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Thread: Project Reporting Tool

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    Default Project Reporting Tool

    Currently CGI is researching the feasibility of implementing a statewide “Project Reporting Tool”.

    First, I would like to give a quick summary of what this is and what we hope to gain. One of the setbacks we continue to see in our industry are the amount large projects, fiber optic overbuilds for example. I am confident in saying that the utility locators never know of many of these projects until 48 hours before the dirt starts flying and contractors may then show up with as many of 10 crews to have to struggle to keep up with. This can cause significant complications in staffing for states like Iowa who are set in a more rural setting. Many of these overbuilds are for hundreds of miles and can require full time locators to handle such projects. In the locating industry companies cannot just hire someone and put them to work, they need months to get someone trained and comfortable enough to be on their own locating productively and safely. This combined with the fact that in these rural settings there may only be one locator covering up to 3 or 4 counties.

    The “Project Reporting Tool” that we are looking into developing is simply a statewide database that utility companies or municipalities may enter their upcoming projects for others in the industry to see. The data base may include information such as work type, projected start date, length of project, duration, and location. We feel that this would be beneficial in many aspects.

    First of all, if the locating companies had an opportunity to staff properly the prospect of providing full time locators to these projects becomes much more realistic. This would in return allow for one point of contact for the contractor instead of guessing which of the five locators they see on any given day they need to contact with questions. Currently locators with the lightest work loads are sent to work on these on a day to day basis. This would also prevent these said locators from guessing where the last locator left off and where the next needs to begin.

    This tool we are researching seems to be an economically feasible, fairly low maintenance solution to this above problem and definately moves damage prevention efforts in the right direction.

    We thought you CableViners may provide some insight as to whether or not there are any other states or regions who may already have implemented such a tool. We are looking for advice or criticism as we continue to research and develop this idea.

    Thanks in advance,
    CGI

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    Default Re: Project Reporting Tool

    Good luck with that.
    Utility contractors and their subs don't want details about their projects made public at all for many reasons............neighborhood resistence, theft, competition and national security are just some of the reasons. Since most utilities are privately owned, they are not subject to the same disclosure as publicly bid projects.

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    Default Re: Project Reporting Tool

    You can usually see these projects coming over the horizon with those survey tickets that drive us all mad. If you have the time to spare, those tickets can give you a chance to find the access points that work. You can also get contact numbers to learn who and what you"ll be dealing with. You can always bill it out as a long footage ticket to show where your time went. Then again, just because there's a survey called for doesn't mean that project is ever actually gonna start. That could just as easilly happen with a project reporting mechanism in place. It'd be nice to have advance notice but most locate companies wouldn't pay any attention to it until the very last minute anyways. Never do today what can be put off until tomorrow. That's the locator creed.

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    Default Re: Project Reporting Tool

    In the area I work in we have a good relationship with the Utility Owners and most of the time they will let us know about up coming projects, that's when Supervisors and Management should have a good relationships with the Utility Companies in the area. To me its not a bad idea but getting the Utility Companies to actually do more than they are supposed to do is harder than it looks. In my area Sewer jobs are put up for bid and is post to the public. Most of the time hear say from techs and others when projects are about to happen. Word of mouth is where we get our info.

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    Default Re: Project Reporting Tool

    Quote Originally Posted by daman1 View Post
    You can usually see these projects coming over the horizon with those survey tickets that drive us all mad. If you have the time to spare, those tickets can give you a chance to find the access points that work. You can also get contact numbers to learn who and what you"ll be dealing with. You can always bill it out as a long footage ticket to show where your time went. Then again, just because there's a survey called for doesn't mean that project is ever actually gonna start. That could just as easilly happen with a project reporting mechanism in place. It'd be nice to have advance notice but most locate companies wouldn't pay any attention to it until the very last minute anyways. Never do today what can be put off until tomorrow. That's the locator creed.
    how many years have you've been locating....for the years i have seen most surveys are for water or sewer

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    Default Re: Project Reporting Tool

    I remember a buddy of mine relating to us about how the Vz FIOS project started ofin the DFW area about 5 years ago. He received a ticket calling for a meet with no marking instructions. He shows at the meet and the contractor hands out prints to everyone : Print 1 = 7,000 ft; Print 2 =Sub-division with 14,000 ft of marking; Print 3 = another Sub-division with 21,000 ft of marking.

    All together he received about 7 different projects totaling approximately 50,000 ft of locating that day. Then the contractor gave him the good news. The following Monday( about 5 days away) 8 to 10 separate boring crews would start on all locations.

    Well, needless to say , my Buddy got on the phone real fast to his Supervisor who's reply was "We haven't heard anything about this" but would arrange for 'help". It took him 3 weeks and many conversations to convince the 'higher-ups' to get involved and arrange for help.

    So, if something could happen to require prior notice, it would be extremely appreciated.
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    Default Re: Project Reporting Tool

    Quote Originally Posted by sundropmaster View Post
    how many years have you've been locating....for the years i have seen most surveys are for water or sewer
    Picked up my first locate stick in '95 as a phone plow jockey on the west coast. Started locating full time in '97 with CLS back east. They gave me the best training a locator could hope for. Six weeks in a real classroom setting studying the theory behind locating. That's unheard of anymore. I didn't realize how lucky I was until the next company to come along gave us 2 weeks in the back warehouse. Those poor newbies I was with didn't have a clue.
    You're right, most surveys are for water/sewer but there are also a ton of state road projects, phone, utility companies, construction companies, hell, even lanscapers hire survey crews. I didn't mean to sound like I was pooping on your idea. If the company you're with actually learned what was coming and took action, it'd be a great tool. Most Sup's and DM's barely have time to deal with the issues of the day, let alone something 3 weeks down the road.

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    Default Re: Project Reporting Tool

    Quote Originally Posted by daman1 View Post
    Picked up my first locate stick in '95 as a phone plow jockey on the west coast. Started locating full time in '97 with CLS back east. They gave me the best training a locator could hope for. Six weeks in a real classroom setting studying the theory behind locating. That's unheard of anymore. I didn't realize how lucky I was until the next company to come along gave us 2 weeks in the back warehouse. Those poor newbies I was with didn't have a clue.
    You're right, most surveys are for water/sewer but there are also a ton of state road projects, phone, utility companies, construction companies, hell, even lanscapers hire survey crews. I didn't mean to sound like I was pooping on your idea. If the company you're with actually learned what was coming and took action, it'd be a great tool. Most Sup's and DM's barely have time to deal with the issues of the day, let alone something 3 weeks down the road.
    ClS did give good Training depends on the trainer, but if a newbie never knew anything about utilities they was screwed, where I'm at supervisors deal with the supervisors with the utility companies and are informed about project, i guess its called a courtesy call lol

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