Before starting excavation you must ensure that all underground services are known and have been clearly marked and pointed out to those doing the excavation.
The dangers of damaging utility lines during construction
Striking a utility cable or pipe can:
Locating utility lines before construction
Utility lines can be located by:
protecting utility lines while building and renovating houses
But it’s not just the existing lines that need protecting. Frequently workers dig up newly installed lines placed during construction. New lines must be clearly marked and protected.
Unfortunately, on occasion cables and pipes are damaged, but the damage isn’t reported, or the person doing the excavation isn’t aware they damaged the line. This could lead to an undetected fault which only becomes apparent much later. Electrical cables which have their outer casing damaged could fail months later when water enters the cable. Water pipes could leak for months, making for very expensive water bills, only becoming apparent when the ground becomes saturated. Sewer and stormwater pipes could become filled with sand which enters through holes broken in the pipe, blocking the pipe, or causing areas above the pipe to settle. Unfortunately when the problem eventually becomes apparent it’s often difficult to locate the exact location, and invariably the area has been paved over, or has a concrete slab above it, or is grassed and landscaped. Fixing the problem can be costly, so it’s vital that all existing and new cables and pipes are protected, and that workers exercise extreme care when digging around known lines, immediately reporting any concerns that they might have, or where they may have inadvertently caused damage to the cable or pipe.
But it’s not just underground lines we must be careful with. Overhead power cables can be extremely dangerous. Even equipment coming within a couple of metres (yards) of the line could cause the power to arc, or flash, between the cable and the equipment, damaging the equipment and possibly causing injury or death to the operator and bystanders. Be careful when carrying long ladders and objects under low overhead cables.
Always stay well clear of fallen power lines and notify the utility provider immediately a power pole or overhead cable is damaged.
Cables and pipes installed within the floors, walls and roofs of houses can easily be damaged by workers cutting and drilling. Countless almost completed houses have water pipes and power cables cut when fittings and fixtures are installed. These especially include when installing bathroom mirrors and towel rails. Not only is this dangerous, but it costs money to repair when tiles and walls have to be chopped open to fix the damage. Flooding from damaged water pipes can damage cupboards and floor finishes.
For more valuable tips and advice read: 'An Introduction to Building and Renovating Houses - Volume 1 Hiring Contractors, Managing Construction and Finishing Your Home' and 'Volume 2 Finding Your Ideal Property and Designing Your Dream Home'
This is an extract from: 'An Introduction to Building and Renovating Houses Volume 1' by Paul Netscher. Available in paper or eBook from Amazon.com, Amazon UK, Amazon CA, Amazon AU and all online bookstores. To read more
© 2019 This article is not to be reproduced for commercial purposes without written permission from the author.
I’m a construction professional, author of several successful construction management books, and a home owner. I’ve made mistakes in construction management, I’ve seen others make mistakes, but importantly I’ve had multiple successful construction projects and I’ve learned from the mistakes. I want to share these lessons and my knowledge with you.
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and 'An Introduction to Building Houses - Volume 2 Finding Your Ideal Property and Designing Your Dream Home'
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