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Whether you’re new to construction or planning on digging or excavating areas of any residential, commercial, industrial property or public area for the first time, it’s important to understand the basics of Before You Dig (BYD). Before You Dig (BYD) is a national program in Australia, designed to protect people, their property, the community, and underground utilities.

What is BYD?

BYD stands for “Before You Dig” and is formally known as “Dial Before You Dig”. Before You Dig refers to the process of lodging a request with BYDA, who can then refer you onto a BYD accredited technician to assess the site before conducting any digging or excavation work.

In essence, Before You Dig is a program that exists to help workers understand where underground assets lie, so that they can actively avoid accidentally excavating and damaging these assets during their works. In this case, ‘digging’ refers to earthworks carried out on a property or construction site.

Excavating and other forms of deep digging into the earth come with a major problem: workers may only be able to visibly see vital services like pipes or cables for electricity, gas, water, or communication once it’s too late. Destroying or damaging these assets not only puts you and other people on the property in danger but can also isolate entire communities.

Previously known as Dial Before You Dig, the program was first created after an initial major accident in Western Australia in 1984. Dial Before You Dig was created to allow anyone about to excavate, the resources to either gain relevant asset data, or call in a technician to assess the mapped underground pipes, wires, and cables before going ahead with the work.

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How does BYD work?

To use Before You Dig services, you can lodge a referral service enquiry through the BYDA website, iPhone App, or Android App or engage a company like LiveLocates to do this for you.

It is free to lodge a BYD enquiry. However, on some occasions service providers may charge for the supply of infrastructure information where the area is significantly large or other more detailed maps are required. Most information returned on BYD does not incur any other charges.

To lodge an enquiry with BYD you will need to register your company information first. During the BYD enquiry you will be asked what type of excavation you will be undertaking and if it is for a public or private authority.

When lodging an enquiry with BYD, the organisation will be able to supply you with relevant information on the underground utilities for the area submitted in your request as well as refer you onto a service provider like LiveLocates who can provide you or your contractors with all necessary information about the physical location of the underground utilities as indicated by BYD, as well as other underground infrastructure which might also be within your proposed works area.

For many parts of Australia, asset owners have provided and continue to provide updated information about the presence, approximate location (usually in the form of plans) and instructions about working around their registered infrastructure assets.

This information does not always pinpoint the exact location of the infrastructure asset. Therefore, duty of care must be exercised when working around any infrastructure assets.  This is when you should consider engaging a Certified Locator like LiveLocates to assist you in determining the exact location of the underground assets as reported on the supplied plans.

If the plans or information is unclear, you can contact the asset owner directly using the contact numbers provided on the BYD Confirmation Sheet or consider engaging the services of a Certified Locator like LiveLocates. It’s important to note that not all utility infrastructure owners have their assets listed with BYD, so it is therefore important to consider if this could be the case for your proposed dig area and get in contact with a Certified Locator like LiveLocates to investigate further.

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Why do I need to dial before digging?

Any project that involves excavation or the use of heavy machinery has the potential to damage underground utility assets. Damaged assets can result in service interruptions, costly repairs, delays to the project, and in serious cases, injury, or death to those in the immediate surrounds.

Getting the right data from BYD is the first step to reducing these risks considerably. Accessing this information as well as engaging a Certified Locator such as LiveLocates to physically locate any underground utility assets within your work area will assist to ensure that all workers, residents, and the local community are safe by the avoidance of damage to underground utility assets in any excavation work conducted.

What happens if I don’t lodge a BYD enquiry?

If you’re a builder, contractor, farmer, excavation company, council, landscaper, underground network maintenance worker, geotechnician, plumber, electrician, homeowner, you should be well versed in contacting BYD before commencing any projects requiring excavation. In fact, anyone who intends to work around underground infrastructure assets should lodge a FREE enquiry with BYD before commencing.

Can property plans expire?

Yes. Plans have an expiry date, and this informati on can be found on the plans or information pack provided by asset owners registered with the BYDA service. The expiry date can vary from each asset owner and therefore it is important to note the variations. If plans have expired, a new enquiry must be lodged to ensure current plans are always on-site.

Work with a BYD Certified Locator

If you are planning any form of excavation, it is important to work with a BYD Certified Locator from the moment you begin planning your construction work.

Working with LiveLocates means working with a team of experts who are committed to safety, as well as helping you avoid unnecessary costs and delays in your project with accurate detection.

With the latest radio detection technology, GPR technology, and years of experience, LiveLocates are the experts when it comes to safely assessing and recording all valuable underground assets.

Contact us or call today: 1300 517 062