Oakville Homes

August 5, 2010

Utilities – why are they shallow????


A few blogs ago, I brought up the issue that our utilities are not really buried in a manner that yells “Safety”.  As I mentioned, I found that my cable and telephone cables were only a few inches below the surface and went right under my garden, where one would expect one to be digging on a continual basis.

I have  just finished putting in a garden wall.  I paid someone to be the job boss and I was the slave labour.  He related some horror stories to me about just how our utilities are buried.  It was shocking to see the lack of concern in regards to our natural gas lines.  He mentioned that when someone puts a pool in, the location of the gas feed line to the heater may not be marked, something of a concern for later work by yourself or a new homeowner.

You would think that when building a new house, all utilities (except the gas) could be put into a conduit that was buried about 4 feet in the ground and thus was protected from fences, gardening and general yard work.  And the gas line buried that deep as well but separate.  But no, they put it so shallow, I think  dog would dig it up trying to bury a bone.

To show you just how bad it is, I put in a base and cap stone for my wall – 2 layers.  I had to dig around the tube holding my cable and telephone cable  and dig under it so that I could put it lower in the ground to accommodate my base stone.  Now, that is shallow.  One shove of the shovel and it would be cut.

I just don’t understand our building inspectors and our building code.  I think it is about time someone started to think that maybe we should bury our utilities so that they do not create a hazard or are subject to damage via normal yard work.  Or, maybe everytime we go to dig a hole for a flower we should call in the utility locators.  It is a free service and maybe after a while, they will start putting it deeper.  No, they will probably charge us and then fine us for not doing it. 

Why build for safety when you can fine people for digging in their yard.  By the way, I know it is $100 to repair a broken telephone line and I hear it is a $1000 for a gas line.  Watch where you dig.

Yes, we are all worried about the environment and charge 5 cents a bag to reduce plastic pollution but don’t even consider the danger and cost of not burying our utilities properly.

Or maybe we should have builders like Mattamy stake out the utility lines so that when we start landscaping the barren land they left us with, we can do so in safety.  You’d think, if anyone, they would be in the best position to know where everything is wouldn’t you. 
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