male."
    Exactly right. The only thing you have is your reputation. Not the company you work for. YOUR reputation. We should all take our pride in the quality of our work first. When contractors discuss me when I'm not around, I want them knowing that this guy knows his stuff. If he can't do everything I would like, he is at least honest about it and does what he can to make it right.
    As for design tickets, I have been guilty of giving less than a hundred percent to them, myself. That's usually because several blocks or miles will get called in during the height of the dig season and on just a few tickets. When faced with a ticket that is actually going to be dug on and a damage could easily happen and a ticket for survey purposes, you have to weigh the risk factor and make sure the jobs get marked where the backhoes and boring machine are at. I generally tell my project and design contractors that the more tickets they call in, the more I can justify the amount of time I spend on that sight. It's all about profit to the bosses, so being able to bill out lots of tickets keeps them off your back and gives you more time to do your work well. It's not ideal but there is a lot of 811 locating that isn't ideal. It's just the way it is. My advice to design contractors would be to avoid calling them in during busy times if that's possible. During the slow times those same irritating survey locates can turn into the difference between working or staying home on RIF. They also help the locator in that area get familiar with what's underground and where the access points are so when the real work begins, he's already ahead of the game.

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    Default Re: Question about the nature of design tickets and how they are handled by the one call centers for excavation in each state across the country.

    WTH is a design ticket ????????????????????? LOL..!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hit the NO CHARGE button quick fast and in a hurry !!!! don't even give them a second glance ! If I would actually speak to the person that called in a design ticket ....I would tell him good luck !
    wise men talk because they have something to say and fools because they have to say something....plato

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    Default Re: Question about the nature of design tickets and how they are handled by the one call centers for excavation in each state across the country.

    I'm assuming design tickets are another name for survey tickets. Am I wrong?

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    Default Re: Question about the nature of design tickets and how they are handled by the one call centers for excavation in each state across the country.

    First
    "Basically the only ticket we can straight out refuse...is anything over one mile in length." ..wow that would be nice here. We have a guy routinely get 10+ mile tickets. Like pulling teeth to get a contractor to break a long ticket up. The longest
    I've seen is we had a guy call in 24 miles.

    Now, In TX I don't know of any special laws or rules for design/survey tickets. If a guy is busy then those tickets will be the last thing he does (if at all) but that's on him. Sometimes they'll just request a single utility so they can make updated maps of those utilities for that company which is better. I've also been told to the do the whole arrow or a large dot about every +/- 100' along the line and don't bother with services.

    What you're getting into sounds more like S.U.E. company work. I worked with a guy from the firm Cardno TBE when I was in Dallas. They basically spent the time to locate, survey, map out and plan where to move all the utilities for a new Rapid Transit rail and when they built the new Cowboys Stadium and redesigned all the Interstate interchanges for game traffic. Once everything was moved it was up to me to start working the one-call tickets for the subcontractors. I kept in contact with him to ensure everything was marked since the prints from the utilities themselves where useless at that point.

    Oh, please don't call a survey ticket in as a dig ticket...I will despise you for the rest of my days. One time it took me a day and a half to locate two intersections on the weekend cause he wanted to start digging "asap"...told me that straight to my face. I finished and he did about 2 hrs of survey work and never came back to that site

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    Default Re: Question about the nature of design tickets and how they are handled by the one call centers for excavation in each state across the country.

    Everyone, thank you for your replies. You are increasing my knowledge of the design ticket problem that we have suspected is exactly such. It seems that for most engineering and architect companies, if they want to design a project and don't want the mystery of what underground utilities are there in the area, the best bet for them would be to hire a subsurface utility engineering company.

    I find it interesting that some utility companies, at least in florida, will possibly charge a fee to the designers for any information regarding the location of underground utilities. If the designers are already willing to pay money for such information, we would just need to market ourselves appropriately.

    Right now we are trying to fill that gap. Subsurface utility engineering companies have been around for a while and are not new, but as far as we know, very few of them actually offer professionaly licensed survey map creation abilities through licensed land surveyors on staff. We are trying to increase awareness of the useful nature of this service to clients across the northest part of the country. Field marking utilities is one thing, but being able to harvest the geographical information from those markings and translate them into a digital survey map would be quite useful to designers. Before our existence, such a designer would have to hire 2 seperate companies to accomplish such a goal, which would cost him more and take longer to complete.

    But yes I have heard of the TBE group and there are a few firms across the country that do in fact offer land surveying and also underground utility locating, but we also offer Geographic Information Systems (GIS) abilities as well which is something that these few other firms might not offer.

    Very interesting to know that some of the one call system locator contract companies will not get paid for design tickets per thier contract. I'm sure this doesn't influence them to respond to the caller. I do think that most utility companies have an internal policy where they will not respond to any design request if it doesn't also have a valid one call system ticket. Legal responsibilities and such.

    HalfTracK that was a great quote that you posted from the laws of Virginia's Miss Utility. "Provide such information about the location of the utility lines to designers for informational purposes only. Operators will not be liable for any incorrect information provided or for the subsequent use of this information, nor will they be subject to civil penalties for the accuracy of the information or marks provided. Any concerns about the accuracy of information or marks should be directed to the appropriate operator" I am amazed that is actually on the books!

    mattm211 I hear you on how designers can try and lie to the locators or one call system and say they are actually digging when they are not, just to get the free marks from the one call system. I believe that penalties and fines are in place for callers who violate the one call system law like this, it's the same thing as calling in an emergency when it's actually not. That kind of nature of violation.

    I would like to hear more from anyone willing to share thier experiences about the design ticket nature in thier part of the country. Please feel free to share your stories.

    Thank you again.
    Last edited by AABUtilityLocating; February 27th, 2013 at 10:02 AM.

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