Selling that property should not be a potential life-threatening outcome
Dial Before You Dig (DBYD) is reaching out to all members of the REIQ to reinforce the importance of understanding safe digging practices.
DBYD is being made aware of an increasing number of incidents associated with star pickets/stakes being driven into the ground and striking buried pipes and cables. The concern for the REIQ members is that when real estate signs are being erected (which in the majority of situations are supported via a star picket being driven into the ground) an enquiry into DBYD has not been submitted.
Any project which entails breaking the ground requires a DBYD to be lodged, pipes and cables can be buried anywhere underground and no utility will guarantee the alignment or the depth of cover of their pipe or cable.
DBYD is a free service with our members supplying plan information on the whereabouts of their buried pipes and cables in a very timely manner. Once the plan information has been received from all the notified utilities the information should be reviewed to determine if there are any potential pipes or cables in the vicinity where the sign is to be erected.
DBYD would encourage in all situations where the plans received acknowledge there are buried pipes and cables then a DBYD Certified Locator should be engaged to undertake an electronic location to clearly mark on the ground where those pipes and cables are located. If then the sign is planned to be installed within 300mm of the location marks on the ground, then a potholing exercise must be undertaken to visually expose the buried pipes or cables or alternately choose another position to erect the sign clear of any buried pipes or cables.
Driving a stake into the ground can have catastrophic outcomes if an electricity cable or gas pipe is contacted.
One example was an incident where a dog was electrocuted when it contacted a wire mesh tree fence protecting a recently planted tree. A metal star picket used to support the wire mesh had been driven through protection covering slabs and then through the cable insulation causing damage to the red phase conductor of the underground cable mains. The star picket had become energized at 240 volts.
DBYD has a Best Practice Guide for preventing damage to underground services on our website.