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Chapter 2

2.2 Gathering Information for Design Purposes

Practice Statement:

The designer uses all reasonable means of obtaining information about underground facilities in the area of the planned excavation.

Practice Description:

During the planning phase of the project, all available information is gathered from facility owners/operators. This includes maps of existing, abandoned, and out-of-service facilities; cathodic protection and grounding systems; as-builts of facilities in the area if the maps are not current; proposed project designs; and schedules of other work in the area. This information is gathered for the purpose of route selection and preliminary neighborhood impacts and as part of the process of impact analysis when evaluating different design possibilities. Methods of gathering information may include contacting entities such as an 811 center, facility owners/operators, coordinating committees/councils, other designers, engineering societies, and governmental agencies to help identify underground facility owners/operators in an excavation area. Gathering information also may include a review of the site for aboveground indications of underground facilities (e.g., permanent signs or markers, manhole covers, vent pipes, pad-mounted devices, riser poles, power and communication pedestals, and valve covers). The 811 center provides a listing of operators directly to the designer or to the designer’s subsurface utility engineer. This information is made available in formats that are accessible to all users, such as voice, fax, e-mail, or Web site. Once the operators are identified, the designer contacts the operators directly or uses the one call system. The facility owner/operator may locate the underground facilities or provide locations of the underground facilities to the designer by other means, such as by marking up design drawings or providing facility records to the designer.


  • Gathering underground facility information and including this information in the planning phase minimizes the hazards, cost, and work to produce the final project.
  • Safety is enhanced.
  • Unexpected conflicts with facilities are eliminated.
  • Facility relocations are minimized.


  • Wisconsin Sec. 186.0175 Stats
  • Minnesota Statute 216D
  • Pennsylvania Act 287 of 1974, as amended by Act 187 of 1996
  • See related Finding Number 3, “Identifying Existing Facilities in Planning and Design”
  • “Construction Management Interference Control Manual,” Consolidated Edison, New York, New York, June 9, 1997
  • Subsurface Utility Engineering, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), February 1999, Office of Program Administration
  • Florida Department of Transportation Utility Accommodation Manual, Document No. 710-020-001-d, Section 11.4, January 1999

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