What do I need to do if I’m going to excavate?

Except in an emergency, every excavator planning to conduct an excavation (as defined in Chapter 269E-2), shall notify the center of the excavation at least five (5) working days but not more than twenty-eight (28) calendar days prior to commencing excavation. Excavators should follow these steps to do so:

  1. Call 811 or 1-866-423-7287 OR go online to file a request at www.DigSafelyHawaii.com.
  2. Mark the area of proposed excavation in white spray chalk, per chapter 269E-8.
  3. Wait until the legal start time on your ticket and verify that all operators identified on the ticket have responded.
  4. The excavator shall exercise reasonable care when excavating in the vicinity of a subsurface installation and in accordance with chapter 269E-12.

What happens when I call or file a locate request online?

As soon as you make that necessary phone call, the operator answering the phone at the HI811 Call Center, will ask you a series of questions designed to pinpoint the proposed excavation area. Being prepared greatly speeds up the process! Please have this information ready.

If you are filing a locate request online, you’ll be asked to provide this information in the online form.

* Indicates required information.

  • * Your name, e-mail, phone number, company name (if applicable) and mailing address
  • The name and phone number of an alternate contact person, in case the utilities have questions and cannot reach you
  • * What type of work is being done
  • * Who the work is being done for
  • * The Island, county and city the work is taking place in
  • * The address or the street where the work is taking place
  • The nearest cross street
  • The distance and direction of the worksite from the intersection
    (If no address is provided, cross street, distance and direction are required)
  • * Marking instructions (specific instructions as to where the work is taking place)
  • Tax Map Key or GPS coordinates of the worksite

These questions are asked so that the customer service representative can determine which utility companies should be notified of your excavation plans, and which should not. This process makes sure that all the utilities at your worksite are located, and the underground facility owners who do not have lines in your general area are not needlessly notified.

You will be given a reference number and the names of the operators that have buried facilities in the excavation area. The HI811 Call Center will then notify the affected facility operators that have underground facilities within the proposed excavation site. The facility operator (or their locating contractor) will reply with one of the following responses:

Clear/No conflict
Area checked and Marked
Marking will be delayed
Caller made aware of available records
Excavation area not marked in white/No action taken

What do the various colors used in marking the facilities mean?

Facility operators who locate and field mark their lines in proposed areas of excavation are required by state law to conform with the American Public Works Association Uniform Color Code the approximate location and number of subsurface installations that may be affected by the excavation activity.

Underground facilities shall be marked in accordance with the following designated color code:

White: Pre-marking of the outer limits of the proposed excavation or marking the centerline and width of proposed lineal installations of buried facilities.
Pink: Temporary Survey Markings.
Red: Electric power lines, cables or conduit, and lighting cables.
Yellow: Gas, oil, steam, petroleum, or gaseous materials.
Orange: Communication, alarm or signal lines, cables or conduits, and fiber.
Blue: Potable water.
Purple: Slurry, irrigation and reclaimed water.
Green: Sewers, drainage facilities or other drain lines.

Is a facility operator’s initials, or logo, really necessary?

Yes, the initials, or logo, are necessary. There may be more than just one telephone company, gas operator, etc., in the vicinity. Without the operator identification, the excavator would not know that all facilities had been marked. Conversely, if an operator marked “no gas”, without a logo, an excavator would assume – no gas lines. But if there were another gas line operated by a different company, the stage would be set for a potential disaster.

Do I need to pre-mark in white spray chalk my excavation sites?

Pre-marking is done so the locators will know the exact area to be located. HI811 requires marking in white as per Chapter 269E-8. However, this does not alleviate the responsibility of excavators requesting notifications to provide appropriate information, measurements and a specific description of the proposed excavation area. The purpose of white lining is to provide a physical outline of the dig site, illustrating the exact location of the proposed excavation site. Whether the job is large or small, white lining eliminates assumptions and digging delays, which saves time and money for all parties involved.

Remember to pre-mark responsibly;

  • By accurately marking the areas to be located
  • Minimize damage caused by excess spray chalk
  • Call in accurate information to limit size of area to be delineated to only what is needed.
  • No white spray chalk should be sprayed on pavement in a way that may interfere with traffic or pedestrian movement.

When can I start digging after I make the call? May I start the excavation before the five-business-day deadline?

It is strongly recommended that you wait the full five-business-day waiting period following the day you submit your request. This allows all operators to complete their required responsibilities. If you start before that time you may be accepting liability for damages.

Pursuant to HRS 269E-7, unless it is an emergency, excavators are required to wait at least five (5) working days before excavating or risk fines from the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.

When is it legitimate to call for an “emergency Locate” request?

The definition of what constitutes an “Emergency” is a sudden, unexpected occurrence involving a clear and imminent danger, demanding immediate action to prevent or mitigate loss of or damage to life, health, property or ESSENTIAL public services.

When is it legitimate to call for a “Short-notice Locate” request?

Short-notice locates are reluctantly accepted by HI811, but are never guaranteed to be completed prior to the legal five (5) business day notice defined under the law. It is important to know that locates requesting responses sooner than the five business days do not relieve excavators from risk or liability of any damages that occur. Excavators who abuse the use of short-notice requests are subject to penalties for violating the law. All notified facilities must respond prior to the start of any legal excavation required under the law.

What is considered to be a reasonable time for responding to Emergency Locate requests?

During an emergency, an operator is required to respond as quickly as possible. Because of the large variety of service areas, geographical constraints, weather, traffic and many other factors, it is impractical to specify a precise time interval for response to an Emergency Locate request. An operator is required to make the best effort possible to get to the site without delay. If there is any delay by the facility operator in responding to an Emergency request, they are encouraged to reach out to the excavator contact to let them know what to expect in terms of a response time. It is also encouraged for the contact information contained on the locate request be accurate and monitored for follow up by facility operators.

What is the difference between the HI811 Call Center and the locating entity/company?

The HI811 Call Center is an information-gathering service that identifies operators with facilities in your excavation area. The center then notifies all operators of your proposed excavation and the operators are then responsible for responding and/or marking their facilities. Operators may use their own employees to perform locates, or they may hire a private company to perform the locate marks.

How are fines to be imposed?

Fines are imposed through a complaint process administered by the Hawaii Public Utility Commission (HPUC).

I lost my locate request number. How do I find it again?

The HI811 center has an online database of all locate tickets along with the positive response replies posted by the notified facility operators. The website is www.managetickets.com. From there you can search located tickets by a number of different fields. The system will display all requests that meet that search criteria. The positive responses posted allow excavators to check that all facility operators have responded prior to traveling to the site.

There are already marks there from an earlier locate. Can I use them?

State law defines an “Excavator” as any person, including an operator, who performs any excavation. Every excavator planning to conduct an excavation shall notify the center of the excavation at least five working days but not more than twenty-eight calendar days prior to commencing that excavation. Marks from earlier locates or marks requested from other excavators doing work in the same area do not provide valid protection against fines or liabilities arising from damages as a result of that excavation. Fines can be imposed for any infraction of the State law.