Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Who is liable for the damage to an underground utility, the property owner or the contractor?
A. The person who actually damaged the pipe or cable, ie, the contractor, post-hole digger or excavator driver. The contractor is normally regarded as an expert in the field whom should have anticipated the possibility of underground services. Constructors have a Duty of Care to locate, with regard to underground networks when digging or excavating.
Q. What are the possible consequences if I damage an underground power cable?
A. Striking power cables can endanger the lives of anyone who comes in contact with them and possibly cause death. Machinery and hand operated plant such as jack hammers or post hole diggers can become 'live' if in contact with electrical cables. Keep well away from machinery and the work site if contact is made with a cable. In addition, you will be liable for the repairs to the cable. Often the cable is stretched, causing damage further along the cable from the actual impact site. This usually results in the entire cable having to be replaced.
Q. What about an underground telephone cable?
A. Apart from the obvious consequenses, damage to a telephone cable can cause major financial disruption to businesses and isolate communities from emergency services such as fire, police or ambulance. Communications for anything from a single home to links between entire capital cities are at risk.
In addition, if a business seeks compensation from the communications carrier for loss of revenue while the line is out of commission, the carrier may seek to recover that amount. In a recent instance in NSW, the cost of repairs exceeded $2m. However, claims for loss of revenue brought the overall total to $43m.
Q. What about digging on private property?
A. Many communications and power cables are legally laid across private property without their presence being indicated on any plan or on the property title. It is always wise to check for the presence of cables before any digging. This is particularly important in rural areas.
Q. If I tell a contractor to go ahead and dig in an area without having services located, who will be liable if a cable is damaged?
A. You may well both be liable. You could become involved in legal action to decide this liability.
Q. I want my proposed dig site or excavation site checked, what should I do?
A. The job needs to be logged with "1100 Dial Before you Dig", you can phone 1100 or register online. "Dial Before You Dig" is a free referal service and will provide you with plans that may indicate the presence of the underground services in your area.
If you are in the Yarra Valley or Outer Eastern Suburbs contact GroundScope and we will use your current (less than 30 days old) "Dial Before You Dig" plans as a guide for an on-site location and visible marking of your underground services, We can obtain the "Dial Before You Dig" plans for you (no extra charge) but will need at least 2 days notice.
Q. Can you locate Underground Cable Faults
A. Yes, GroundScope can pinpoint the precise location of Insulation breakdown, cable sheath faults, Earth leakage, (typically Lightning Strike or cable damage from tent pegs or star pickets) in power and communication cables.
Q. How much does it cost?
A. Not as much as you think, Call 040 060 3333 for a GroundScope visit fee and hourly rate. Time is charged for time spent 'on the job' only.
Q. Where areas do you service ?
A. GroundScope is based at Healesville.
Areas serviced including Melbourne Eastern Suburbs and Yarra Valley are:
Avonsliegh, Belgrave, Berwick, Boronia, Cranbourne, Christmas Hills, Croydon, Dandenong, Diamond Creek, Doncaster East, Eildon, Eltham, Epping, Ferntree Gully, Greensborough, Greyure, Hastings, Healesville, Hurstbridge, Kangaroo Ground, Kilsyth, Lilydale, Lower Plenty, Mitcham, Monbulk, Mooroolbark, Mount Dandenong, Narre Warren, Olinda, Pakenham, Ringwood, Sassafrass, Seville, Tyabb, Upwey, Warrandyte, Woori Yallock, Yarra Glen, Yarra Junction, Yea and anywhere in-between.
REMEMBER, You do not want to find that cable the Expensive way !