Before You Dig Australia (BYDA) is the newly established national organisation for Before You Dig (BYD) members. We provide the free national referral service for the Australian community that is designed to help prevent damage and disruption to infrastructure networks which provide essential services we use every day.
BYDA is a single point of contact to request information about underground networks at the planned project site from registered BYDA Members without the need to contact them individually.
Builders, contractors, farmers, excavation companies, councils, landscapers, underground network maintenance workers, plumbers, homeowners, cable and pipe location companies – in fact anyone who intends to work around underground infrastructure assets should lodge a FREE enquiry before commencing.
Any project, small, large or even on private property, has the potential to damage underground assets located around the worksite, leading to service interruptions, delays to the project, costly repairs and in the worst-case scenario, injury or death.
Obtaining information from BYDA members can significantly minimise these risks by providing information about what’s underground and out of sight. Safety is a fundamental aspect of any excavation project, so BYDA should always be the first point of contact.
It is FREE to lodge a BYDA enquiry.
However, in some instances, infrastructure asset owners may charge for the supply of infrastructure information – although this is normally only for large development related enquiries or planning/design enquiries where no excavation is taking place.
The referral service is designed for individual use as it is important for affected asset owners to provide you with information or contact you directly if needed.
Using generic information increases the risk that if an asset owner needs to contact you regarding high-risk assets, they won’t be able to do so in a timely manner to discuss the work being undertaken.
Even though all your responses may be directed to one common e-mail address, it is highly recommended that accounts be created for each individual lodging a FREE enquiry with Before You Dig Australia.
Asset owners provide information about the presence, approximate location (usually in the form of plans) and instructions about working around their registered infrastructure asset.
This information does not pinpoint the exact location of the infrastructure asset. Therefore, Duty of Care must be exercised when working around any infrastructure assets.
If the plans or information is unclear, please contact the asset owner directly using the contact numbers provided on the Dig Site Confirmation Sheet and consider engaging the services of a Certified Locator.
Yes. Plans have an expiry date, and this information can be found on the plans or information pack provided by asset owners registered with the BYDA service. The expiry date can vary from each asset owner and therefore it is important to note the variations. If plans have expired, a new enquiry must be lodged to ensure current plans are always on-site.
The plans are not issued by Before You Dig Australia, they are sent out by the asset owners registered with the Before You Dig service.
Members registered with the Before You Dig service and affected by your works will send you their plans directly to the email address you registered when setting up your account. Members are encouraged to respond within 2 business days.
If you have not heard from them, their contact details can be found on the Dig Site Confirmation Sheet you receive from Before You Dig and you will need to contact them directly to follow up your enquiry.
The receipt of all Before You Dig responses is NOT considered to be an approval to proceed with excavation. Each user needs to follow the directions of each member contained in their response and comply with any legal, safety or best practice guidance. Many asset owners have specific requirements or processes for locating, working around, or accessing their assets before excavation.
If you wish to proceed, ensure that there are no additional requirements from third parties (for example, your insurers) and affected asset owners when undertaking the Before You Dig process.
As long as the information provided by the utility owners is in a legible format, i.e. you can read and understand the information and plans provided, you can use any output/device suitable to your needs.
There is no specification regarding screen size. Just no cracked screens so you can read the information and plans clearly.
Please ensure your device is fully charged or able to be charged and accessible to all on-site. We would also like to remind you that if you are viewing plans on a mobile, tablet, computer or a printed copy, ensure you are viewing the correct area of your worksite.
If you need help reading any plans or information, please contact the utility owners directly or engage a Certified Locator.
No. This is mainly due to obstacles that may have been in the vicinity when the cables or pipes were installed. It is also important never to assume the depth or alignment of pipes and cables.
Due to the possible deviation in alignment, manual excavation (if instructed by the asset owner) may be required to determine the exact location of underground assets to avoid any mishaps.
Not yet. Presently, most infrastructure assets owners and networks in Australia are Before You Dig members. However, BYDA is actively recruiting new members with the aim to have all infrastructure assets owners and networks on board.
You will first need to lodge a free Before You Dig enquiry. If gas infrastructure is affected, asset owners registered with the Before You Dig service will send information directly via email or post. Details regarding the gas pressures should be on the plans (check the legend) or information pack. If the information is not listed, contact the gas asset owner directly. The contact details for ALL affected asset owners can be found on the Dig Site Confirmation Sheet you receive after lodging your enquiry.
Yes, court proceedings may commence against individuals and/or companies for the recovery of cost of repairing or reinstating damaged assets where negligence appears to be a contributor.
Once you lodge your free BYDA enquiry, the platform will present a selection of three Certified Locating Organisations (CLOs). Each CLO services an area within Australia and will appear in the results according to your dig site location. You can view an extended list of Certified Locators who service your dig site by selecting “See all Certified Locating Organisations servicing this area.”
The default sort order for the full list of CLOs is random. The full list will show all CLOs with a service region covering your project site. The information provided includes the CLO contact details so you can contact them immediately.
If you have questions about the service region, the CLO list, or to become a Certified Locator, please contact the DCL team directly.
Utilities may provide free on-site or over the phone engineering advice when necessary. However, a fee may be charged when the relevant utility is requested to locate specific infrastructure assets or provide on-site advice. Clarification of fees can be obtained by directly contacting the relevant asset owner.
Please note that not all asset owners are BYDA members. Registered members who have assets in your project area will be listed on the BYDA confirmation sheet you receive when you lodge an enquiry.
A Certified Locator will be able to assist you in locating assets once you receive plans. If you find an unregistered asset, we recommend you try and establish what type of asset it is and who owns it and contact the asset owner directly to obtain further information.
BYDA hosts education and awareness sessions for both BYDA members as well as excavation and construction organisations aligned with the referral service. To organise a BYDA education session, please complete our contact form.
Yes, but it is free and simple to do!
Regardless of the location, we recommend that you always check what’s below with BYDA.
Many telecommunications cables are installed beneath rural private properties in rural areas to ensure Australia is well connected to phones and the internet. There may also be gas lines or electricity cables running beneath your property.
As the “disturber” if you are planning to dig, you have a responsibility or Duty of Care to take reasonable steps to avoid damaging other people’s assets or causing harm to yourself or others.
On the other side, asset owners also have a responsibility and duty of care to keep and provide reasonable records of their assets. Asset owners should be able to provide information and advice on their assets, especially if it passes through your property. If it is a high-risk asset, then it is expected they would want to protect their asset and ensure others are not injured. For example, if an asset owner’s marker posts are missing, it would be reasonable to expect assistance from the asset owner to help locate their asset. Contact details for affected asset owners are available on your BYD confirmation sheet.
Working on private properties is one of the worst examples of damaging underground infrastructure. The cost of the damage exceeded $200mil, and your insurance may not cover you if you damage underground cables, and it can be proven if you have not done a check with BYDA.
As a property owner, you must know where all the services are on your property, especially if you have purchased a property and do not know the history. We also recommend doing a BYD search when considering purchasing a new property.
When you have completed a BYD search, we recommend that you engage a Certified Locator (CLO) to assist in locating the infrastructure in the plans received.
The CLO can also assist in locating other services that are not mapped, for example, a power line from the house to the shed that the previous owner has installed or even empty pipes or septic tanks.
Once the CLO locates the services, we recommend that you record the information on your plan for future reference. Utility service providers generally do not come onto your property and install services without the property owner’s knowledge. Therefore, any new installations can be updated on your records for future reference or for you to hand on to the next owner if you decide to sell one day.
No, Plans are indicative only. Asset owners only record the general locations of their assets. Here is why!
- Asset owners cannot record the exact measurements of depths and alignments because the ground profile could have changed since the cable/pipe was installed, rendering the measurements inaccurate and giving you a false indication of where it is. For example, some underground assets were installed 30 years ago or longer; since then, surface levels could have changed up or down due to floods, agricultural practices etc. Also, misrepresenting property boundaries may occur, e.g., fences may not be in the correct alignment. Asset owners do not have ongoing visibility or control of the environment around their assets, so they do not know if changes have occurred. Misplaced or missing marker posts or relying on old measurements being exact, which people tend to do, is hazardous; therefore, in most cases, measurements for depths/alignments are not supplied by asset owners.
- The asset owner may not have done the actual installation. In many cases, builders, contractors, or property owners install domestic connections,
- Installation of most buried assets was before today’s accurate GPS/GIS technology.
It is reasonable to expect property owners to know what is on their property and their location. Utility companies do not usually install on private property without the property owner’s knowledge or permission at the time of installation. The subsequent problem of not knowing where services are, especially domestic installations, can result from owners not keeping records or not passing that information on when the property changes hands.
Services on private property can either be domestic (terminate within the property) or network passing through the property.
Domestic services do not typically appear on BYD plans, mainly network services.
Domestic services are utilities servicing the property and any privately owned pipes and cables within the property. The property owner or a utility could have installed these services. Unfortunately, you cannot see the utility services lead-in the property in detail on the utility plans. For example, the indication of the water pipe connecting your home to the mains could be simply a line or nothing at all on the plans. In addition, any services installed privately, for example, irrigation pipes or cables extending power to sheds, will not be indicated on utility plans.
Plans usually indicate network services that pass-through properties. These could include an optic fibre cable or a gas main running across your paddock or inside your fence line. Doing a BYD search may indicate the presence of a not-so-obvious service that you otherwise would not have known existed.
Not necessarily. While most of the owners of underground services in Australia are members of BYDA, some asset owners, such as councils, may not be members. A list of all affected asset owners in your area of interest will be on the BYD confirmation sheet that you receive when you submit your enquiry.
Aside from ensuring staff, contractors, the community, and your assets are protected, there are several benefits to becoming a member.
- It is easy to register your assets with the service
- The membership can provide you and your staff with real-time access to all the BYDA request information collected.
- There are associated tools, reports, and dashboards available to let you know who is working around your assets, when they are working, why and what type of work they are performing, which is particularly useful in informing reinstatement works if required.
To find out more about these tools, please send us an enquiry via our contact form, and a BYDA team member will be in touch.
BYDA membership allows asset-owning organisations to register infrastructure assets and provide those planning to excavate in the vicinity of their assets with plans and information.
Non-asset owning organisations can join as a member to show support for the construction industry and safe digging practices.
We work with our many members to register all types of below and above ground assets, including electrical sporting field lighting, parking sensors, trees of significance, cultural and heritage sites, contaminated land, and landfill.