What is BC 1 Call?

BC 1 Call provides a public service for British Columbians. Essentially, BC 1 Call is the communications link between the digging community and owners of underground infrastructure. Our purpose is to prevent infrastructure damage that results in unnecessary service interruptions, environmental incidents, and repair costs.

Why would an excavator use BC 1 Call rather than simply coming directly to the member to find out what infrastructure is in their dig site?

While not quite a one-stop-shop for excavators (as not all underground infrastructure owners are members of BC 1 Call), BC 1 Call – as a single point of contact – is able to notify multiple members for the excavator based on a single standardized locate request form and a standardized process. Members notified often include infrastructure owners that the excavator hadn’t thought of. This simplicity and convenience for excavators result in more locate requests being submitted as well as more notifications to members with infrastructure at risk. The benefits of a One Call system are enjoyed by both excavators and owners.

See the Member Information Package section on our
Member Resources page.

What is the Difference between Ground Disturbance and Excavation? Are both types of activity triggers for contacting BC 1 Call ahead of time?

The definition of Ground Disturbance is broader than that for Excavation.  It catches a lot of manual as well as machine-based activities. Anyone planning on undertaking Ground Disturbance should contact BC 1 Call to place a locate request,  and then review and follow safe digging instructions provided by our members to avoid hitting their underground infrastructure lying within the proposed dig site.

  • The definition of Ground Disturbance from the BCCGA Best Practices Version 3.0 is as follows:                                               ]
    • Ground Disturbance: This term refers to any work, operation, or activity on or under the existing surface that results in the disturbance or displacement of the soil or ground cover. The disturbance may include but is not limited to the following activities: digging, excavation, trenching, vertical digging, topsoil stripping, land leveling, tree planting, subsoil aeration, mechanical rock picking, rutting and driving fence posts, bars, rods, pins or anchors.
    • Excavate or Excavation: Excavate or excavation is the movement of earth, rock, or other material below the existing grade. Such an operations may involve the use of explosives, or mechanical or non-mechanical equipment. This activity includes, but is not limited to, auguring, blasting, boring, digging, ditching, dredging, drilling, driving in, grading, plowing-in, pulling-up, ripping, scrapping, trenching, and ,tunneling.
What are the benefits of joining BC 1 Call?

As a source of indirect locate requests for members, BC 1 Call helps reduce the risk of accidents, injury, environmental or facility damage and downtime, as well as improved safety and lower litigation and compensation costs. BC 1 Call is a part of the underground infrastructure damage prevention strategy of our members. For more information consult our Membership page.

We have a procedure in place for handling locate requests. What does BC 1 Call do that we don’t?

Members leverage BC 1 Call as an indirect source of locate requests which might not otherwise be submitted to a member directly. As a result, the member can expect to receive more advance warnings of excavations near their underground infrastructure than if they were not a member.

What are the various Locate Requests?

There are two standard locate requests, which should be used whenever possible, with timeframes built into the user's project plans:

  • Regular Locate Request - submitted for ground disturbance that can be planned for, with BC 1 Call members having 3 business days to respond to the notification of the locate request.  This is the one that should be used in almost all cases.
  • Large Project Locate Request - submitted for a Large Project (see definition), with BC 1 Call members having 5 business days to respond to ensure a quality response to these more complex requests.

When, for circumstances beyond the user's control, less than the standard turn-around times are necessitated, the following locate requests may be submitted, but should not be used in lieu of planning that accommodates BC 1 Call's standard response times:

  • Short Notice Requests are locate requests with a requested response time of less than 3 business days (or 5 for Large Project Locate Requests)
  • Priority Locate Requests - requests for BC 1 Call member responses to be provided in more than 2 hours but less than 3 business days (or 5 for Large Project Locate Requests).
  • Emergency Locate Requests - requests for BC 1 Call member responses to be provided in less than 2 hours to correct a condition that poses and immediate threat to life, health or property where the excavator is on site or en route to begin work.  These locate requests should only be used for emergencies as described, and not for routine work.
Once BC 1 Call receives a locate request, who provides the facility location information?

A member organization that is notified by BC 1 Call of a locate request provides the information to the excavator. i.e. BC 1 Call notifies members of locate requests but does not respond to excavators directly. The member still manages their own procedures for handling locate requests – and uses the same procedure regardless of whether the locate request was submitted directly or indirectly through BC 1 Call.

Is there a charge for an excavator using BC 1 Call?

No, as long as the excavator calls BC 1 Call through our toll-free number 1-800-474-6886 to avoid long-distance charges.

Are members required to provide BC 1 Call with computer-ready maps showing the location of facilities?

No. Computerized mapping is the preferred format for ease of integration with the BC 1 Call mapping system, but BC 1 Call will make every reasonable effort to accommodate the map format provided by members. See Electronic Mapping Conversion Requirements on our Member Resources page.

What are the key responsibilities of a Member?

i.    Respond to notifications of a locate request from BC 1 Call within 3 business days* (Member’s Agreement section 3.5)

ii.   Provide timely and accurate Mapping data updates ( Member’s Agreement section 3.3)

iii.  Require your planners and excavating employees and contractors to submit a locate request before breaking ground

iv.  Annual submission of a new Appendix A with member contact information (Reminder sent with annual fee notice by January 7 each year)

Fulfilling these responsibilities is important to ensure an excellent customer experience by BC 1 Call users.  Quality mapping data and responses reduce damage incidents and drives repeat users

*Large Project response times are 5 business days. A large project is defined as a 60,000m2-800,000 m2 dig site area in a civic setting or an 800,000 m2-4,200,000m2 area in a rural setting. To learn more read our blog post.

How much does it cost to join?

There is a one-time joining fee of $50, and an ongoing membership fee based on locate request driven notifications to members. In 2020, the ongoing membership fee is $2.50 per notification sent to the member. The membership fee is established each fall by the Board of Directors for the following year.

Where can I find Resources for Members

Documents and other helpful information can be found on the BC 1 Call Member Resources page.