Frequent Questions

How do I get the public buried facilities marked on my property and what does it cost?


Public locate requests for the publicly owned utility infrastructure up to the demarcation point on private property are processed through Ontario One Call free of charge. We offer ticket coordination services so you can get your focus back on your project. Ask our Damage Prevention Consultants for details. Learn how to submit a request in our Homeowners Guide for Utility Locates.




How do I get my privately-owned buried facilities located and marked on my property?


Premier Locates Inc. provides private utility locates for excavators and landowners. If you wish to request a cost estimate or book a locate, please complete this online form and we will get back to you quickly.




How much does a private locate cost?


We charge an hourly rate that includes travel to and from your property plus our site time. The time to complete the locate depends on the number of buildings and the number of buried facilities that need to be located and marked. The size of the work area does not necessarily factor into the cost unless the site is large and a lot of walking is involved. If your work area is 10 square meters or the entire property, the costs are generally the same as we must investigate all buried facilities on the property to ensure all buried facilities are accounted for before providing a locate for your work area big or small. If you would like an idea of typical costs for a project, we would be happy to speak with you at 1-800-868-2196 ext. 1 or if you would like a formal cost estimate, please fill out this online form.




How do I book a private locate?


You can book a private locate quickly and easily with our online booking form here.




What forms of payment do you accept?


For new clients and homeowners, we require a valid credit card before dispatching a Locate Technician to your work site. We will bill your card upon completion and your locate report will be delivered digitally to your inbox. Clients also have the option to submit their credit card payments through our secure online portal. For existing clients and partners, we accept cheques, direct deposit/EFT, eTransfers, and credit cards. Clients in good standing will receive locate reports immediately upon completion.




What is a Utility?


Any person/private landowner, utility company, municipality, authority, or other person or entity who owns, operates, or controls the operation of buried utility infrastructure or facility.




What is Utility Infrastructure / Underground Infrastructure / Facility / Plant


A buried cable, line, pipe, conduit, or structure used to gather, store, or convey products or services. Sometimes referred incorrectly in the industry as utilities.




What is Ground Disturbance?


Any work, operation, or activity on or under the existing surface resulting in a disturbance or displacement of the soil or ground cover. A ground disturbance can include, but are not limited to: digging; excavation; trenching; ditching; tunnelling; boring; drilling; pushing; augering; topsoil stripping; land levelling; grading; plowing to install underground infrastructure; tree planting; clearing; stump removal; subsoiling; blasting or using explosives; quarrying; grinding and milling asphalt/concrete; seismic exploration, driving fence posts, bars, rods, pins, anchors, or pilings; and, crossing of buried pipelines or other underground infrastructures by heavy loads off the travelled portion of public roadway. (CSA Z247-15)




What is an Excavator?


Any person that performs excavation work and/or performs any type of ground disturbance.




What is buried public utility infrastructure?


Buried public utility infrastructure, or buried facilities, are installed, operated, and maintained by a utility company. These buried facilities provide services such as gas, electric power, communication, water, and sewer via right of ways to private property up until the demarcation point for each service. For example, a gas main within the roadway and the service up to a house is considered a public facility. In some special cases, public owned facilities may pass through private property without servicing the property. The buried facilities would be located within easements on private property. Public utility infrastructure is the responsibility of the utility company and is located free of charge as part of the local call before you dig service (Ontario One Call).




What is buried private utility infrastructure?


Buried privately-owned utility infrastructure or facilities extend beyond the utility demarcation point. An example of a private facility would be the gas line after the utility owned meter that feeds your pool heater or the municipal water line after the water shutoff valve at the property line. Private properties will also have privately owned electric power and communication cables for mechanical equipment and security cameras. In short, private buried facilities are the responsibility of the landowner for operation and maintenance.




What is a Private Locate Service Provider (LSP) or Private Locator?


Private LSPs that provide utility locates for privately-owned buried facilities work on behalf of the excavator and/or private landowner. Beware that not all Private LSPs are created equal as we are not regulated; have no trade association; follow our own individual best practices and standards; and have varying insurance coverage. Before you hire a Private LSP, you should assess and qualify them by asking for their training certifications, insurance coverage, service offerings, and acceptance of liability. A quality Private LSP should be able to provide you with any of these certificates, policies, and procedures. Ask for our qualifications here: locates@premierlocates.ca




I don’t want to call Ontario One Call! Can Premier Locates Inc. locate and mark all buried facilities at my work site?


By law in Ontario, utility locates must be obtained via Ontario One Call before performing any type of ground disturbance. Premier Locates cannot provide a sanctioned locate for public utility infrastructure, however, we locate the public utility owned infrastructure as part of our private locate process to ensure that we have accounted for all buried utility infrastructure in a work area as we are rarely given as-built utility records for the private buried infrastructure on private property.




Can Premier Locates Inc. mark a public buried facility to show me where it is?


Yes. As part of Subsurface Utility Engineering standards, we can mark public buried facilities with pink paint, flags, chalk, or crayon. These marks are for engineering design/survey purposes only and you cannot use these marks for excavation purposes.




What equipment does Premier Locates use to locate and mark buried facilities?


Private facilities are located by using electromagnetic locate equipment (transmitters/receivers), ground penetrating radar, time and frequency domain metal detection equipment (EM61/EM31), duct rodders, and sewer cameras with built in sondes. All our Damage Prevention Technicians (DPTs) are expertly trained and follow industry standard best practices, guidelines, and standards when performing utility locates.




What do the different spray paint colour markings mean?


Each colour indicates what is buried beneath the mark for both PUBLIC and PRIVATE buried facilities.

Read our blog post for what the colours mean: What do the different colours of spray paint on streets and sidewalks mean?




What are Premier Locates hours of operation? What if I have an emergency?


Premier Locates is available Monday - Friday 7am-7pm. We provide emergency locate services during evenings and weekends and holidays at increased rates.




Why do I need to obtain utility records/drawings from the private landowner?


Private landowners can provide historical information about the site and provide drawings of buried facilities that may otherwise be undetectable.




What is a limitation on a utility locate report?


A limitation is any issue that a Private Locator faces while investigating, locating, or marking that limited their ability to provide an accurate locate. A limitation presented on a locate report increases the risk of an excavator striking a private buried facility if the limitation is not mitigated.




What is an example of a limitation?


UNAVOIDABLE LIMITATIONS

  • Non-toneable facilities
  • Varying depth / angled facilities
  • Construction/repair practices
  • Congested facilities (distortion/ghosting)

AVOIDABLE LIMITATIONS

  • No legal survey,
  • No utility maps, construction, or as-built drawings,
  • No access to buildings,
  • No direct access to utility structures/rooms
  • No access to someone knowledgeable of the property mechanical systems
  • Snow covered ground
  • Overgrown vegetation
  • Parked vehicles
  • Cluttered sites with product storage or debris




What do I do with a limitation on a private locate report?


When a limitation is presented on a private locate report, the increased risk must be mitigated, and the owner of the buried infrastructure (land or property owner) must be informed of the limitation for direction how to dig on their property with this increased risk. When digging with mechanical equipment with these limitations/warnings we suggest the following to mitigate the risk:

  • Avoid the work area all together
  • Use Hand Digging techniques
  • Use soft digging techniques (air/water vacuum excavation)