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Underground services = fencers nightmare!


Matt on the Moors
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Ok, just been on a small sawn post and 4 rail job, approx 100 meters all augered in with digger, when pricing I asked about utilities as they were building houses nearby so would assume they'd know where the services were, first stretch I went through a blue water pipe- not a big deal but still wasted half a day faffing around- I then asked to get utilities maps of the house builders. I also CAT scanned the area and luckily picked up an electric right where I had marked to bore a hole- so that was lucky. Anyway went on to hit another blue water pipe at 4.30pm on a Friday at the bottom of the field which wasn't shown on the maps- again no biggie but another half day lost with all the hassle. Customer brought all the fittings and helped with the repairs. I'm not going to charge them on this occasion for all the downtime, but would like to try and prevent this kind of loss again- I took all precautions I could. What does everyone else do, any clause in Terms and conditions about this kind of thing? Fortunately it was only downtime this time but last year I hit a gas pipe- £800 repair plus our downtime on a 2 day job!! Insurance wouldn't pay as I hadn't scanned (not that it would have picked it up anyway)

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BT charged £60 just to send us a map of the area with their services on for a job I did back at xmas, one thing I have learnt is that they all will try and wriggle out of it by saying their maps aren't accurate anyway. Can't win really other than making the customer responsible at quote stage. But then are they expected to cover your downtime too? It's a tricky one and a fact of life in this game. Iv has a bad run with it lately. Augers are the worst as at least a driven post can push past an armoured cable if your lucky!

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We are fortunate that our laws require utility companies to locate underground services.  We have to give 48 hours notice, and stay 2 feet off the marks.  I still hit lots of water lines and low pressure gas that were buried without a locate tape.   I've only hit a couple of phone lines over the years, and luckily none were fiber optic.  A 6 inch fire protection water main is my record......Luckily the man that burried it was standing there telling me I was good to go.  That was a lot of water!

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Feel for you, have on every quote for last few years:

 

"Underground services must be drawn to our attention, in writing, otherwise we cannot be held responsible for any damage caused.

 

Acceptance of quotation will be taken as acceptance of these terms."

 

Be upfront and get the communication clear, not had a problem since.

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That's worded well PDR, might steal something along those lines if that's ok!

 

Obviously your customers must be accepting of these terms otherwise you'd be out of business.

 

Something has to be done, I can look at all the maps I like and scan the area but as has been the case it does not provide 100% protection against hiting them- and seems a bit unfair that us as the contractor has to take the hit- it's not our fault the field could be crisscrossed with unknown services.

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Im currently working on the trans pennine line for network rail and i was told at the induction that if a underground wire is hit on this job it will cot 400 thousand a minute!!!! My **** is twiching everytime i knock a post in ????

Hell- that sounds awfull. Have they provided any idea where they might be? I can't help thinking I'd probably turn down a job like that if I was told that! Your a braver man than I

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Im currently working on the trans pennine line for network rail and i was told at the induction that if a underground wire is hit on this job it will cot 400 thousand a minute!!!! My **** is twiching everytime i knock a post in

 

At least your *** is twitching in style!  Speaking of style, how do you like you're new baby.....and the new kid?

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Hell- that sounds awfull. Have they provided any idea where they might be? I can't help thinking I'd probably turn down a job like that if I was told that! Your a braver man than I

 

I don't think the cost would be past of to me (at least i hope) its all cat scanned first and i cat every hole before i knock just to be sure!

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It is worth checking out the spec for underground services, there are differing specs I had an incident with an electric cable years ago. And thgerthger arrogant bumptious little sod from SSE was going to have a 5 figure bill for me until I made it clear ii knew thgthge spec and said cable wasn't properly buried.

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That's worded well PDR, might steal something along those lines if that's ok!

 

Obviously your customers must be accepting of these terms otherwise you'd be out of business.

 

Something has to be done, I can look at all the maps I like and scan the area but as has been the case it does not provide 100% protection against hiting them- and seems a bit unfair that us as the contractor has to take the hit- it's not our fault the field could be crisscrossed with unknown services.

No problem Matt, that's why I listed it for you and others to use, hope it works well for you.

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