Homeowners Guide for Utility Locates


Getting public locates for your project can be difficult, especially if you don’t know where to start. Whether you are requesting public locates for the first time or coordinating many projects across the province, Premier Locates can help make the process easier.


We offer Ontario One Call ticket coordination services that will reduce your workload and streamline the process. Did you know, locates are needed anytime you are breaking ground? As a homeowner, it may surprise you to learn that you own some of the buried pipes and cables that service your home. You are responsible for maintaining them and getting utility locates before you dig.


The first step in adding an addition to your home, putting in a pool, or a new fence is to request a locate online at www.ontarioonecall.ca. Public utility owners will send their locate service provider Locate Technicians to mark the services that they own (e.g. hydro to the meter and communication cables to the house). Each of these public utility companies have a point on private property (demarcation point) after which the utility service becomes the responsibility of the property owner. This is where Private Locators such as Premier Locates come in! Striking privately-owned buried services can result in costly damages and potential injury. How then should you take all the precautions to ensure you dig safely?


How to prepare for your excavation:


Step 1: Login to Ontario One Call's website to submit a ticket. Be sure to submit your request at least 5 days before breaking ground. If you do not want to be burdened with this task, our friendly Damage Prevention Consultants can help organize your public locate request. Our Ontario One Call ticket coordination will take the stress out of preparing for your work area.

Note: As of March 2022, you can not call in regular locate requests to Ontario One Call, however, if you have an emergency, you can call them at 1-800-400-2255. An Emergency Locate Request is defined by Ontario One Call as a loss of service by a utility that in the circumstances would be considered essential, so that absence of the service can reasonably be expected to result in an imminent or significant safety or environmental hazard, or imminent threat to the person or the public. An excavator crew is either on site or has been dispatched. The circumstances therefore require facility owners to take all reasonable steps to complete a Locate response (clear or locate) within two (2) hours from its receipt on the system that the Member has designated for those purposes. Emergency Locate Requests are transmitted to the Member within two (2) hours.


Step 2: Wait for public locates to be completed. This can take some time depending on the size and location of your work area. If your locates do not arrive in time, you will have to follow up with each late locate service provider listed on the Ontario One Call Locate Confirmation. If locates are late, Ontario One call suggests that you file a complaint with their office after 5 business days that can be found here.


Step 3: If working on private property, go to Premier Locates website at book a locate to have us to mark any buried facilities that were not marked by the public locate service providers through Ontario One Call. Public locates through Ontario One Call provide utility locates for only those services that are owned by the utility on private property and those buried services owned by the property owner can include: the water line from the valve to the house; sewer from the property line to the house; hydro after the meter; gas after the meter; propane lines; private wells; septic systems; and any other electric or communication cables for your property. It is up to you (the excavator and/or property owner) to identify the location of the privately-owned buried services before you dig. Premier Locates' Private Utility Locate Service will identify all privately-owned detectable buried facilities.


Step 4: Respect the Marks.


Requesting public and private locates is only the first step when it comes to keeping you safe when excavating around buried infrastructure. Even when all locates are obtained and buried facilities are accurately marked, damages still occur from not knowing how to interpret the paperwork and respect marks on the ground.


Review your complete locate package and pay close attention to the following to ensure compliance with the law and for safety:

  • Any limitations noted by the locate technician.

  • The horizontal limits and depth on the locate confirmation and locate reports.

  • How long the locate is valid for.

  • Understand what the tolerance distance identified on each locate report and what the hand expose zone is.

  • Know the colours for each type of utility service to help identify what the marks on the ground mean.

  • Know how to excavate safely within the hand expose zone using hand digging techniques or vacuum excavation.

If you would like training to understand the complex utility locate process before you dig or want to learn more about the bullets items above, we strongly suggest you have a look at Own Your Safety’s online training for Utility Infrastructure Awareness.


Learn more about our services or book a locate by clicking the button above!



*There are many unique underground challenges and characteristics to each property. While we hope your experience is as smooth as possible, unexpected findings can delay your locates and your projects. Ontario One Call is a free service offered to the public by the public utility companies that provide you gas, electricity, communication, water and sewer services. There is no cost for you to submit a ticket on your own.