North American Network Operators Group

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Re: Fiber cuts, telcos and excavators

  • From: Hal Murray
  • Date: Thu Oct 07 01:31:00 1999

> I have heard from the excavator community over the years.  They often
> point out the utilities seem to not care, and don't show up to mark
> their utilities on-time.  The famous telco appointment time of
> between 8 and 5, if at all.  The excavator is losing money for every
> minute the locate marker is late, or doesn't show up at all.  This
> isn't a lot of profit margin in excavation.  Sometimes the choice is
> between not digging and definitely going out of business, or digging
> and possibly going out of business.

Why is the contractor waiting around?

I'm not very familiar with how things are done in the construction 
industry, but I see a lot of paint on roads and sidewalks around 
here.  I've seen occasional people out putting down paint without 
any contractors waiting around. 

I thought the standard practice was to mark the limits of the area 
you want to dig in with "USA" (Underground Service Alert) and then 
call the USA 800 number a few days before you want to dig there.  
That gives the USA people time to contact all the utilities so they 
can come out and mark the area. 

I should read the fine print on a call-before-you-dig sign the next 
time I get a chance.

> As far as sending a big bill to the contractor.  As has been pointed
> out before, most excavators have the minimum insurance and few assets.
> And the cynic may look at the number of contractors hired by utilities

Does it work to sue the organization that hired the contractor?  
If not, why?