Yes construction can and does take place all year long. But in the Midwest where frost can get down to about three to five feet, activity tends to drop off as winter sets in. We typically use this time indoors to plan for next year’s projects, and as the robins show up and warmer breezes blow in, we start setting up project schedules for the year. But as we kick things into gear, we want to remember the importance of calling for utility locates before we sink any shovels into the jobsite. To help promote this important step in the construction process, the Common Ground Alliance launched its annual support of National Safe Digging Month.
You can check out their website for resources and graphics that you may be able to use for your operations. And if you are a community, you may be able to use some of the graphics to promote calling before digging with your residents. It’s surprising how easy it can be to hit utilities sometimes doing things you wouldn’t even think would cause a problem. I was on a jobsite once where the contractor was securing the site at the end of the day. One of the workers was pounding in metal fence posts to hold up the orange construction fencing around the site. He pounded one right through a communication cable. Some of the crew ended up having to stay until the utility could repair the cable. The worst part of it was after he broke it, he noticed the line had been marked – he had pounded the pole right into the orange line. He most likely didn’t think pounding a metal fence post could break it like digging could. It was a good lesson to me that before you do anything in an area of a locate where you are putting something in the ground, you need to locate that utility first or move away from it if possible.