Locates and Calling Before You Dig


Locates are one of most important pre-planning safety measures you can take. They are in true definition ‘locates’ that any contractor or homeowner working on a project requires prior to excavation. Here is why… 

What is a locate?

Locates provide paper and on the ground “painted” proof of where utilities i.e.: gas, electrical, telephone, and water services located on the property are.  

Why are they important? 

Locates are ground markings that contractors or homeowners use when excavating the ground. They are used in order to keep everyone on the job safe. Knowing and avoiding dangerous services laying beneath the ground is everyone’s responsibility and damaging these can lead to serious injury or death. 

How to request a locate 

Requesting a locate is fast, free and easy. Simply go to www.on1call.com and follow the 1,2,3,4 steps.  

  1. There is some basic homeowner information asking for email, address, phone number etc. This way the paperwork and any pertinent information can be relayed.
  2. Providing dig location information will allow the utility companies to know where you are working.
  3. Select an area on the map. This will provide the locator and Ontario One Call with the area that requires excavation so the locate can be done properly.
  4. Providing dig information will allow some insight on your intentions regarding size and depth and any special precautions that may be required. 

Receiving your locate 

Locates are not received back upon requestUtility and marking companies can take up to 5 business days to process them and provide you the information. Sometimes the requested information may take longer, remember to plan ahead and do not dig without locates. To ensure you are safe and in the clear, nothing worse than taking out your own cable line when digging.  

Once the online request process is complete a “ticket” number will be provided. This ticket number allows you to reference and search the status of the paperwork and provide timelines for when the ground will be marked allowing you to excavate. Locates are typically emailed, at times also provided in person and DO have an expiry date. Be sure to read the information and know the timelines. 

Digging the ground 

Once locates have been provided, the project can begin! Locate paperwork provides vital information such as measurements referencing stationary objects to the utilities that need to be reviewed and special digging precautions. 

Read the paperwork, watch the online “how to” videos, and be safe! 

By: Sean Healey, Masonry and Fencing Manager 

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