Whether you are looking to build your own home or supervising the construction of a new apartment block, you’ll be dealing with an array of complicated issues.
Simply finishing a project on time and within budget can be extremely difficult; the last thing you want or need is damaged utilities.
The cost of fixing damaged utilities and the time it can cost you can destroy an otherwise viable project. That’s why it is so important to be aware of where they are and how to avoid damaging them.
Actions Before You Start
It’s an excellent idea to do the following steps before you even get approval for your build; they could save you a lot of hassle.
You need to have a land survey completed. This will mark the edges of your land and prevent future disputes. It will also map the ground under your land and highlight if there are any utilities and exactly where they are. You can learn more here.
It is also important to check the regulations in the area you intend to build; you may not be allowed to build within a certain distance of a power line or sewage pipe.
You can also walk the terrain yourself; there should be markers to indicate where utility lines are; if they are missing, this is a bad sign! If the installation is relatively new, you may be able to see where the land has been disturbed.
Once you know where the utilities are and where you are allowed to build, you can finalize your plans and have them approved.
If it is possible, you can mark the path of all utilities with poles and netting; this will prevent anyone from digging where they shouldn’t be.
You should also ensure that all workmen know the plan and the location of utilities; this will reduce the risk. You could even create a contract to ensure they are liable for costs and time delays if they hit a utility that you have previously advised them about.
This will help them to take care when constructing.
It is also important to manually dig if you need to work near a utility line; this will help if the pipes are not exactly where you think they are. Digging by hand is slower but much less likely to result in damage to the utilities.
If You Do Damage A Utility
Should damage happen despite your precautions, then it is important to report it immediately. Do not be tempted to fix it yourself; this will cause more problems in the future.
Every utility provider has an emergency contact line for these types of incidents; make sure the number is too hand for you and all site managers.
It is also important to document all the facts, including exactly where the utility was, and it’s depth. A Photo can help if you need to prove that it was not where it should have been.