All you need to know about Dial Before You Dig (DBYD)

Did you know you could be held liable for any damage you inadvertently cause to underground networks during excavations?

If you are planning to undertake some digging, contacting DBYD to determine if there are any underground cables and/or pipes present in the area is often your first step.

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  1. What is DBYD?
  2. Why is DBYD important?
  3. How to lodge an inquiry with DBYD
  4. FAQs

Dial Before You Dig Logo 1. What is DBYD?

Dial Before You Dig (DBYD) is a free, not for profit service that aims at protecting Australia’s underground cables and pipes, and to ensure the safety of the people working around this infrastructure and potential costs associated with damaged assets.

DBYD acts as single point of contact for those who want to excavate and underground asset owners.

Owners of underground infrastructure includes telecommunications, electricity, water and wastewater providers.

Whenever anyone raises an enquiry with DBYD, the project information is sent to the members, and the members respond with plans of their assets in the work area selected.

These plans must be obtained before excavation begins no matter the size, to prevent any damage to the underground infrastructure.

In 2018, 517,213 enquiries were lodged by people and companies undertaking excavation work, such as contractors, homeowners, farmers, fencing contractors and developers.

 2. Why is DBYD important

In absence of any maps or plans showing the presence and location of underground infrastructure, excavators may accidentally damage cables, pipes or other underground assets. This can cause disruption of important services to homes and businesses until the damage is repaired by the infrastructure owner. In a worst case scenario, it can even cause injury or death.

The contractor which caused the damage may be held liable for the repairs and the costs.

So, it is essential to have accurate information on the exact location of the underground assets.

DBYD plans are also necessary when someone has to subdivide the land as there may be underground cables and pipes that have to be shifted to another location.

 3.  How to lodge an inquiry with DBYD

Dial Before You Dig enquiries can be lodged in three ways:

  1. By calling the toll-free number (1100) during business hours. Please note that calls from mobile phones are charged. Press 1 and you will be connected to a consultant. Provide all your details to the consultant, who will then refer your enquiry to the utilities company managing your area. The company will forward you a detailed plan and outlay of the pipes and cables on your property.
  2. Via Android and iPhone app
  3. Website

Over 90 percent of the enquiries are lodged online.

If you wish to lodge an enquiry online, you need to register first. You will receive an email confirming the username and password. With the username and password, you can login and lodge your enquiry. You can also review past enquiries.

Here are some simple steps to lodge an enquiry with DBYD and get the plans you want.

3.1 Provide project details

  • Enter project details including start date and expected completion date, location of project and type of work.
  • This will enable DBYD to provide correct plans and information to suit your project

3.2 Map screen

  • Locate your project location using search tools
  • Draw the proposed project site using mapping tools
  • Describe the project and submit enquiry

3.3 Summary

You will get a list of asset owners with their contact details that have been informed about your project.

You will also receive information in the form of plans.

It generally takes two business days or less to get the information from infrastructure owners.

These plans detailing the location of assets do not come from DBYD. The information comes directly from the owners.

3.4 What type of information does DBYD provide?

Infrastructure owners usually provide information in the form of plans detailing the approximate location of their assets and instructions on working safely around them.

It is important to note that these plans provide just an approximate location and not the exact location.

To locate assets, a certified service locator (quality B level) followed by visual confirmation (quality A level) often through the use of a vacuum excavator is required.

For a more detailed explanation on how everything works, you might also like – How it Works with Location Services and DBYD

Importantly, these plans come with an expiry date, which may vary across different owners. Once the plans have expired, you will need to lodge a new enquiry with the DBYD.

 4. FAQs

4.1 How much does it cost to obtain a location plan?

Lodging an enquiry with DBYD is free. In some cases, the asset owners may charge some fee for providing information. However, this normally happens in cases of large development related or planning/design enquiries where no excavation is involved.

4.2 Who should use the Dial Before You Dig service?

Anyone who intends working around underground infrastructure should use DBYD service. These may include builders, farmers, contractors, excavation companies, landscapers, councils, plumbers, cable and pipe location companies, homeowners and underground network maintenance workers.

4.3 How can DBYD help homeowners?

DBYD is not only helpful for companies undertaking excavation work, but to homeowners as well. It helps homeowners avoid any damage to the underground assets when undertaking projects such as landscaping, driveways, new fencing, pools and other projects.

4.4 Can I be held liable for any damage to infrastructure assets?

Any individual or company that causes damage to underground infrastructure assets during excavation may face court proceedings for the recovery of cost of repair or replacement of damaged assets where negligence is found to be a contributor. These costs can be substantial, so it is better to use the free DBYD service before commencing any excavation work.