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Before You Dig Australia

A Before You Dig Australia excavator digging dry ground on a sunny day.

What is the new name for 'Dial Before You Dig'?

All state and national DBYD entities have now been grouped into one national organisation called Before You Dig Australia (BYDA). This exciting change has been made with the end-goal aiming to offer higher levels of efficiency, with additional support being made available to members, users and the community.

History of DBYA and BYDA

It all began in 1984, when there was a notable incident in Bibra Lake, Western Australia. A bulldozer punctured a high-pressure gas pipeline. This caused damage to the bulldozer, equipment, rail tracks, electric towers, the gas pipeline and other infrastructure. Thankfully, the bulldozer operator survived, un-harmed. However, due to this incident, foundation members, Telstra, SECWA (now ATCO Gas Australia and Western Power) and Water Corporation, decided to create a system called the Perth One Call System. By the 1990s, all states and territories had joined the cause, to establish state Dial Before You Dig organisations.

From then through to now, DBYD state and national entities have provided an essential service to their members and the industry, protecting utility assets and preventing harm to people. In recent times, when reviewing their services, the combined DBYD boards came together to evaluate ways to improve future focus and efficiency. This led to streamlining and the recent change where BYDA has been formed.

What homeowners need to know about 'Before You Dig Australia'

The BYDA service is a point of contact where those looking to dig can obtain information about underground networks at a proposed dig site without contacting utility organisations individually.

Over time, homeowners have unintentionally dug up underground infrastructure leading to significant service disruptions, financial penalties and injury to themselves and others.

On their newly launched website: https://www.byda.com.au/ emphasises that if you are a homeowner about to do some work on your property that involves digging or excavating, it’s important you read their handy tips and lodge a free enquiry before you start.

Work on your property may include jobs such as fencing, driveways, landscaping, mailbox installation or pool installation.

Useful tips for homeowners (from BYDA)

  • Decide who will lodge the enquiry before any contractor commences work;
  • Look for signs on site such as the water, gas or electricity meters, or telecommunication box;
  • Note that underground pipes and cables may be just outside your property under the footpath, driveway, nature strip, and adjacent to fence lines;
  • Never assume the depth of pipes and cables;
  • Asset owner details are available on the dig site confirmation email that you receive after lodging your enquiry;
  • Plans you receive after lodging a BYDA enquiry are indicative only and may not contain specific details within your property boundary;
  • Consider using the service of a Certified Locator to assist you in locating the assets on your property;
  • Keep records if you damage anything;

Be prepared, noting that asset owners may seek compensation for any damage.

An excavation in Goulburn on a sunny day in accordance with BYDA - freepik

Services provided by BYDA

A course purpose of BYDA is sharing information to the public. They provide time-saving, cost effective services and products for infrastructure asset owners and non-asset owning organisations that are involved in underground excavation. Their services are offered to reduced risk of damage to essential infrastructure.

Infrastructure Damage Incident Gateway (IDIG)

BYDA works with other industries and associations in positive ways.

In 2020, a software program was developed “Infrastructure Damage Incident Gateway” (IDIG) to capture members’ data. Collecting incident data from their members and entering it into the IDIG allows them to create targeted marketing and education programs focused on reducing damages. Access to this data enables BYDA to provide detailed information to Construction Skills Queensland (CSQ) to allow them to develop and deliver training programs out to the construction industry.

Member Services

Referal Service

A referral allows a member of Before You Dig to send out plans detailing the location of the registered asset and work with the enquirer where necessary to reduce risk on unnecessary damage on site. This FREE service provides members with the opportunity to share detailed plans and safety information with others (both individuals or companies) planning to dig underground.

Organisations that come under asset classes include: local government, electricity, oil and gas, telecommunications, water etc.

In response to an enquiry, details such as the location, date and type of work being completed are sent to all listed infrastructure owners with assets in the affected area of the project. The asset owners will then respond to the person enquiring with information on the location of their infrastructure assets. Information is typically provided in the form of plans and is required on site to ensure the correct information is available before any excavation (e.g. swimming pool excavation) takes place.

Collaborate

Collaborate is one of BYDA’s services offered to members that allows project managers across multiple organisations to plan work efficiently and recognise ways to work together to reduce the risk of asset damage, reduce costs, and avoid having to redo work as a result of damage. This service stimulates internal and cross-organisation collaboration by sharing excavation and works data from different utilities and presenting the data in a format that can be seen by everyone whom it needs to be reviewed by. It is user-friendly and provides quality reporting, as well as providing you with sign-on access to manage things effectively. The system can be used to identify opportunities by receiving notifications to coordinate works with other teams.

Locate

Locate is an online tool that helps those using BYDA’s referral service to store, manage and access both current and past enquires in one single location. It offers real-time notifications, ability to track responses from BYD enquiries, visualisation ability such as being able to view dig sites on a map. It enables improved accessibility and team collaboration by allowing multiple logins and the ability to view records over the duration of the projects. Combined, these factors are designed to make auditing a breeze.

Automate

BYDA offers a cloud-based solution to help Member organisations respond automatically to referral notifications, allowing members to easily respond to referral service enquiries. This is a great time-saver, improving organisational efficiency, asset protection and of course damage prevention. Enquiries can be viewed in real-time and alerts can be set up for excavation work scheduled near ones own planned activities.

Education

BYDA offers FREE Education and awareness training sessions Australia-wide. Education topics listed on their website’s Education list include topics such as:

  • How the referral service works
  • The importance of safe excavation
  • Complying with asset-owner instructions
  • Consequences of damaging infrastructure.

They have even come up with an engaging education program designed to help primary school children to learn about safe practices via activities and a free incursion. The program is called ‘Diggy and the Kids’ and is based in Queensland at this stage, with views to expand beyond in future.

Merchandise

BYDA’s website provides a comprensive information resource. Another handy tool it offers is the opportunity to obtain promotional merchandise that raises awareness of the referral service and safe site practices to spread the word about safety in the community.

A shot of an excavator bucket scooping up clay in a Goulburn excavation - image by Freepik

Assistance in finding a Certified Locator

Once you have received plans through your BYDA enquiry, you will need to contact a Certified Locator to assist in locating underground networks before starting work. These can be found using the ‘Find a Certified Locator’ section on the website which refers you onto DBYD Certified Locators.

Where to from here?

‘Before You Dig Australia’ is the new and improved ‘Dial Before You Dig’. It pairs up those getting jobs done/completing work with the relevant information on infrastructure assets that could be a threat (if not planned around correctly). Please visit their website for more information on the topics covered in this article and don’t hesitate to send an enquiry through to this amazing service that assist people Australia-wide.

https://www.byda.com.au/