Whether your basement is beneath a ranch house or a mansion, adding windows to it requires one identical process – digging a big hole! To ensure people dig those holes safely, and to reduce the risk of property damage or personal injury, the Common Ground Alliance has declared April to be “Safe Digging Month.”
What’s beneath your feet?
For homeowners, the answer could be power lines, cables, gas pipes and sewer lines. As more and more townships beautify themselves, more and more of the essential wiring that keeps our cities ticking has been transferred beneath our feet.
For homeowners in the process of adding egress windows to their basements, this potentially causes an issue. Every year, dozens of people are injured and tens of thousands of dollars in property damage occurs as a result of people accidentally cutting through power cables – or worse.
This is why the Common Ground Alliance has set up their 811 call service. It’s simple – before you start digging, call them up and they’ll let you know what important utilities could be buried beneath your feet.
If you’re adding a Complete Egress Kit to your basement, this is a vital step to take before you start digging. Whether you’re breaking ground yourself, or hiring a professional to finish the project, discovering what’s underground before you start digging could save you thousands of dollars – or even your life.
To use the 811 service, simply pick up the phone a few days prior to digging. They’ll connect you to the local One Call Center in your area and research what power lines, utilities and other services could be buried beneath your yard. The local utility companies will be notified and within a few days, they’ll come out to your property and clearly mark where their lines and cables run. Here’s a guide to the colors and flags you can expect to see:
The area you intend to excavate for your basement windows should be clearly outlined in white, to see if any of the cables or wires intersect it.
It’s unlikely that this will force you to change your basement redesign plans, but it never hurts to research thoroughly before you begin. In suburban neighborhoods, especially, you might cut out power to entire city blocks by cutting through a single power cable – and could face hefty fines and criminal charges as a result.
To use 811, just call it – 8-1-1 – or visit www.call811.com for more information.