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  • Corsac Construction Ltd.

Building over utility line in Calgary.

Several underground lines run to your house from front and back. Because they are not marked, it is hard to determine their locations. Thus, before digging on your property for trees, plants, fences, or garage pads, it is necessary to check for any underground utilities and locate them. That way, you will avoid unfortunate consequences if one of those lines gets damaged during excavation. The last thing you need is to pay to restore the damaged gas pipe you were unaware of in your backyard, not to mention the injuries that may occur in that case.

To ensure your future structure is not interfering with any underground line, always call/click before you dig at, also known as Alberta One-Call. It is a free service to locate registered utility lines on your property. The operator will mark the lines on your site and prepare a report. The report will provide all the details about which company each line belongs to and if there are any restrictions. Once you locate the utility lines, you must obtain clearance from all utility owners on the Alberta One-Call report.

Make sure to locate any private lines in your backyard as well. Those could be gas, electrical or water lines running from the house to any other structure on your property, such as a garage, greenhouse, shed, hot tub etc. If those lines were not registered on Alberta-One Call, they would not appear on your report. To locate those lines, you must call a private locator, who will also mark any private-owned lines on your property.

Sometimes, a gas line could run under the proposed project (e.g. future garage). In that case, you must determine if the line is sleeved. For example, you may call the utility owner, such as ATCO gas. The utility owner would be shown on the locate report. Typically, any house built in the last ten years would have a sleeved gas line, but it is always important to check that to be sure.

If the line is sleeved, you can proceed with building over that line. If the line is not sleeved, you can relocate or sleeve the line. Remember that sleeving will add cost to your project, so relocating your project away from the line might be a better option.

You must ensure your contractor knows about them and develop the correct procedures for working around those lines. Since it is hard to determine the current depth of each line because the ground could be disturbed and soil added or removed in some locations. Thus, for example, the hand-digging method may safely remove dirt around those lines. So, choosing the right contractor that knows how to work around utility lines is essential. Corsac Construction has experience in this area and will gladly assist you with any questions.

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