Designers

Frequently Asked Questions

Each designer preparing a drawing requiring excavation or demolition work within Pennsylvania shall contact Pennsylvania One Call System to submit a design notice not less than 10, nor more than 90 business days in advance of the final design. Designers can obtain such information more than 90 days before final design is to be completed, but they must note that the work is preliminary.

A new final design notification is required if the scope of the project has changed. 

The date of the most recent design notification should never be more than 90 days prior to the project bid date or date of construction in the absence of a bid.

When contacting Pennsylvania One Call System to request the line and facility information, the information provided should cover the entire scope of the plan or development with enough detail to allow the facility owners to provide the location of their lines in the proposed work area. As much descriptive information as you can provide shall be given to help the facility owner identify the proposed construction area. Please be as specific as you can with the location information. It is very important to describe the site in detail. 

Designers are required to notify the Pennsylvania One Call System not less than ten (10), nor more than ninety (90) days, in advance of the final design. They may request the line and facility information more than 90 days before the final desk is to be completed, but they will need to state the work is preliminary

PA Act 287, as amended notes that a complex project is "an excavation that involves more work than properly can be described in a single locate request or any project designated as such by the excavator or facility owner as a consequence of its complexity or its potential to cause significant disruption to lines or facilities and the public, including excavations that require scheduling locates over an extended time frame." For work that fits the complex project definition, more than a 10 business day notice and should be submitted in Coordinate PA. 

For more information regarding complex projects, please review the Complex Project section in the Resource Library. 

The designer is required to send plans to the involved facility owners for mark up, upon request. These plans can be submitted electronically through the online Drawing Exchange Portal application on the Pennsylvania One Call System website. 

When sending the plans to the facility owner, you are required to add the One Call serial number and the number for the Pennsylvania One Call System, either 1-800-242-1776 or 8-1-1. 

Upon receipt of the design notification, either preliminary or final, the facility owners are required to respond to the requests at midnight ten business days from the locate request submit date. 

The ticket confirmation is your copy of the notification you placed with the Pennsylvania One Call System. The ticket confirmation is automatically sent to all callers who provided an email address and all web users. It includes the serial number, a copy of the ticket information, and the facility owners notified.

Please review the ticket confirmation to ensure that all information is correct. If you discover that the information is incorrect, please place a new notification online or contact the Pennsylvania One Call System at 1-800-242-1776. In addition to making sure that the information is correct, please confim that all the facility owners involved at the site were notified. 

Facility owners are required to respond to all notifications that they recive, either in the design or routine stage. Upon receipt of the design notification, the facility owners can respond in the following ways: 
  • Send plans to the designer directly, or through the Drawing Exchange portal
  • Mark the plans provided by the designer by field location or by another method agreed to by the designer, excavator and facility owner or their agent;
  • Mark the facilities in the field.
The facility owner is required to follow the Common Ground Alliance Best Practices for Temporary Marking (ANSI standard Z535). 

Designers and project owners are required to participate in preconstruction meetings either directly or through a representative. The representative shall be empowered to make decisions on your behalf. In many instances the designer may be the project owner’s representative. Such meetings are encouraged to improve communications between all parties.

The use of Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) or other similar techniques is required on large or complex projects costing $400,000 or more. SUE provides a way to accurately identify the quality of subsurface utility information. The highest level of SUE, Level A, provides precise location information permitting the designer to avoid conflicts with the underground facilities, where possible.

Excavators, designers and other non-member facility owners are obligated by law to pay the annual service fee which is generated with the first call placed during the calendar year.

Participating in one of the groups of professional associations that are members with us covers this annual fee on your behalf as a benefit of your membership with them. The list of participating associations is available on our website. Please forward this invoice to your association immediately in order for your account to be credited.

Homeowners who work on their own residential property or charitable organizations with 501(c)3 designation are exempt from the fee.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) is charged with enforcing PA Act 287, as amended. 

If you observe excavation work and have reason to believe that a one call notification was not placed, you may contact the Pennsylvania One Call System at 1-800-242-1776 to place a No One Call notification. Pennsylvania One Call System will search its records for the worksite you describe to determine if a valid notification was placed. If none is found we will notify the utilities in the area of the excavation work.

​Additionally, any alleged violation should be reported to the PUC by completing an Alleged Violation Report.