Coordinate PA, the Next Generation of Utility Coordination

The CGA Technology Committee is dedicated to the discovery, education and development of innovative technologies that improve damage prevention practices in the excavation industry. By facilitating the exchange of ideas between industry experts, CGA members, service providers, and other resources, the committee curates and shares this knowledge throughout the Alliance via case studies, webinars and articles.

The Committee is focused on expanding knowledge of:

• Emerging technologies that can be applied to improving excavation safety and reducing damage

• Existing damage prevention practices that can be enhanced using technology

Additionally, the committee will actively advocate for the reduction of technology gaps in the utility industry, addressing the historic challenges of subsurface utility locating and excavation. Read about a technology that was presented on one of the Committee’s Webinars. If you or a company you know has technology that could help others in our industry, please visit Common Ground Alliance to submit your technology to the Committee.

What is Coordinate PA?

Coordinate PA is the web application developed to help maximize the benefits of shared costs and much more, combined with the ongoing efforts to prevent damage to underground facilities. Coordinate PA enables users to add and/or import existing projects, coordinate opportunities with others who want to collaborate, share project communications with designated contacts, and notify facility owners at any stage of a project. When transitioning a project to the construction phase, complex project tickets can be created and communications continue through to the conclusion of the project.

Utility Coordination Committees and the Use of Coordinate PA Pennsylvania One Call System, Inc. participates in 24 Utility Coordination Committees (UCC’s) strategically placed around the Commonwealth. Project owners, facility owners and designers attend these monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly planning meetings with the intent to share their upcoming projects in hopes of coordinating efforts to reduce damage to underground facilities, downtime, disruption to the public, and cost. UCC’s create an officer group to help run the meetings, create an agenda to keep the meeting on track, and help organize meeting times and places while documenting changes and agreements that were communicated. The UCC members bring their maps, plans, blueprints and lists of upcoming jobs being developed but not yet planned. The objective is to share these projects with every attendee to come up with an efficient plan.

Coordinate PA is the secure repository that the UCC’s use to store all of the information collected at these meetings. The project owners at the meeting work with their designers to place all of the information shared along with a map into the Coordinate PA application. Once they complete the necessary information which includes location, planned start dates and times, and a bid date, they can share this information. The project is shared with all other project owners, facility owners, and designers that have access to Coordinate PA. After saving the project, Coordinate PA prompts the creator to complete the required design ticket at that time, helping them stay compliant with Act 287 as amended. All of the information collected at that meeting should be uploaded and attached to the project. Any contacts that would need access to view or edit the project should also be added.

What’s next? The project was shared and discussed at the meeting, placed in Coordinate PA, and a design notification was submitted. Those who attended the meeting can now view the project and work together, resulting in minimal disruption to the infrastructure and hopefully saving a few dollars at the same time. Facility owners in the area who receive the design notification for the project also have an opportunity to collaborate. Once all the planning is done, the project is transferred to the excavator(s) to complete the complex project notification.

The project owner who couldn’t attend the last UCC meeting can then enter projects being planned into Coordinate PA separately. If the project they submit overlaps that of other projects in dates and location, they receive an alert in their project list that there is an opportunity available and can view the project details including the contact information listed.

When industry professionals take the time to sit down, meet each other, and share their issues and concerns, they work better together. Coordinate PA is a tool designed to help stakeholders connect and stay connected after their meeting has ended.

Kari Campbell is a Marketing Manager at Berntsen International and the Technology Committee Campaign Chair. Marcos Bernal is Senior Liaison Representative, Pennsylvania One Call System, Inc.

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