Over-Notification of Utilities on VA811 Tickets

At the February 5, 2019 meeting, The Advisory Committee approved efforts to help reduce the burden created for underground utility locators by over-notification of utilities.

“Over-notification” was identified as:

  • Requesting more tickets than an excavator can work and continually updating those tickets
  • Requesting tickets with a scope of work that is larger than the excavator intends to excavate (not describing “specific location”)
  • Requesting tickets despite having completed the work, or requesting tickets but not beginning the work within 30 working days

The following requirements from the Virginia Underground Utility Damage Prevention Act were cited as references in the Act that provide direction to excavators:

  • §56-265.17 F – “The extent of the excavator’s proposed work shall be a work area that can be excavated within fifteen working days from 7:00 a.m. on the next working day following notice to the notification center.  The area covered under each notice shall not exceed one mile.”
  • §56-265.18.2 – “The specific location of the proposed work.  In the event a specific description of the location of the excavation cannot be given, the person proposing to excavate or demolish shall comply with subsection E of §56-265.17.”
  • §56-265.24 F – “With the exception of designers requesting marking of a site, in accordance with §56-265.17, no person, including operators, shall request marking of a site through a notification center unless excavation shall commence within thirty working days from the date of the original notification to the notification center.”

An additional reference from the Rules for Enforcement of the Underground Utility Damage Prevention Act:

  • 20VAC5-309-190.  Delineating specific location of a proposed excavation or demolition
    • A.  Any person, as defined in §56-265.15 of the Code of Virginia, providing notice of a proposed excavation or demolition shall clearly describe the limits of the proposed excavation or demolition with sufficient detail to enable the operators to ascertain the location of the proposed excavation.”

To that end, educational efforts by utility operators, contract locators, excavators, the SCC, and VA811 will take place between now and May 1 to encourage excavators to comply with these expectations.

On May 1, 2019, the Positive Response Code 94 will change from:

  • 94 Location of proposed work is unclear; please call VA811 and provide the specific location on a new ticket.
    • Code 94 shall be used when the operator/locator is unable to determine the area of proposed excavation according to the specific location delineated on the ticket.  The operator/locator must make a reasonable attempt to contact the excavator to clarify the specific location of where the excavation is planned.  It shall be the excavator’s responsibility to call the notification center and request a new ticket with a specific location of proposed excavation if the original area is insufficient.

To:

  • 94 Failed to provide specific location of proposed excavation, please contact VA811 and provide the specific location on a new ticket.
    • Code 94 shall be used when the excavator has failed to provide the specific location of the proposed excavation.  It shall be the excavator’s responsibility to contact the notification center and request a new ticket with a specific location of proposed excavation, as required by 20VAC5-309-190.