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Thread: White lining (delineation) enforcement in Florida

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    Default White lining (delineation) enforcement in Florida

    I've located in almost every state in the union and in my opinion California or USA tickets were easy to deal with. The state enforces the white lining requirements very well especially PGE.
    Here in Florida we locators have been abused for many years by contractors calling in tickets (over 90 percent not white-lined at all!
    I get over a hundred tickets a day and I have to manage them before they go past due.
    To save or buy time, I tried responding to the tickets by putting them on 3N (white lining required) and the contractor gets angry and calls my boss which in turn calls me and tells me not to put his hundreds of tickets on "3N-please white line".
    They make us mark it.
    Now I'm fine and dandy with that because I get a lot of overtime. But it's getting out of control where the contractor has the power to control the locator and not do his job of delineating the excavation and bore areas.
    We waste a lot of paint, supplies, manpower and gasoline over locating unnecessary stuff. We light up the neighborhood with thousands of flags and paint which looks ugly and horrible in our beautiful Florida subdivisions (at least my subdivision is) and most of the time they don't even do the jobs (excavations) within a month let alone follow the schedule they said on the ticket. 99 percent of the time the excavators give false begin dates and false depths of 20 ft for a fence ect, ect.
    I'm sick and tired of this.
    Maybe we can contact NULCA or someone with power in Florida to stop this abuse. It is a written law but not enforced.
    Now it has gotten to the point where we have to call ATT contractors or other copy cat lazy excavators that don't white line and ask for prints so we know the excavation paths.
    I'm looking at an 88 page pdf email trying to figure out their prints and proposed excavation routes so I can locate their tickets. I don't wanna start mentioning company names that get pissed for closing out their tickets due to lack of white lining. Trust me, it's getting out of control and more lazy excavating contractors are following in the others footsteps. If we have to mark both sides of the streets for a thousand feet including all crossings and services laterals ect... Then I feel they should come out here and white line their stuff. But nobody enforces this and we locators get in trouble if the stupid excavator calls the office upset because they can't dig because I closed the ticket as "white line required" the nerve!
    I'd like to hear some suggestions and please point me in the right direction of whom to call for this fiasco. It's abuse of the 811 sunshine system in my opinion. Talking to my boss is a waste of time. He's just gonna say "call the contractor, ask for the prints and do the tickets". And "your lucky they're calling in hundreds of tickets and not doing the jobs because it's giving me a job"

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    Default Re: White lining (delineation) enforcement in Florida

    I forgot to mention that now excavators and contractors are saying in the tickets "all utilities please locate, job plans available upon request, call 555-5555"
    Forget that nonsense!
    USIC makes their locators mark everything too! We were allowed to kick tickets back for no delineation aka white lines... But someone powerful complained because they need permits and now we can no longer use the 3N code... Then what's the point of having it on the response options list??? I'm doing the work of the excavator by asking him to email me prints and then I have to sit there and figure out his project and proposed excavations. Seriously!

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    Default Re: White lining (delineation) enforcement in Florida

    Quick and easy first try is the city as you say they need permits. Try the city locators or city council they have considerable power due to the permitting.

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    Mke
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    Default Re: White lining (delineation) enforcement in Florida

    Here's my theory on this...

    I actually think that the locators should be given more time to respond accordingly. If you have to call or stop by a job trailer to pick up prints for the work to take place, that should be added time to the 48 hr notice. I would rather meet with the excavator ahead of time to figure out what the intent is, and then mark accordingly. This prevents too much over marking and it helps you understand what plant is being placed and where it is going to be.

    White lining is fine, but I live in a state where it rains 90% of the time (over exaggerating for dramatic purposes) and paint may or may not of been placed by the time we have received the locate request. This is just the way it is here. Even when the contractor paints the area in white, there is still a good chance of them over painting the area by a lot.

    Had a contractor installing an Oil/ Water separator on a property. They called in the entire property and their white paint consisted of direction arrows at the corners of the property which included the utility easement out front. What they were actually doing was a small 4x6 separator vault in the back of the building no where near any publicly owned utilities. All the public guys still marked the easement out front. However, it was easier for them just to show up and spray paint, then to track down the excavator and figure out what he is actually doing.

    Here is the rub. Let's say a locator for an urban area is holding 40 tickets. Let's assume that he can get the contractor on the first phone call. Each call will last around 5 minutes (includes dialing the number, waiting for the ring and a brief conversation and exchange of E-mail addresses). That is over 3 hours of phone calls. This doesn't include any contractors who you have to track down because they gave you an office phone even though they are never in the office. Now you have 5 hours to do 40 tickets. That's 8 tickets per hour. if you do overtime you may be able to lower that down to 5 an hour?

    What I'm highlighting here is it's not just the excvators that need to figure things out. If the locating companies along with the contractors took advantage of technology and the resources that are already existing, we could easily process these requests faster with less delays and with more input then we have now.

    Up here in Oregon, the One-call center has an online ticket management system that allows contractors to submit their own locates without calling an operator to mess the request up. This online system allows the attachement of files pertaining to the work itself along with a highlighted google map of the area. Most contractors still don't use it, but it's new enough they are slowly learning. However, this added information isn't compatible with the dispatch programs the public locators use. So all this added information goes un-viewed by the guys in the field.

    I don't think white lining is the definitive answer when it comes to locating. I would rather know what is taking place so I can figure out on my own what needs to be marked. I also know that their are locators out there that shouldn't be left alone to determine this, hence the need for a certification process to weed the paint sprayers from the locators.

    mke

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    Default Re: White lining (delineation) enforcement in Florida

    Quote Originally Posted by Mke View Post
    Here's my theory on this...

    I actually think that the locators should be given more time to respond accordingly. If you have to call or stop by a job trailer to pick up prints for the work to take place, that should be added time to the 48 hr notice. I would rather meet with the excavator ahead of time to figure out what the intent is, and then mark accordingly. This prevents too much over marking and it helps you understand what plant is being placed and where it is going to be.

    White lining is fine, but I live in a state where it rains 90% of the time (over exaggerating for dramatic purposes) and paint may or may not of been placed by the time we have received the locate request. This is just the way it is here. Even when the contractor paints the area in white, there is still a good chance of them over painting the area by a lot.

    Had a contractor installing an Oil/ Water separator on a property. They called in the entire property and their white paint consisted of direction arrows at the corners of the property which included the utility easement out front. What they were actually doing was a small 4x6 separator vault in the back of the building no where near any publicly owned utilities. All the public guys still marked the easement out front. However, it was easier for them just to show up and spray paint, then to track down the excavator and figure out what he is actually doing.

    Here is the rub. Let's say a locator for an urban area is holding 40 tickets. Let's assume that he can get the contractor on the first phone call. Each call will last around 5 minutes (includes dialing the number, waiting for the ring and a brief conversation and exchange of E-mail addresses). That is over 3 hours of phone calls. This doesn't include any contractors who you have to track down because they gave you an office phone even though they are never in the office. Now you have 5 hours to do 40 tickets. That's 8 tickets per hour. if you do overtime you may be able to lower that down to 5 an hour?

    What I'm highlighting here is it's not just the excvators that need to figure things out. If the locating companies along with the contractors took advantage of technology and the resources that are already existing, we could easily process these requests faster with less delays and with more input then we have now.

    Up here in Oregon, the One-call center has an online ticket management system that allows contractors to submit their own locates without calling an operator to mess the request up. This online system allows the attachement of files pertaining to the work itself along with a highlighted google map of the area. Most contractors still don't use it, but it's new enough they are slowly learning. However, this added information isn't compatible with the dispatch programs the public locators use. So all this added information goes un-viewed by the guys in the field.

    I don't think white lining is the definitive answer when it comes to locating. I would rather know what is taking place so I can figure out on my own what needs to be marked. I also know that their are locators out there that shouldn't be left alone to determine this, hence the need for a certification process to weed the paint sprayers from the locators.

    mke

    we have the technology but not exercised. btw, It rains a lot here too and we still have to mark the tickets. So what difference does it make if it's raining they should white-line the dig area at the front of the address like California excavators do. If its raining then plant a white flag with a message in sharpie marker.
    There is no excuse for not white lining.
    My area generates over a hundred tickets daily and 90 percent of them are not white lined (delineated). They all want you to call them for prints.
    I don't got time for that B.S. this ain't Kansas or IDAHO there's a ton of construction activities going on everyday in the sunshine state. So these excavators need to get their behinds out there and show with white paint what's going on!
    you see, they shifted the responsibility of white lining to us.
    Basically it works like this:

    I'm a conduit drilling company, to cover my ass I call in whole subdivisions and put exagerated depths and claim to be using machines when they are hand trenching things sometimes. I also GIVE FALSE START DATES IN THE TICKETS I CALL IN ...put in the ticket notes "TO ALL LOCATORS, PRINTS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST" F- THAT SHEET!
    You see what i'm saying?
    I feel like I'm doing their job sitting in my truck looking at job prints because they don't want to get their butts out here and white line all this stuff. or call in tickets, so they make one ticket cover all activity.

    It's hard to explain. But this is difficult to call all these people one by one and half the time they never answer, and the ticket loads here are huge. I don't have the time to ask for prints and locate everything on a daily basis. If I put the ticket on 3N "white line required" these excavators get angry because you're holding them up, and they call your boss complaining. The boss doesn't have a backbone so we get a phone-call and the ticket gets re-opened.

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    Default Re: White lining (delineation) enforcement in Florida

    What would be nice is if locate requests that were submitted on-line include a Google Earth type mapping tool where the proposed route could be digitally white lined by the caller. The locator could just click on the tab to access the proposed route. Require the contractor use it before the request can be generated. Now he will have to resubmit any deviations. I'm sure bad apples would find a short-cut but at least there'd be a documented visual record to have in litigation and a lot of wasted time could be saved.

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    Mke
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    Default Re: White lining (delineation) enforcement in Florida

    Quote Originally Posted by markit View Post
    we have the technology but not exercised. btw, It rains a lot here too and we still have to mark the tickets. So what difference does it make if it's raining they should white-line the dig area at the front of the address like California excavators do. If its raining then plant a white flag with a message in sharpie marker.
    There is no excuse for not white lining.
    My area generates over a hundred tickets daily and 90 percent of them are not white lined (delineated). They all want you to call them for prints.
    I don't got time for that B.S. this ain't Kansas or IDAHO there's a ton of construction activities going on everyday in the sunshine state. So these excavators need to get their behinds out there and show with white paint what's going on!
    you see, they shifted the responsibility of white lining to us.
    Basically it works like this:

    I'm a conduit drilling company, to cover my ass I call in whole subdivisions and put exagerated depths and claim to be using machines when they are hand trenching things sometimes. I also GIVE FALSE START DATES IN THE TICKETS I CALL IN ...put in the ticket notes "TO ALL LOCATORS, PRINTS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST" F- THAT SHEET!
    You see what i'm saying?
    I feel like I'm doing their job sitting in my truck looking at job prints because they don't want to get their butts out here and white line all this stuff. or call in tickets, so they make one ticket cover all activity.

    It's hard to explain. But this is difficult to call all these people one by one and half the time they never answer, and the ticket loads here are huge. I don't have the time to ask for prints and locate everything on a daily basis. If I put the ticket on 3N "white line required" these excavators get angry because you're holding them up, and they call your boss complaining. The boss doesn't have a backbone so we get a phone-call and the ticket gets re-opened.
    Hey Markit, I wasn't trying to lump FL into the same boat as Southern California or Arizona. I was just highlighting the fact that weather will hamper the application of our paint just as much as the contractors. I'm not trying to get into a pissing contest of who has marked it deeper puddles...

    If you are ok with contractors marking anything just to get white marks, I think you are missing the point. Even for us slower locators who can't perform 12 tickets an hour, understanding what the contractor is doing is more important then what they paint in white or what they call in. Boring crews are the worst, but they typically follow their own patterns. These companies tend to fly by the seat of their pants when it comes to "'engineered drawings". I'm working with Level 3 right now, and they brought their "working prints" to a preconstruction meeting. These prints showed no underlying utilities, except one. That one utility they showed was labeled incorrectly. Their potholers will be surprised when they dig down thinking that they will find a 24" water line and they find (2) 4" conduits.

    This is where an extended dig time comes in, coupled with office personnel who can ferret out some of these details. Right now in Oregon. A ticket can be called in @ 9:00am on a monday and be due @ 9:00am on wednesday. That is the 48 hour notice. What contractors and most people besides locators don't know is that some people who don't get automatic dispatched tickets won't even get that request till they get back to the office that monday afternoon. That means they technically only have 1 day to mark that ticket. Good contractors who have been around understand this and don't schedule any excavating till a day or so after the ticket is do so they have time to verify that all the locators have responded and/or make sure that the ones who haven't responded come out to spray paint.

    We should have a system for 72hrs for locates. With this extended time, the locate company should employ a seasoned locator to Manage tickets. This locator will fill his day performing the leg work for the field techs. Calling to verify when the crew is scheduled to be onsite, the exact work taking place, and track down a formans phone number if needed. Since this seasoned locator is managing the tickets, he will know if locators are near these new locations and can have techs do drive by's on the few tickets that couldn't be figured out over the phone have white paint or not. This would be a pretty crappy job, but for some of the seasoned locators who are tired of pulling lids and dodging traffic.... it may be a welcomed break. Or for that matter, maybe make it a rotating 4 week assignment so all the locators can learn how to read prints and figure out how to decipher locate instructions?

    As for the ticket loads.... This all comes down to the way your company manages the locate force. It sucks, but we've all been there....maybe not 100 tickets a day, but enough work to say it's all bullshit.

    Daman, Up here if you use Itic, they use google maps to draw boxes around for the locate requests. They have the ability to attach files to the ticket as well. maybe when i get back to work, i'll include a screen shot for example.

    mke

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    Default Re: White lining (delineation) enforcement in Florida

    I've located for PGE in Seattle Washington a few years ago for CLS Locating. Did you know that they made us use these white flags/water proof pouches so when it's raining hard (not drizzling) the locate techs could draw a sketch of the utilities in their trucks with offsets and all sorts of tie ins with footage. Then we had plant it on or next to the excavators delineations.

    I understand this won't change over night but it's mostly venting and now I'm understanding this problem is widespread in Florida. Just today I had 12 Power installation tickets to new homes. The depths were 25 feet! I can't make this up! I was tempted to screenshot my tickets and upload them here so you can see the B.S. information on these tickets we deal with. But I don't want to get in-trouble with my job over confidentiality and social media company policies. Trust me these contractors call in ridiculous requests. I'm flabbergasted that the sunshine one-call center people just listen and type all this nonsense up for them. I wonder why any of these ladies ( mostly ladies) don't ask questions. They should have experienced locators taking the calls for locate requests

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    Default Re: White lining (delineation) enforcement in Florida

    markit, I feel for you. I work in FL and experience a lot of what you are complaining about. I'm lucky enough to work directly for a municipality and locate "in-house" which
    affords me a little more time and authority to deal with contractors who chronically abuse Sunshine 811. I'm not sure if you are a contract locator (sounds like you are)... unfortunately you are at the mercy of your supervisor and your particular company's policy.

    I will call/make contact with the offending excavator and either request a sketch or prints of the "Actual" work they are doing and where. If they are uncooperative with me, I tell them straight up they will see no marks from me and I will just instead send them prints of our facility in the proposed area and leave the ball in their court.

    I do know personally a lot of the folks at Sunshine and they do a great job. That being said, the bulk of offending requests that you see with outrageouse descriptions are entered from the website, not requested over the phone. So they get away with that...

    Any other information I can offer to you, just pm me?

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    Mke
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    Default Re: White lining (delineation) enforcement in Florida

    We are not that lucky here. Most of the opperators that answer the local 811 calls are in a call center in the south somewhere. The only knowledge they have of the area is that of which google enlightens them on. They don't understand that 7000 NE Airport Way isn't just a small business, it is an airport on roughly 2000 acres. So marking the, "entire property" isn't an option.

    My initial reservations on weather white lining is effective or not is strictly from watching contractors over paint in white because it's easier. Having white paint up at the curb is great for the locator due to the positive affirmation that you have the correct spot. But if those white brackets are highlighting an entire 14 acre parcel where they are only doing 5 soil borings near the building... it doesn't quite help. It makes you mark the ROW instead of the 30' radius of the borings locations like what is typically needed.

    I guess I'm tired of the adversarial relationship contractors and locators have. I'm like Big-E and am "in-house". Contractors tend to work a little bit better with us then most locators. It's solely based on the fact that we have the authority to shut them down if we wanted to. Typically, they are either doing work for us or on our property. Either way, they have to follow our requirements. If those requirements are not being met... we shut them down.

    We work with the contractors that work with us to understand how to manage ticket requests and how to use the existing one-call system to their benefit. We have successfully got 2-3 different contractors who follow the recommended process even away from our facilities. They have had pretty good results in receiving their marks on-time and accurately. This process includes being available to meet the locator on-site on their time frame. The actual work area painted in white (no over-call). And they coordinate to have the marks down 2 days ahead of their excavation so they have time to coordinate the companies who tend to push dig times.

    They have found that not only have they had no down time due to waiting for locates, but they have had locators showing up before the dig times just because they have been pro-active in making it easier for the locators. It really isn't rocket science, but a lot of contractors don't know and don't care what the locators have to deal with.

    As for the Maps in the rain... At the time it was Qwest... They required us to do those maps on all jobs, not just when it was raining. When it was raining, we had to put the map in a ziplock.... (here is the good part) ... and then put the flag through it. Don't ask me why we had to make sure we put it in a water tight back just to poke a hole through it.

    Either way, I feel your pain.

    mke

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    Default Re: White lining (delineation) enforcement in Florida

    Quote Originally Posted by The Big-E View Post
    markit, I feel for you. I work in FL and experience a lot of what you are complaining about. I'm lucky enough to work directly for a municipality and locate "in-house" which
    affords me a little more time and authority to deal with contractors who chronically abuse Sunshine 811. I'm not sure if you are a contract locator (sounds like you are)... unfortunately you are at the mercy of your supervisor and your particular company's policy.

    I will call/make contact with the offending excavator and either request a sketch or prints of the "Actual" work they are doing and where. If they are uncooperative with me, I tell them straight up they will see no marks from me and I will just instead send them prints of our facility in the proposed area and leave the ball in their court.

    I do know personally a lot of the folks at Sunshine and they do a great job. That being said, the bulk of offending requests that you see with outrageouse descriptions are entered from the website, not requested over the phone. So they get away with that...

    Any other information I can offer to you, just pm me?
    You and mke hit the nail on the head! You guys locate for government and they tend to back up their locators if an excavator calls in to complain that their tickets weren't marked. The private/contract locate companies fold and pass the buck to me. There's no one at the office to back me up. They get paid for each locate so they just make us mark it end of story. Don't wanna hear, just stop putting his tickets on 3N "please white line and call the utility"

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    Default Re: White lining (delineation) enforcement in Florida

    if anyone cares here's my answer to all that nonsense .........20 tickets a day done right !
    The Big-E likes this.
    wise men talk because they have something to say and fools because they have to say something....plato

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