Information is brought to you by
Samir El Fakih
Selector Realty 

Why You Should Check for Underground Utilities Before You Install a Fence


Many utilities that you and your neighbors rely on, including electrical lines, gas lines, sewers, water lines, phone lines and internet lines, are located underground. If you’re thinking about installing a fence on your property, it’s essential to identify and mark the locations of any underground utilities before work commences.

Why It’s Important to Learn Where Underground Utilities Are Located

If someone digs and strikes an underground utility line, it can damage the line and may cause a widespread service disruption or other problems. A gas or water main break or a damaged sewage line can cause serious destruction that can affect your entire neighborhood. 

There can be legal implications for failing to check the locations of utilities before installing a fence. Many states have laws that require homeowners to identify any underground utilities before digging. If damage occurs because you didn’t check, you can be held responsible for repair costs.

The locations of all underground utilities should be clearly marked before any work begins. That will ensure that everyone working on the project knows exactly where utilities are so workers can avoid digging somewhere they shouldn’t.

How to Find Out Where Underground Utilities Are Located

If you hired a contractor or a fencing company to install your new fence, a representative from the company may consult the appropriate resources to identify any underground utilities. Another option is to hire a utility locator, a professional with extensive training and experience who may work for your state’s government or may work independently under contract. A utility locator can gather information from utility companies and use it, along with maps and other data, to pinpoint the exact locations of utility lines on your property and mark them. 

If you’re planning to build a fence yourself, you can obtain that information on your own. In many communities, a homeowner can call 811 to learn about any underground utilities on the property so they can be avoided when doing outdoor work. If you’re unable to get all the information you need from local authorities, you may have to consult blueprints for your property to learn where the utility lines are. 

A professional utility locator has much more training and experience than the average homeowner and will be able to identify the locations of utilities more easily and accurately than you can. The peace of mind you can get from hiring a professional may outweigh the financial cost.

Locate Utilities Before You Decide Where to Put a Fence

You may learn that a utility line in your preferred location will make it impossible to put the fence where you want to. It will be better to learn that before you start planning than to come up with a plan and then have to start over from scratch.

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