Toowoomba first council to require certified locators

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The Toowoomba Regional Council in Queensland has become the first local government in Australia to require the use of Dial Before You Dig certified locators.

DBYD launched its certified locator program in October 2015. It is now administered by a separate entity, DBYD Certification Ltd, and is endorsed by Telstra, Optus, Queensland Water, Ergon Energy Network, Energex and NULCA Australia.

Toowoomba Regional Council mayor Paul Antonio said DBYD locator certification would be incorporated progressively into the council’s procurement processes. “The full implementation will not happen overnight and part of this journey is by informing our contractors of procurement requirements,” he said.

“As we renew contracts through our procurements we will gradually be requiring all contract holders to be accredited. We will be working with our suppliers, as we have with Council’s Office of Federal Safety Commission accreditation, to guide them through process of accreditation for future contracts.”

The general manager of DBYD Queensland, Paul Newman, is credited with being the driving force behind the scheme. He said that, prior to launch of the scheme, there had been no real standard for the locating industry.

“Locating had been an unregulated business that allowed anyone to go out, purchase a locating device, set themselves up as a business and they were on their way,” Newman said.

“Through the DBYD Locator Certification Program, certified locators now can have a nationally recognised industry qualification that distinguishes them from ‘DIY’ or self-authorised locators.”

He urged other councils to “take the same steps to protect their assets by adopting the nationally accredited certification program.”

Jeff Moore, the owner of Locating Unlimited, writing of the certification scheme on his LinkedIn page, said the bar for certification had been set deliberately high.

“A rigorous theory exam coupled with a comprehensive field assessment by an independent assessor has been designed to determine the competency levels of the locator undertaking the assessment. ... A 96 percent theory mark and 100 percent practical mark [are] required before [a locator] being deemed competent and  

being awarded certification.”

He added: “This process has caught many locators by surprise, with a reported 25 percent of locators failing the assessment (this figure is claimed to be as high as 75 percent by experienced locator Ben Minutoli of Geelong Cable Locations).”

Information about the program is available at www.dbydlocator.com

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