Locates At The Design Stage Prove Valuable

By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | April 2009 Vol. 64 No. 4
Best to locate facilities before reaching this stage

J.D. Maniscalco can view the issue of whether to locate or not locate during planning from three perspectives: he is executive director of the Utility Notification Center of Colorado, a board member of the Common Ground Alliance (CGA) representing one call centers, and past chairman of One Call Systems International (OCSI) and currently is chairman of the OCSI data collection committee.

The Common Ground Alliance (CGA) is the private, nonprofit organization that has taken the lead in developing and implementing industry Best Practices to help protect underground utilities for those who live and work by them, said Maniscalco.

Best practice

He cites the CGA Best Practice statement covering identification of existing facilities in the planning and design phase which recommends:

"During the planning phase of the project, existing facilities are shown on preliminary design plans. The planning documents include possible routes for the project together with known underground facility information. The various facilities are then given the opportunity to provide appropriate feedback.

“During the design phase of the project, underground facility information from the planning phase is shown on the plans. If information was gathered from field located facilities, from underground facility surveys or from subsurface utility engineering, this is noted on the plans. The designer and the contractor both know the quality of the information included on the plans. If an elevation was determined during the information gathering, it is shown on the plan. The facilities shown include active, abandoned, out of service, and proposed facilities. The design plans include a summary drawing showing the proposed facility route or excavation including streets and a locally accepted coordinate system. The plans are then distributed to the various facility owners/ operators to provide the opportunity to furnish additional information, clarify information, or identify conflicts."

Following this practice, said Maniscalco, provides complete underground facility information and including this data on design drawings reduces the hazards, simplifies coordination and minimizes the cost to produce the final project.