Reduce your risk by understanding the steps to take before excavating

Rules are made to protect the interests of everyone in society – without them we would live hectic lives with no boundaries.

When it comes to excavation there are stringent regulations in place to protect people and infrastructure. If you are tempted to circumvent them there are penalties in place, but even worse you could cause damage that affects individuals and whole communities which could cost you a lot of money and cause you unknown grief!

Ultimately when you make a decision to commence any type of excavation, without first understanding what underground assets that are on the site, you become liable for any damage that is caused, as well as copping a fine!

All Asset owners in Australia are required to capture and maintain up to date records of their underground assets.

If you are planning a job that needs excavation, you must undertake a complete record search through “Dial Before You Dig”. There may be times when a Certified Locator is required to attend the site as well dependant on each individual building site.

When you have sourced the information you are required to keep the underground assets information on site and accessible to everyone. There are a number of underground asset owners and your site could include assets of any number of these owners, including:

As you can see it could be minefield that you are going to excavate and to protect yourself and those in the community you need to know and follow the rules that apply to everyone in Australia.


You acknowledge that you need to know where your underground assets are located but the why is a whole other story!

Put simply, it is dangerous down there and if you accidently damage one of those assets there is potential damage to life and property, even death.

Two of the common underground assets that could be located on your building site that could cause catastrophic damage are:


Damage to gas assets is a big concern as it may lead to fires and explosions if an ignition source is present.

There are two types of leaks that could happen if gas assets are damaged:

Either situation is dangerous and you do not want to be responsible for putting life and property at risk.


When electricity is involved and there is damage to live electricity cables any injury is usually related to electric shock or the explosive effects of an arcing current, flames or fire. If there is gas present in the trench, or a mixture of gases they could be ignited by the electrical charge which will result in fire or an explosion. The severity of the outcome depends on the gaseous mixture.You can see that there is high risk when undertaking excavation on any site, it needs to be taken seriously. You will be responsible for any damage caused and you do not want loss of life or property on your conscious.

These are just two of the underground assets that need to be located before excavating. The regulations surrounding excavation is in place to protect you, others and property.