September 15, 2018
By Terry Murphy CLM

Terry MurphyI have heard that some contractors are still having problems getting locate requests completed in the five days that are promised. This problem exists but it is isolated. Things have improved over the years, but certainly are not perfect. You have to understand that, yes in the early spring, you will see some locates go beyond this legislated limit in Bill 8. The locate companies are not perfect and they have problems with the volume of requests in spring. Things improve as we get into early summer. Here are some suggestions you can follow if you are having problems with the five-day target and are held up on a project.
  • Look at the locate paperwork and find out the name of the locate company assigned to your request.
  • Follow up directly with the locate company to see if they can assist you with obtaining a more satisfactory completion date.
  • If they cannot accommodate you, please call Steve Waugh at ON1CALL at 1-800-400-2255 and discuss the details with Steve. He will assist you to get locates done on your project.
Steve’s responsibility is to stay on top of the delivery of locates and to make sure the locate companies are delivering locates in the promised time of five days. Steve has legal authority to investigate and issue fines and penalties where necessary for repeat offenders who do not deliver locates in five days. Steve has helped many contractors in various situations over the years. Remember to get your locate request into ON1CALL early so that they have as much time as possible to perform to the five day standard target.

Depth of residential gas lines

If you call Enbridge Gas Distribution or Union Gas and asked them what the standard depth of a residential gas line is in Ontario, they will tell you the answer is 24 inches. This is the depth specified by the CSA standards. A Landscape Ontario member recently called me and informed me they had struck a gas line that was much less than the standard 24 inch depth. The member had obtained locates, hand dug around the tolerance zone and followed all of the rules, yet he still hit the gas line. The member felt the strike was not his fault and that he should not be responsible for the financial costs of Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) or the repair costs because of the actual depth of the line that was damaged. I can understand this situation, however, realistically, I doubt if any residential gas line after a couple of years of settling will have the depth of 24 inches. Factors such as soil erosion, later construction or changing the grade of the site after the home was built means the gas line could fall anywhere within that 24 inch depth. Being extremely careful while hand digging within the tolerance zone is the only thing the contractor could have done. The lesson learned is that you can not just assume the gas line is at a depth of 24 inches.

Annual golf tournament

The ORCGA staged another successful golf tournament at the Club at Bond Head Golf and Country Club just north of Aurora, Ont., on June 26, 2018. More than 200 golfers took advantage of the great weather and enjoyed 18 holes of golf, followed by a great meal and award presentations. The ORCGA is already planning for next year’s golf event.

ORCGA membership renewal

Over the last couple of years we have seen some landscape and fencing contractors join the ORCGA and then not renew their membership for year two. This is very unfortunate because the Ontario Regional Common Ground Alliance (ORCGA) needs more members to exist. You should avoid this practise and talk to Jennifer Parent at the ORCGA office as to why an ORCGA membership is very cost-effective for your firm. Our supporters and sponsors help provide financial support, but we need more members to obtain the critical mass necessary to continue to be a responsible and viable organization that represents the damage prevention industry. We need you to be a member each and every year. The ORCGA has approximately 500 members, and with more than 10,000 landscaping and fencing contractors in Ontario, we should easily have at least 1,000 members. The member cost of $125 for a small contractor is very affordable and comes with many cost saving benefits that easily justify the cost of membership. I urge you to review your membership and if it has expired, please renew. The ORCGA needs your support. If you have any questions about the many benefits available, please contact Jennifer Parent at 1-866-446-4493 or email

Terry Murphy can be reached at