IN DECEMBER 2019, twenty-five industry leaders participated in a Late Locate Symposium to improve the timely delivery of locates within Ontario. The goal of the three-day intensive event was to develop solutions that would make a positive impact on the 2020 dig season.
The group consisted of Excavators, Utilities, Municipalities, Locate Service Providers (LSPs), and representatives from Ontario One Call. Participants were selected based on their ability to make substantial decisions within their own organization, and their ability to influence others in the industry.
Led by an independent facilitator, the group delved into the systematic issues affecting locate delivery. Each participant actively engaged in building the plans, and viewpoints from all stakeholder groups were woven into the design of each solution.
Five implementable solutions were developed and Ontario stakeholders can expect to see these strategies in 2020.
Moving major infrastructure projects to a dedicated locator model relieves stress and frees up the regular pool of locator resources. The program has utilities responsible for the dedicated locator model on their own capital projects. This dedicated locator model allows capital projects to stay on time. Resources are independent of the regular pool of locator staff. In 2020, certain infrastructure types will be put into this model with more to follow in the coming years.
Being able to accurately forecast the amount of staff required in a specific region/area to deliver timely locates has been an ongoing issue affecting delivery. To help solve this, a new forecasting model is being developed to give visibility to the resource demand required. Utilities, municipalities, and LSPs forecast workloads by collecting and distributing ongoing details related to capital projects and major capital work. LSPs show calculations outlining resource requirements to utilities and municipalities based on the data. Ongoing check-ins assess the success of the forecasting. A pilot program will start in Ottawa.
Multiple pressure points affect not only the timely delivery of locates, but also the ability of an excavator to complete a dig after receiving a locate. Managing locates is one of the biggest issues.
This solution focuses on utilities and municipalities changing their locate validity period to 60 days and standardizing the expiration date to land on the same date. This helps reduce relocates entering the system and helps excavators reduce the strain of managing multiple expiration dates.
This solution will also develop proper guidelines on how to share locates with subcontractors.
Compliance and Enforcement
To overcome confusion in the industry, this solution ensures greater communication about the rules, compliance process, and the roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder. Ontario One Call will look to implement a change in billing to a performance-based model that rewards utilities and municipalities for good locate delivery performance and penalizes poor performance. Performance-based billing ensures utilities and municipalities with late locate delivery incur a higher share of membership billing costs.
Data in, Data Out
There is a disconnect between the information provided on a locate request and what is needed by LSPs to perform an efficient locate delivery service. To reduce over-notification and eliminate other factors affecting LSP productivity, a group will be set up to define the criteria necessary. Data will be used to create a checklist to be implemented through pilot areas.
The finalized process will be incorporated into the curriculum of the Professional Locate Administrator Course (PLAC) launched through Ontario One Call in 2020. Designed for locate administrators, PLAC simplifies the request process, increases consistent high-quality tickets, and helps with the timely delivery of locates.
To learn more about these topics please contact training@OntarioOneCall.ca.