If you're a first-time excavator visiting the BC1C website, you might be wondering what a locate is and why you need to request one before you dig.


Locates are ground markers for utility lines labelled on excavation sites and are outlined by associated documentation. They are colour-coded and correspond to the utilities they contain.

Hastiness in rushed on-site operations has resulted in millions of dollars worth of damage throughout British Columbia, halting operations and eliminating work for contractors on excavation sites throughout the province. Kelowna had 94 incidents of damage to natural gas lines in the past 18 months alone. Despite this high number, Kelowna ranks third behind Vancouver and Surrey.

How can we reduce damage to underground utilities?

There is a simple step that could help eliminate most of these incidences: click, call or check before you dig. This step is unfortunately often overlooked in many excavation jobs throughout the province. For decades, BC 1 Call has provided the means for contractors and homeowners to detail site plans so they can proceed cautiously through the mapping of “locates.” The ability to request a locate gives excavators the means to avoid serious harm and delays that could result in breaking utility lines.

Knowing the locate mapping for a site isn’t a suggestion – it’s a requirement for every site and it is free of charge. Adhering to the layout of “locates” is not only a way to prevent unnecessary expenses, but a vital safety tool for any excavation team.

An incident in St. Cloud, Minnesota that injured 15 people and destroyed 6 surrounding buildings a mere 40 minutes after a gas line was struck is an alarming example of what could happen when a utility line is hit.  And while damage caused by a team can pose a threat to the general area around it, it poses a much more immediate threat to the health and safety of labourers. Despite the potential for risk, excavators continue to overlook this critical step in the process.

Don’t let this happen to you or your team. Request a locate on our website or via phone and use the utility maps provided by BC 1 Call before you dig your next excavation site.

How to request a locate

Online: 24/7 at bc1c.ca
By Phone: Monday to Friday, 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM PST (excluding holidays) at  1-800-474-6886
Emergency calls: Any time, any day at 1-800-474-6886

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