811 tips for excavators

811 Tips for Excavators

The damage prevention industry has many moving parts. Each stakeholder plays an important role in making the 811 process work effectively. If everyone involved works to make their area of responsibility more efficient, the entire 811 system will be able to function like a well-oiled machine.

The 811 System can only  work efficiently when we work together

Ways You Can Help

Provide Quality Information

Be sure to provide accurate and detailed information when starting a ticket

✓ Assess your route or excavation site
✓ Gather all your information
✓ Premark the location with white paint

Let the utility owners know if

  • you will need to be on site
  • pets are in the area
  • Gate code or locked gates

When making a call for notification or placing an online locate request to Alabama 811, please have the Proper Notification Procedures information available.

  • Name, phone number, address of the person who is digging
  • Name, phone number and email address of the person submitting the locate request
  • Name, phone number, and email address of the site contact
  • Who the work is being done for
  • Proposed starting date of the work
  • Nature of work
  • Type of equipment being used
  • If explosives are being used as well as if you will be doing any directional boring
  • City and County where work is taking place
  • Address and/or driving directions to the work location
  • Nearest cross street
  • Work site locate instructions
  • GPS if applicable
  • Any other information that will help utility operators mark their underground facilities near your work site

Be Specific About Location & Dimensions

Be specific about the dig site and only request marks in the exact area where excavation work is taking place.

This critical information helps narrow the scope of work so locators can focus on marking what’s needed for each project and avoid spending time on unnecessary marks.

Example:  locate a 50ft radius at base of pole at given address.

Mileage locates must be broken up into 1-mile segments if possible.

  • Multiple addresses on the same street may be entered on one ticket for up to one mile, but only if the work is being done in a continuous line or trench.  If the lines need to be marked up to the house/building, or if a pole along the pole line is skipped, then separate tickets will need to be entered.
  • If requesting to locate along a stretch of road, starting from intersecting roads, distance and direction from  the intersection must be listed on a separate locate request ticket for each road.  If the road indicated as your dig street intersects in more than one point with the provided intersecting road, you must be specific on which intersection is being referenced.
  • If requesting to locate a distance from an address, the distance and direction from the address must be listed on the locate request.
  • In order to use utility easements/right of ways, railroad tracks, county/state lines or creeks/waterways as a starting point, you must give distance and direction from two roads that you can see on AL 811 map to the starting point.
  • If requesting to locate a distance from a bridge, the distance and direction from the closest intersecting roads to bridge, as well as the distance and direction needed located from the bridge must be listed on the locate request.

Acreage locate instructions must include one of the following:

  • The total number of acres for the request, and/or measurements for the area to be located.  Ex: this is a 3 acre lot, or this property is 4000ft x 2000ft.
  • A list of all of the surrounding boundaries.  

Example:  The site is bounded by Smith St on the north side, 9th St on the west side, Ames Ave on the east side and Will Rd on the south side.

Be specific about the dig site and only request marks in the exact area where excavation work is taking place.

This critical information helps narrow the scope of work so locators can focus on marking what’s needed for each project and avoid spending time on unnecessary marks.

Example:  locate a 50ft radius at base of pole at given address.

Mileage locates must be broken up into 1-mile segments if possible.

  • Multiple addresses on the same street may be entered on one ticket for up to one mile, but only if the work is being done in a continuous line or trench.  If the lines need to be marked up to the house/building, or if a pole along the pole line is skipped, then separate tickets will need to be entered.
  • If requesting to locate along a stretch of road, starting from intersecting roads, distance and direction from  the intersection must be listed on a separate locate request ticket for each road.  If the road indicated as your dig street intersects in more than one point with the provided intersecting road, you must be specific on which intersection is being referenced.
  • If requesting to locate a distance from an address, the distance and direction from the address must be listed on the locate request.
  • In order to use utility easements/right of ways, railroad tracks, county/state lines or creeks/waterways as a starting point, you must give distance and direction from two roads that you can see on AL 811 map to the starting point.
  • If requesting to locate a distance from a bridge, the distance and direction from the closest intersecting roads to bridge, as well as the distance and direction needed located from the bridge must be listed on the locate request.

Acreage locate instructions must include one of the following:

  • The total number of acres for the request, and/or measurements for the area to be located.  Ex: this is a 3 acre lot, or this property is 4000ft x 2000ft.
  • A list of all of the surrounding boundaries.  

Example:  The site is bounded by Smith St on the north side, 9th St on the west side, Ames Ave on the east side and Will Rd on the south side.

Be specific about the dig site and only request marks in the exact area where excavation work is taking place.

This critical information helps narrow the scope of work so locators can focus on marking what’s needed for each project and avoid spending time on unnecessary marks.

Example:  locate a 50ft radius at base of pole at given address.

Mileage locates must be broken up into 1-mile segments if possible.

  • Multiple addresses on the same street may be entered on one ticket for up to one mile, but only if the work is being done in a continuous line or trench.  If the lines need to be marked up to the house/building, or if a pole along the pole line is skipped, then separate tickets will need to be entered.
  • If requesting to locate along a stretch of road, starting from intersecting roads, distance and direction from  the intersection must be listed on a separate locate request ticket for each road.  If the road indicated as your dig street intersects in more than one point with the provided intersecting road, you must be specific on which intersection is being referenced.
  • If requesting to locate a distance from an address, the distance and direction from the address must be listed on the locate request.
  • In order to use utility easements/right of ways, railroad tracks, county/state lines or creeks/waterways as a starting point, you must give distance and direction from two roads that you can see on AL 811 map to the starting point.
  • If requesting to locate a distance from a bridge, the distance and direction from the closest intersecting roads to bridge, as well as the distance and direction needed located from the bridge must be listed on the locate request.

Acreage locate instructions must include one of the following:

  • The total number of acres for the request, and/or measurements for the area to be located.  Ex: this is a 3 acre lot, or this property is 4000ft x 2000ft.
  • A list of all of the surrounding boundaries.  

Example:  The site is bounded by Smith St on the north side, 9th St on the west side, Ames Ave on the east side and Will Rd on the south side.

Give Good Contact Name & Phone #

Be sure to provide accurate and detailed information when starting a ticket

  • Providing good contact information sounds obvious, but many tickets are received with a bad phone number or a phone that goes straight to a voicemail box that is full.

  • To avoid delays, provide the contact information for someone who is on-site or familiar with the dig-site and schedule.
  • Providing good contact information sounds obvious, but many tickets are received without a name or phone number.

  • To avoid delays, provide the contact information for someone who is on-site or familiar with the dig-site and schedule.

Give Accurate Description of Work Being Performed

  • Make sure to provide an accurate description of the work being performed.

  • Providing more detail enables locators to address internal concerns in advance, arrive better prepared, and get straight to business.

  • In the case of an apartment complex, or specific lot numbers, individual building or lot numbers should go on different tickets. Since these building numbers or lot numbers cannot be related to a specific address, they require different notifications.

  • When excavation involves more than one street, When working at an intersection, the intersection can go on one notification. If the excavation is at an intersection and continues down one street, then that information can go on one notification. If the excavation is at an intersection and continues down two streets, the second street requires another notification.

  • Provide accurate driving directions with distances and cardinal headings (North, South, East, West) when working in rural areas.
  • Make sure to provide an accurate description of the work being performed.

  • Providing more detail enables locators to address internal concerns in advance, arrive better prepared, and get straight to business.

  • In the case of an apartment complex, or specific lot numbers, individual building or lot numbers should go on different tickets. Since these building numbers or lot numbers cannot be related to a specific address, they require different notifications.

  • When excavation involves more than one street, When working at an intersection, the intersection can go on one notification. If the excavation is at an intersection and continues down one street, then that information can go on one notification. If the excavation is at an intersection and continues down two streets, the second street requires another notification.

  • Provide accurate driving directions with distances and cardinal headings (North, South, East, West) when working in rural areas.

Manage Ticket Quantity

  • In addition to improving the quality of information you provide, we also ask that you manage the quantity of your requests.

  • For larger projects, the area noted on the request should be no more than what can be worked during the 20 working day period.

  • §37-15-4 (h) (Section 37-15-4) Except for those persons submitting design or survey locate requests, no person, including operators, shall request markings of a site unless excavation is scheduled to commence. In addition, no person shall make repeated requests for remarking, unless the repeated request is required for excavating to continue or due to circumstances not reasonably within the control of the person.

Give Sufficient Notice & Eliminate Unnecessary Requests

  • It’s important that you request utility locates with sufficient notice to be marked, but not more than you can reasonably begin within the life of the ticket.

  • Too many tickets at once can put a strain on the system and keep locators from getting to more time-sensitive sites. So, avoid requesting “backup” sites to be marked, or creating “just in case” tickets.

  • Active tickets should match the actual schedule of the work being performed and follow the requirements in your state dig law.

  • Indicate the Date and Time you plan to start the work. It is very important not to begin work prior to the legal start date and time. The legal start date and time is two working days, not counting the day of notification, after the notification was made based on proposed date of excavation. “Working Day” is a 24-hour period commencing the beginning of the start of the next working day from the time of receipt of the notification, excluding Saturday, Sunday and the nine holidays outlined in the Alabama Code Title §37 Chapter 15 Section 1-11 Underground Damage Prevention Legislation.

  • Notification of excavation can be up to 10 working days prior to the start of excavation and up to 30 working days prior to demolition.

  • Locate information is dispatched to the member underground facility operators. The member underground facility owners, or their representatives, will mark their buried facility by the legal due date and time.

Remove Completed Requests

  • Avoid locate renewals and remarks on jobs that have been completed.

  • Often locate requests are updated or refreshed long after work has been finished.

  • This causes locators to spend time marking inactive job sites when they could be marking active ones.

  • §37-15-4 (h) No person shall make repeated requests for remarking, unless
    the repeated request is required for excavating to continue or due to circumstances not reasonably within the control of the person.

AL811 is Proud to Announce Our New Website

Welcome!

We are very excited to announce the launch of our newly designed website (AL811.com). After months of hard work and dedication, we are delighted to officially announce the launch of the website on June 6, 2022. We wanted to make the website faster, easier to navigate, and more user-friendly with easy access to submit locate requests, acquire information, and education.

As Alabama’s “contact before you dig” center, it was important for us to make the ticket submission and information easily accessible for homeowners and excavators. We also want to provide the most accurate, up-to-date information and resources with our members.

We’re here to work for you

The updated website will give better access to who we are, what we do, and why anyone who plans to dig should contact 811 before digging to request that the approximate location of buried utilities be marked with paint or flags.

Thanks for visiting!

Whether it be through continuing education, public outreach, or services provided by our state-of-the-art call center, we’ve got you covered. 

Thanks for visiting!

Whether it be through continuing education, public outreach, or services provided by our state-of-the-art call center, we’ve got you covered.