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Construction Insurance Bulletin


By September 1, 2013No Comments

Across the nation, utility lines, tunnels, and structures run under our feet, Each year, excavators strike approximately 700,000 of these underground lines, often triggering potentially fatal accident (from steam, gas, propane, or electricity). A single strike might easily cost a contractor hundreds of thousands, or millions, if the accident leads to an interruption of service that shuts down a factory, hospital, telecommunication lines– even a missile silo.

In most cases, insurance will not cover these losses. To deal with this threat, the Common Ground Alliance coordinates 811 –Call before You Dig, a nationwide phone and online system that contractors can use to notify local utilities so they can “mark out” their facilities before excavation of anything from to a sewer to a subway. These markouts are required under state law.

When you use the call system, bear in mind that:

  1. It doesn’t matter where you are – downtown, in the middle of a suburban street, or building a private home.
  2. Call even if you’re confident that you know where something is buried (for example, if you installed the line); many contractors dig up lines that have just put in.
  3. Instead of marking the area with wooden stakes – which are all too easy to drive through gas lines – use white paint or “feathers;” even the most shallow excavation can be hazardous.

Remember, failing to contact before every excavation violates the law – and leaves you wide open to huge liability losses. Don’t take a chance your odds of losing in the Underground Damage Casino!

To learn more, just get in touch with the Construction Insurance Specialists at our agency.