View Poll Results: How do you document locates?

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  • Sketch only

    4 9.52%
  • Sketch and pics

    9 21.43%
  • Pics only

    25 59.52%
  • Video

    3 7.14%
  • Other (enlighten us)

    1 2.38%
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Thread: How do you document your locates?

  1. #1
    Senior Member headcipher's Avatar
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    Default How do you document your locates?

    We use sketches only for locates. We take pics for damages, of course.

  2. #2
    Senior Member yahoo's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you document your locates?

    we use both.....and both are effective of course!!! sketch and pics can both be downloaded at the site in real time. it's really neat!
    wise men talk because they have something to say and fools because they have to say something....plato

  3. #3
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    Default Re: How do you document your locates?

    We use Video and always do a good narrative. Taking a good video saved my tail quite a few times.

  4. #4
    Mke
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    Default Re: How do you document your locates?

    uhhh..... Document locates?... Just kidding. When I was a Public locator, we used to sketch....which I always thought was a waste of time, because sketches were never to scale, and in turn would not hold up to much in court.

    Now we usually Survey in all our paint........ its a pain in the rear, but it makes for a more complete picture for the GIS boys. I understand that we are different though, but it still works.

    mke

  5. #5
    Moderator Goldenboy's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you document your locates?

    I've still never really understood the sketch when you have the pics. If something gets hit you just go back and look at your pictures. I could draw anything but it doesn't mean that it was ever actually marked. The pics should do everything the sketch does plus some.

    I'm guessing the utility companies that still require sketch are just carryover rules from before we took pictures. I can't see any advantage to doing a sketch at all. I'm a terrible artist so I'm very glad that we don't have to do sketches here.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: How do you document your locates?

    I know that AT&T are anal about manifest/sketches. We've been told that they have tried to have it removed from the contract but AT&T still insists on having the manifest. I agree pics should be all that is needed, a manifest/sketch can be drawn at any time...get a damage draw the manifest/sketch that is required. AT&T are idiots!!!!

  7. #7
    Junior Member Doc Brown's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you document your locates?

    I had to do sketches for some time. It was seemingly pointless. you had a standard 8x11 piece of paper with 3 spaces on it. You had to fill out the ticket number, date and time, and then sketch it. Being that every locate is different, some where nice and detailed (such as a front yard or back yard tickets.) Then, when you had to mark up for a 3 mile road reconstruction job, you had to draw what you could.
    On top of that, the north arrow was already drawn in, but the drawing box was shaped much like this text box with the width being twice the height. I had to cross that out and draw my own arrow all the time. It would look as though I drew it wrong.
    I can only imagine how that would go in court ..."your honor, my client has provided a sketch..."

    Any way, photos are the way to go, especially with digital, and uploading per ticket, you can take so many detailed photos on a locate, and have them attatched rite to the ticket. My sup has already had the pleasure of using my detailed photos to save us any headache on a damage. If an area is really congested, or I do feel the need, I have, on occasion, still drawn a sketch to make things easier, and I will take a photo of that as well.

  8. #8
    Senior Member TBONE's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you document your locates?

    i dont see how a sketch that i can draw at anytime is worth anything but they want us to do it

  9. #9
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    Default Re: How do you document your locates?

    The only sketch I draw is congested areas before I locate of what goes where so I can reference my sketch instead of having to run back to the computer to recheck my records. Sometimes I'll save the sketch if I feel I'll be back there soon, otherwise I chuck them out. Thats the only positive effect of a sketch that I see.

  10. #10
    Senior Member ProfessionalLocator's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you document your locates?

    I can foresee a potential legal problem or relying only on photos and perhaps someone here has run into such a problem and can comment.

    First lets talk about the elements of the sketch, along with some noted faults, becasue this can mean different things to different firms.

    All the sketches I have done included measurements off a curb or other landmark and usually in ink.

    As pointed out sketches can be done anytime. I know one firm that did not enforce it's locators to actually make the sketch their procedures required. Once a damage occurred the locator thar made the marks went to the site and made a sketch. This afforded the opportunity to make the sketch and measurements to match the damage. I am not saying this actually occurred but that this fault in procedure existed.


    I worked at one office that did not have a Document Out system. This is where when any document is removed from the files a form is put in it's place. The form notes the date and time the document was removed and by who so if the document turned up missing it was known where to look. At this office we routinely had to go to damage sites and make new sketches becasue they could no longer find the original document. It was so bad that we often had to repeat this process several times for the same damage. My record was four new drawings and I know one locator after doing five new drawings told his foremean to go and make his own new drawings.

    It was common for locators with scanners for their home computers to scan their drawings and others stopped at copy centers and made copies.

    So drawing have a lot of weak points but they are supposed to be a direct testimony of the person who performed the work complete with measurements.

    The photo system I later used was easy, no drawings at all. Made the jobs go faster with higher productivity.

    The problem with photo docmentation is your drawing will cover the entire site and the photos may not. We cannot know exactly where a damage will occur so very detailed photos of that part of the site may not have been made. If it is a question of the dig company disputing the marks were correct and there are no good photos of the damage with the excavation still open there is an apparent problem. The photos show that marks were made but do not denote the distance off of landmarks. So the utility was marked correctly 20 feet off the curb but the contractor says the utility was hit twenty two feet six inches off the curb and the marks were wrong.

    Determining the exact location of the marks, down to the tolerance needed for dig laws in the area, using photos only seems to require some kind of forensic software.

    I have while working oncall documented damages when I responded to their emergency locate call. During the day no problem but I did not have camera equipment good enough for nighttime photos. Some of these photos were poor and could readily be challenged in court.

    We all know that not all contractors are not willing to pay for damages that are their fault. There are some that will lie or destroy marks. There are ones that will destroy marks and put down their own paint. There are ones that will even pull up sod with paint marks and move them to new locations. I had one that dug a trench removing all the marks over the mains and then carried all the dirt six feet to pile up in the street to cover the offset marks I had also made.

    In addition to damages there are contractors that have let their marks expire and do not want to wait but want an immediate marking. They call your office and claim that you had never come to the site and made any marks. So they get your office to interrupt your work and go there and do the marks. Never have I seen foremen or other supervisors dispatched and after awhile your bosses get the idea that you are not doing your job.

    In construction sites grading is a constant process and along with other work often destroys marks. Again the contractor calls in claiming you never made any marks.

    The two above problems are eliminated when you can tell your supervisor to check your photos as they show you made the marks.

    Photos are a great way to CYA with contractors that operate like this.

    Photos and drawings are needed but I think they are most powerful when used together. Either used alone has natural vulnerabilities. As a locator just snapping photos makes my life easier, if I were the boss I would want both. Still as boss I would have to consider the cost in man hours of making the additional drawings for every locator and every job versus the potential cost of liability.

    I do not see one solid answer that will apply to all firms. Judgment call.

  11. #11
    Senior Member yahoo's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you document your locates?

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

  12. #12
    Moderator Goldenboy's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you document your locates?

    Quote Originally Posted by fockerson View Post
    The only sketch I draw is congested areas before I locate of what goes where so I can reference my sketch instead of having to run back to the computer to recheck my records. Sometimes I'll save the sketch if I feel I'll be back there soon, otherwise I chuck them out. Thats the only positive effect of a sketch that I see.

    I do this on congested locates also. I only wish I would save them. Normally I just draw them on scrap paper and a week later I'm in the same nasty area and all marks are gone and I get to draw a new sketch before I start locating.

  13. #13
    Senior Member sprayandpray's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you document your locates?

    My ATT prints permit me to draw facilities on them and I do this especially where the facilities do not appear. I also have gas and electric prints that permit the same thing. I usually take pictures of all my print pages now. Glolden, get you a cheap notebook and that way you can keep your sketches for future reference.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member yahoo's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you document your locates?

    drawing on the actual att plat.....now that is a bright idea!!!!
    wise men talk because they have something to say and fools because they have to say something....plato

  15. #15
    TMO
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    Default Re: How do you document your locates?

    sketches and photos , and notes ,notes, notes!

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