Register an Asset
with Dial Before you Dig

How Does The Dial Before You Dig System Work?

Anyone wishing to excavate lodges an enquiry with Dial Before You Dig at least two days before the excavation. Once the information is entered into the system, our program determines which members have an asset or interest in the excavation site, and sends a notification known as a referral to them. This alerts them of the intended works. At the same time, our system sends a Confirmation sheet to the excavator with details of the enquiry so you can assess the correctness and advise of any discrepancies.

Once the asset owner has received the referral, they are required to respond to the excavator within two working days. The most common method of responding is by the issuing of site plans which clearly identify where the assets are located. However, members may elect to respond differently depending on the nature of the enquiry. In some cases, members contact the excavator by phone to discuss the site, or meet them on site to discuss the matter in more detail.

What Is The Expected Response Time?

Currently the accepted response time for a member to provide information to the excavator is two working days. Many asset owners who now use automation offer responses to the excavator within 30 minutes, and less. By automating the response, members are providing exceptional service at a much reduced processing cost. Please be aware that some members take up to two working days to respond. You should not start work until you have heard from all the asset owners affected by your inquiry and complied with their directions.

How Does Dial Before You Dig Know Where The Member's Assets Are Located?

We don’t exactly - but our Members do. We work with our Members to create what is known as their Area of Interest. If an enquiry is lodged in or around this area of interest then we send that Member a referral. Then the asset owner replies directly to the customer and this is where the asset owner’s information or plans will describe the location of the asset in much more detail. This Area of Interest may be a street, suburb, postcode, specific region or a corridor created around an asset centre line. Dial Before You Dig will discuss this requirement with you and guide you as to the information we require.

How Much Does It Cost?

Dial Before You Dig NSW/ACT is a Registered Association. Our Members are the asset owners that register their assets on the Dial Before You Dig system. We raise all of our income from membership fees. For new Members in 2021/22 the membership fee in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory is 66 cents per referral plus GST. Existing members are charged a fixed annual fee that is linked back to the number of referrals previously received. In 2021/22 existing members also receive a 10% discount on fees as a temporary measure. There are also minimum annual fees of $100 or $500 plus GST for the year July to June for smaller members.

The Board of Directors and Management review these fees periodically with a view to offering the lowest possible price to members. We are a Not-For-Profit Association so our goal is to offer an exceptional service at the lowest price possible whilst still maintaining a sustainable business.

Are There Any Other Fees?

Dial Before You Dig NSW/ACT does not charge any other fees to member organisations. The membership fee detailed above covers all operational, management and promotional costs of running the service.

How Do Members receive Referrals?

Dial Before You Dig provides referral information in two standard formats to members via a nominated email address. Dial Before You Dig members can select the most appropriate referral method for their business processes:

  • An Adobe PDF Attachment sent via email. Information includes contact details for the person lodging the enquiry as well as address information relating to the proposed excavation site and an image showing the proposed excavation area. This format is suitable for members that do not have a GIS system or have not adopted an automated response mechanism.


  • A text-based Email with specific text fields. This email can also include a graphic image (gif file) attachment showing the proposed excavation site, as well as GIS information (gml file) attachment that can be used to automate the response process with a GIS system. The preferred method of sending referrals to a member is via email to a generic email address that can be accessed by one or more people and is not made redundant if a person leaves an organisation.

For example

Information for Members and excavators on using the Dial Before You Dig system is available at this link.

How Do Members Respond to Referrals?

The preferred response method for sending information to customers is via email, with fax and then
post as the next options. Dial Before You Dig encourages all customers to provide an email address
to minimise possible delays with receiving information from members.

Any plans provided to customers should have sufficient quality and clarity to ensure that they are
easily interpreted and where more than one type of pipe or cable is shown on the plan, markers used
should be able to be distinguished in black and white (e.g. use of short and long dash lines).

If plans are sent in an electronic format, they must be in a format that is suitable for printing at A4
size with a black & white printer.

The information given to customers should include at least the following:

Where information is provided by email,  the Job Number and Sequence Number should appear in the subject title. 
For example - Dial Before You Dig Job No 1234567, Seq No 98765432, Street Name, Suburb.

A cover sheet with;

The Job Number and Sequence Number;
Customer contact information;
Address information for the proposed work site;
Member/Asset Owner contact details for more information, explanation of plans or request for site visit;
An indication of whether or not underground networks are affected.

Plans clearly indicating;

The Job Number and Sequence Number;
Member/Asset Owner contact details;
The proposed excavation site as supplied by the customer;
The location of assets clearly marked within the excavation site and within the area covered by the plan;
Street names with property boundaries and numbers;
A legend, scale and north indicator.
Any other information that is relevant for the excavation site.

Notes relating to accuracy of information;

Technical notes relating to working close to the member’s pipes or cables;
Safety requirements for working close to the member’s pipes or cables;
Legal statements relating to liability, conditions, warranties or any other legal requirements;

A “Valid To” Date (Recommended twenty-eight (28) days from date of issue).

Currently this may vary although Dial Before You Dig encourages 28 days as a standard. Members may also choose to respond to enquiries by meeting on site with the customer to discuss the proposed work and the location of their underground pipes or cables.

What Other Member Responsibilities are there?

In addition to information about the location of underground assets, Dial Before You Dig Members should also include other information about working safely at excavation sites and any permits that may be required before work commences.

They should also provide additional assistance to customers to help understand information that is provided including assistance with locating underground pipes and cables to minimise risk where necessary. This assistance must at a minimum be provided by telephone and if appropriate, arrangements should be made to meet with the customer on site if it becomes apparent that the proposed works may impact on their safety and the safety of the infrastructure.

Members are also encouraged to support and promote the Dial Before You Dig service. Ultimately this will help protect their valuable assets.

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