THE STATE OF MICHIGAN requires a call to 811 to have facilities marked before digging at a job site. However, facility owners (i.e. utility, cable, phone, water, etc.) only mark the lines they own. This leaves homeowners and excavators at risk of hitting underground facilities that are privately owned, also known as private facilities.
Examples of private facilities on residential property include gas lines from the house to a pool or grill, electric running to a garage or a pole barn, or even an irrigation system. Private facilities on commercial property may include lights in a parking lot, and fiber and other facilities connecting the buildings on a campus. It is the responsibility of the excavator to ensure that private buried facilities are located to prevent injury, service interruptions, and property damage.
MISS DIG 811 piloted a Private Locate program to assist the excavating community through our Remote Ticket Entry (RTE) system. We began with three counties and expanded to 18 counties. While placing a ticket, RTE users can express their interest in private locating services. Once the RTE user expresses an interest in the locating services, a locating company will reach out to the RTE user with additional information on marking privately owned lines.
It is the responsibility of the excavator to ensure that private buried facilities are located to prevent injury, service interruptions, and property damage.
MISS DIG 811 sent a short survey to homeowners, excavators, municipalities, and utility companies to better understand the needs regarding private facilities. This survey was sent out in late 2020 and returned by EOM January 2021. This feedback will assist MISS DIG 811 in expanding our Private Locating program.
We engaged the services of an independent market research company to collect the data and analyze the results. The independent marketing company ensured the highest level of confidentiality, reported responses in combination with others, and did not gather personal information.
The survey was constructed in such a way that the user could complete it on a smartphone, desktop, laptop, or tablet to more easily respond to the questions.
A sample of questions asked include:
1.Prior to receiving this survey, were you aware of the difference between public underground lines and private lines?
2.Would it be helpful if you could request private locating services (feebased) when contacting MISS DIG 811, or not?
3.Do you place dig tickets using MISS DIG 811’s RTE program? If yes, was the option to be contacted by a private locator through MISS DIG 811 helpful?
4.Were you contacted by a private locator regarding your request?
5.Please rate how important the followings items are as part of the vendor communication.
b. Ability to meet project timeline
c. Ratings from other users
d. Contact information for the vendor
e. Inclusive list of all services offered by the vendor
f. Direct/web link to book services
Survey results will be shared in an upcoming issue.
Stephanie Boe is the Web Ticket Manager at MISS DIG 811. The Web Ticket department trains and provides ongoing support to users of the Remote Ticket Entry (RTE) and Collaborative Design ticket entry programs.