Guide to Best practices

The Guide to Best Practices in damage prevention was launched to provide a reference and training tool as well as an awareness tool aimed at lowering the number of damages done to underground infrastructures. A significant number of stakeholders contributed to the development of consensus-driven Best Practices.

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1. Planning and Design Best Practices

Best Practices Statement: Designers and planners should evaluate all applicable factors when determining the placement of underground utilities.  Ideally speaking, existing utility corridors should be used to the fullest extent, and, for entirely new installations, consideration should be given to the creation of a common utility corridor for the current, and future placement of all utilities.

2. One-Call Centre Best Practices

Best Practices Statement: The notification service has a documented, pro-active public awareness, education, and damage prevention program.

3. Locating and Marking Best Practices

Best Practices Statement: Locators utilize on-site facility records at all times.

4. Excavation Best Practices

Best Practices Statement: The excavator requests the location of underground facilities at each site by notifying the owner through the notification service. Unless otherwise specified in law, the excavator contacts the notification service at least five working days prior to beginning excavation procedures.

5. Mapping Best Practices

Best Practices Statement: The land base used by the notification service mapping system should be accurate and kept up to date with new
information as it becomes available from source suppliers. Facility owners should provide regular updates of their notification mapping coverage to ensure the most current information is utilized in the system. Ideally, the land base used is available to the public and can produce a ticket for the smallest practical geographical area utilizing ; e.g., Street Address, Street Name, Subdivision & lot number, land description and/or latitude/longitude (GPS / UTM), to describe the location.

6. Compliance Best Practices

Best Practices Statement: Underground facility owners should develop, implement and maintain a damage prevention program for the purpose of anticipating and preventing damage to its underground infrastructure.

7. Public Education Best Practices

Best Practices Statement: In order to effectively promote damage prevention and influence/improve damage prevention habits, it is necessary to identify the target audience, establish what their education and awareness needs are, and to create a communications package that is tailored to those needs.

8. Reporting and Evaluation Best Practices

Best Practices Statement: stakeholders provide relevant information that they have with regards to events that have damaged underground infrastructures or that could have caused such damages. The information is then entered in the DIRT database (Damage Information Reporting Tool).


The following definitions apply to Best Practices in damage prevention of underground infrastructures.

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