811 Insight

The number one issue for most excavators is the PA One Call Law.  The law touches your business every day you work in the field. 

We have the most experience in this area to help you with training, PUC compliance education, insight of the law, damage investigation and documentation best practices, understanding the complex project process, and of course reporting an alleged violation (AVR).  We are here when you need us most, but we also believe knowledge leads to prevention and safe practices.

NUCA PA has held a board seat on the PA One Call System’s Board of Directors for nearly 22 years. Armando Ferri is the current seated excavator.  Prior positions were held by Tim Greenland and Glenn Johnston (each serving for ten years).

In 2018, the PUC took over the enforcement of the PUC, which included three excavator representatives.  NUCA PA excavator members, Jim Dacey and Armando Ferri hold two seats. NUCA PA is there for excavators when you need us the most!

Crane lifting on construction site

811 Insight Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE)

811 Safe Digging Month Press Release –  4-28-2022

NUCA PA believes that using Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE), in accordance with ASCE 38, in the Planning and Design phase will produce accurate and comprehensive utility location and data information into a digitally map of the utilities for the bidding through construction phases.

SUE is a proven method that saves money over the project life. Health and Safety is a serious issue for our workers and the public. We need to engineer projects with a higher degree of information than the existing practice of using 811 Design ticket information and Call before You Dig 811 locating markings.7

In our NUCA PA market, present practices or standard of care, Designers request utility mapping information through the 811 system via a Design ticket, producing information that is unreliable and equates to ASCE 38 , Level D, which is ONLY informational. Designers cannot design projects sufficiently based on the maps provided through the 811 system.

Similarly, the 811 locates during construction typically produces the same information from the utility owners and using the information to locate in the field, producing markings that typically meet PA’s 811 horizontal tolerance requirements of 18” either side of the utility. That broad horizontal marking equates to ASCE 38 Quality Level D accuracy, which is informationally only with no confidence in horizontal accuracy for engineering and design purposes.

This is the typical information provided to a engineer and designer. Applying the SUE per ASCE 38 standard of care would give the project owners, engineers, designers, utilities, third-party locators during construction, and contractors detailed mapping with reliable and accurate X, Y and Z data for all utilities within the project’s scope.

“A GIS map of buried infrastructure would make the locating during construction process drastically more efficient and accurate, and identify abandoned facilities.” 3 SUE is a proven practice, with multiple documented studies proving that following the ASCE 38 process of applying all Quality Levels of QL-D, QL-C, QL-B through QL-A deliverables that saves money during the construction process.

SUE achieves accurate and comprehensive utility location and data information that has proven cost savings, less construction damages and delay claims and reduces health and safety risks to workers and the public.

NUCA PA member, Steve Johnson promotes SUE at the 2021 Planet Underground Utility Expo. Time: 5:42 Steve talks about mandatory reporting is a positive legislative action in Pennsylvania. Everyone needs to commit to the use of technology (i.e. SUE).

One Call Issues Make Your Blood Boil?


  • Filed PUC Petition on Marking of Service Laterals
  • Standby Time – supported Supreme Court Lawsuit, drafted legislation and championed passage
  • Advocated for “fair” enforcement
  • Advocated for stakeholder representation on PUC Damage Prevention Committee – currently hold two excavator seats
  • Insight on 811 law – billing issues, documentation practices, “hit” issues, etc.
  • Education for DPC Compliance Ordered training
  • Gold Shovel Standard – Pay to Play Certification push by PA1Call
  • And so much more…

Excavator Lessons Learned

  1. Never Dig on someone else’s Dig Ticket #​
  2. Every excavator on the job site should have their own One Call Reference (ticket) number – this may protect you from liability if you are found innocent of any violations (CGA Best Practice & PA Law)
  3. Look for visible signs of facilities in the area  (walk-around) before excavating – call 811 for re-notify request – wait 3 hours before proceeding with due care, unless contacted by facility owner within the 3-hour window.
  4. Call 811 immediately to report facility damage.
  5. If gas is leaking, call 911 immediately,  You cannot allow the Facility Owner or anyone else to make the call.  The 911 center recorded message will be your evidence at a hearing.
  6. Excavators must call Facility Owner to verify mis-marks, otherwise, the Facility Owner will use it as a defense that they have no evidence that there was a mis-marked line.
  7. Just to make you aware, most gas lines have excess flow mechanisms to reduce gas pressure when a line releases gas.  Even though you may not see gas or hear gas, the Facility Owner will use this as a defense at a hearing.  The excess flow mechanism makes a loud “pop” that should be heard by anyone nearby.  Call 911 to avoid a fine.

Damage Prevention Hearing
Re-notify Case heard on 3-12-2019