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New Scheduling Tool May Help Reduce Locating Delays

Iowa One Call has developed a new system/process designed to help reduce locating delays by providing excavators an option at the time of notice to delay excavation start times.  This new process deemed the “Dynamic Start Time System,” will provide excavators with a voluntary option to push out their excavation start times whenever practical.  At the time of preparing a locate notice, online or via the call center, excavators will be prompted to consider extending the start time of their proposed excavation.  Options to extend the start time of an excavation will range between half a day to five business days.  If an excavator chooses not to extend the excavation start time, their notice will be processed using the regular 48-hour default.  Since being mandated in 1993, Iowa’s “one call law,” Iowa Code chapter 480, has provided a statutory exception to the required 48-hour advance notice whenever a mutual agreement has been established and agreed upon between an excavator and an operator/locator.  When properly used, these mutually “agreed to marking schedules” have been shown to help mitigate locating delays by lessening the daily workloads locators are constantly faced with.  The process of establishing a documented agreement with excavators at the time of notice will help reduce potential miscommunication between excavators and locators. 

The new process will not eliminate the option for locators to seek/coordinate additional alternative marking arrangements with excavators, but any alternative to the required 48-hour timeline is subject to an excavator’s approval (agreement).  Any agreed to marking schedule coordinated by locators apart from what excavators set up at the time of notice, via the Dynamic Start Time System, requires specific documentation from the locator/operator as verification that an agreement has been made with the excavator.

Iowa One Call highly encourages excavators to consider utilizing the Dynamic Start Time System to extend excavation start times whenever possible.  It’s understood that deadlines and other commitments will at times make it impractical for excavators to embrace this process.  When practical, however, extending excavation start times can help to ease the number of locates due on a daily, even hourly, basis, which can in turn help to mitigate locating delays.

An image illustrating the Dynamic Start Flow Chart
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