Delays in Receiving Underground Locates Creating Significant Hardships for Local Area Contractors


Over the last few weeks multiple members of the Sault Ste. Marie Construction Association have voiced concern over lengthy wait times to receive underground locates required to perform excavations on their work sites. These delays are causing significant hardships for those contractors impacted.

Adam Pinder, Executive Director of the Sault Ste. Marie Construction Association explained, “Contractors rely on receiving locates in a timely fashion after they are requested. The wait time should be no longer than 5 days unless agreed to by the locator and contractor. We’ve heard of instances where locates are still not fulfilled 3 to 4 weeks after the request. This type of wait time is unacceptable.”

As a result, contractors have been forced to change their work plans and resource other projects they are able to work on. When a contractor is forced to drastically alter their schedule it also impacts their cash flow. This problem has created an unnecessary hardship for projects that are already on tight timelines. The contractor is ultimately responsible to ensure the job is done on time and some contracts impose penalties if the work is not completed by a certain date.

While discouraged with the situation Pinder hopes that the issue is behind us and that this will no longer be a problem going forward. “I was really surprised that this issue even arose, the system had been working very well in the area up until recently. Our members want to work safely and follow their obligations, the Ontario one call system and receiving timely locates is vital to ensuring excavations are performed safely without risking harm to the workers or the general public. I don’t think it’s fair or reasonable to expect them to wait 4 weeks for that information.”

The association has been in touch with Ontario One Call and spoken with some of the local utility owners. Pinder continued “We understand that the local area locators were under resourced for the number of locate requests they were receiving and that a significant number of the requests are now able to be self performed, this should alleviate the stress on the system and return timelines back to acceptable levels.”

Aside from discussions with local utility owners, to help members through this situation, the Sault Ste. Marie Construction Association has arranged for a representative from Ontario One Call to speak at an upcoming presentation on July 9. The session will focus on how to deal with locates when they are late and other helpful tips. The association is also encouraging any member or user of the one call system, who doesn’t receive their locates in the prescribed time, to file a complaint through the Ontario one call website.

Anyone interested in attending the July 9 presentation is encouraged to contact the Sault Ste. Marie Construction Association by calling 705-759-8830 or by emailing [email protected]