FAQ

Is it mandatory to place a locate request with the one-call system?

The Alberta Occupational Health and Safety Code, the Alberta Electrical Utility Code and the Alberta Pipeline Regulation require that the locations of all buried utilities be marked before a ground disturbance begins.

For more information, see the OHS Explanation Guide

Are all buried utilities registered through Alberta One-Call?

Most, but not all, utility owners are registered with Alberta One-Call.

Other sources of information on buried utilities that may be at the site of a proposed ground disturbance include:

  • Signs or markers in the area.
  • Alberta Energy Regulator – high-pressure pipeline records.
  • Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, Rural Utilities Branch – low pressure gas distribution pipeline records.
  • Land Titles Office – certificates of title – to determine if a right of way, easement or caveat is registered against the property.
  • Local landowners or occupants.
  • Visual evidence of cut lines, changes in vegetation, land depression or scarring, buildings or existing surface utilities.

What if my work area is on private property?

Any contractor planning to undertake a ground disturbance on private property should make special provisions for identifying and locating privately owned and customer owned buried utilities. It may be necessary for the property owner or the ground disturber to engage a contract locator to identify and mark the locations of such buried utilities.

Can I request a specific time to meet the locators?

We will make a note of your preference on your Ticket. However, it is up to individual utility owners and their locators to accommodate these special requests subject to their own availability.  

What if I need locates sooner than two full working days?

Emergency or Priority locate requests can be placed by calling 1-800-242-3447.

To make an Emergency or Priority request, you must be digging to perform a repair to correct a condition that poses an immediate threat to life, health or property – including repair of essential services such as water, power, phone or gas.

The expectation is that locators will respond to emergency locate requests in urban areas within 1 hour of the request being placed, and within two hours in rural areas.

If you require locates sooner than two full working days because the request for locates was not placed in time, the utility owners and their locators will not likely be able to accommodate you any earlier than two full working days due to the volume of requests they process.

What if I need to make changes to my locate request?

Call us at 1-800-242-3447.
Give the Ticket Number and new information to the Damage Prevention associate who answers.

Why should I mark the work area with white paint?

White flags, stakes or paint may be used to provide the locators with an accurate understanding of the extent of the proposed ground disturbance. Paint marks on roadways should not exceed 40 mm x 450 mm, but should be close enough together to clearly define the limits of the site. In winter conditions, black or black and white are more appropriate colour choices.

In some cases, pre-marking the dig site may eliminate the need for you to meet with the locator and can result in locates being completed sooner than waiting for a scheduled meet.

It has been two full working days and I have not had a response to my locate request. Can I begin the excavation?

No. If a member of Alberta One-Call has been notified of a locate request and has not contacted you within the two full working days advance notice period, or has failed to mark the locations of buried utilities as arranged, contact us at 1-800-242-3447. We will contact the member to expedite a response on your behalf.

Members of Alberta One-Call are required to respond to each locate request by establishing contact with the ground disturber. It is expected that the utility operator or their representative will advise the ground disturber whether or not a locate is actually required.

If the utility operator is not registered with Alberta One-Call, contact them directly.

Will I incur charges for locating services requested through Alberta One-Call?

As a rule, the operators of buried utilities do not charge for identifying and marking the locations of their buried utilities. However, should your schedule require that locates (excluding Emergency Locate requests) be done outside normal working hours, there may be a charge to cover the cost of overtime.

Excavators that abuse the Damage Prevention Process by placing frequent requests for locates where no ground disturbance is taking place, or planned within the 14 day lifespan of locates, may incur charges from the operators of the buried utilities.

Most utility operators charge for locating customer-owned utilities.

Does Alberta One-Call issue permits or crossing agreements?

No. If the ground disturbance is to take place within a public road allowance, provincial highway right-of-way or utility right-of-way, the ground disturber may be required to obtain an excavation permit or written permission from the utility owners before disturbing the ground. If the ground disturbance is to install new utilities, line assignments may have to be obtained from the authority having jurisdiction over the right-of-way, prior to construction.

What if I think the situation is hazardous?

If you – or the operator of a buried utility – determines that a proposed ground disturbance may create a hazardous situation for workers or the general public, or threaten the integrity of a buried utility, you should discuss the situation with the utility operator to develop a mutually acceptable solution.

Where can I find more information about safe digging practices?

Visit our Learning Centre for more information.

The Alberta Common Ground Alliance publishes a best practices guide. You can download it here.