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Dedicated Locator – How to Ensure a Successful Project

This article expands on a previous post about what project owners need to know when setting up a Dedicated Locator (DL) program. The focus here is further considerations to ensure a successful project execution for a Project Owner.

  1. Plan ahead – engage with Contractors and Locate Service Providers (LSPs) at least 6-8 months in advance of a project. I can’t stress enough how important this is, as otherwise you will be at the whim of  availability and nothing is guaranteed. It can take a full year to get a locator hired, trained, and productive for example.
  2. Permits and Municipal Consents should be submitted with as much notice as possible, but also with the maximum flexibility in case timelines shift or priorities change. I have seen it time after time that contractors and LSPs are ready to go, but MC’s are not ready, or the project owner decides to change locations based on drilling conditions.
  3. Engage with the utility owners in your work areas in advance of One Call’s official notification. This will help with relationship building, getting buy in for your chosen LSP, and setting up contracts and other administrative items instead of rushing at the end.
  4. Don’t expect that a utility owner, especially a municipal one, will be able to jump on board with the DL program quickly. There are often major roadblocks with records access or availability, contractual and council approvals, and lack of resources available to handle requests. I repeat, engage early with impacted utility owners.
  5. Be engaged and lead calls and messages between the stakeholders. Having the project owner engaged provides consistency and a sense of neutrality to conversations and can help get past hurdles more quickly.
  6. Lead introduction of contractors and LSPs to ensure alignment and good communication. This will serve to avoid finger pointing later if they can develop good processes and communication for ticket submittal and dispute resolution.
  7. Set up project tracking with contractors, owners, and LSPs with targets and agreed upon metrics ahead of time to avoid confusion later.
  8. Work with owners and LSPs in the area to identify additional subcontractor LSPs that can help with higher demand influxes. Having these relationships set up from the beginning with pricing and contracts ready to go will help manage surges or for catching up later on.
  9. Designate a lead on the project to manage the DL program. This person will work with One Call, LSPs, utility owners to set up contracts, communications, and tracking of production. If there isn’t someone internal, seriously consider partnering with a 3rd party like Enertia to manage this on your behalf.
  10. Once a project is underway, implement regular tracking and communications between contractors and LSPs. Pay close attention to ticket submission processes, finger pointing, relocates, and backlogs. These can all be bottlenecks in the process that is left alone can lead to major delays later on.

As I’ve said before, Ontario One Call has a good amount of material to help with the administrative process on their end. You can visit their website for more info. My goal here is to help inform you of other considerations for a successful project. Many of the points above have other components to them as well which I can help add more context around.

For more on how Enertia can help visit: https://enertiasolutions.ca/dedicatedlocator

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