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Topic # 107427 11-Aug-2012 09:35 Send private message

I need to dig a hole at the front of our place to install a new letterbox (thanks to some scumbag stealing ours overnight). In the area that I live, all services are buried underground, so I'm a little apprehensive about just digging, just in case I hit one. I only need to dig about 40-50cm down, so I'm not even sure whether my concerns are justified.

The last time I had to do something like this was when I dug a trench for foundations for a garden wall I built in Australia. Over there, they had a "Dial before you dig" service, which you could ring up and get plans to show you the locations of all the services in your area. And when you were digging, you hit some yellow warning ribbon well before you hit the actual wires or pipes that may be buried down there.

What precautions do I need to take here? I tried doing a little investigation, but my Google Fu only threw up results that seemed to be more suited to contractors performing much larger excavations. The advice was along the lines of:-

1) Contact each service provider separately to get a map of their services for your area
2) Refer to the map when digging, but don't take it for gospel
3) Use specialist equipment to detect buried services, but don't take it for gospel
4) Due to the above possible inaccuracies, you may want to arrange for a company rep to be present

Is it really necessary for all this for a simple hole out the front? And are there approaches I can take to ensure I can make a reasonably accurate educated guess as to where I could dig without disturbing services?

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  Reply # 670918 11-Aug-2012 09:39 Send private message

40 - 50 cm is nothing just digging if you got a huge post hole digger then it would different




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  Reply # 670926 11-Aug-2012 10:01 Send private message

http://www.beforeudig.co.nz/

Chorus are usually really helpful with this kind thing. With the depth your digging you probably don't have to worry about hitting a cable but you can contact them just to be on the safe side. As you can see on the website the fees are pretty hefty if you damage a cable.




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  Reply # 670927 11-Aug-2012 10:01 Send private message

If digging by hand with a spade you should be fine, those maps are almost a waste of time, often refer to them and they are wrong.

Post hole borer would easily go through services, but digging yourself you should be fine.

There is a chance that services are not buried deep like they should be, but doubt you will stumble across them under your letter box.

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  Reply # 670928 11-Aug-2012 10:02 Send private message

If you're only digging down a short way with a shovel, it shouldn't be a problem.

It's not like you're using a mechanical digger.



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  Reply # 670938 11-Aug-2012 10:36 Send private message

Thanks guys, I hoped that would be the case. But I didn't want to end up making a shocking discovery (pun intended (sorry))

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  Reply # 670944 11-Aug-2012 11:09 Send private message

Moved to right forum...




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  Reply # 670946 11-Aug-2012 11:18 Send private message

And the yellow ribbon thing is true from what I've been told, lecturers have told us this, I've seen it been put down on building sites and such too, it may depend on how old the property is but just still look out for it.





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  Reply # 670960 11-Aug-2012 11:49 Send private message

tardtasticx: And the yellow ribbon thing is true from what I've been told, lecturers have told us this, I've seen it been put down on building sites and such too, it may depend on how old the property is but just still look out for it.


The house is about 9 years old, and that is probably a reasonable indication of the age of the subdivision it resides in too.

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  Reply # 670964 11-Aug-2012 12:07 Send private message

We have drainage etc on our property that dosent show on any plans anywhere.... I dread to think what else is running under our yard that isnt mentioned anywhere.

Theres even a manhole (with the usual "council" type logo/cover) down the drive, and when you open it, theres pipes but its the cleanest and driest pipe ever seen.... noone knows what it was for or anything... Im tempted to drop an RC car down with a torch and camera and see where it goes ;)




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  Reply # 670982 11-Aug-2012 12:51 Send private message

Wear sunscreen.




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  Reply # 671002 11-Aug-2012 13:26 Send private message

Or a rain coat




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  Reply # 671022 11-Aug-2012 14:38 Send private message

Pipes have to be a min of 400mm deep and cables 600mm. So you should be right

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  Reply # 671034 11-Aug-2012 14:46 Send private message

There usually is tape across the top of the pipe, which gives you a bit of warning. The other thing to watch for is if you start digging and you hit some gravel, quite a few pipes sit in a trench which is filled in with gravel then covered in dirt.

On the other hand, nothing is ever done according to plan or is where it should be, so you're probably safer to try and hire the Wizard of New Zealand to do some magic and tell you where the pipes are.

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  Reply # 671044 11-Aug-2012 14:56 Send private message

Of course at the end of the day you could always just put the new mailbox where the old one was, safe in the knowledge that there's already a hole there.




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  Reply # 671049 11-Aug-2012 15:04 Send private message

SaltyNZ: Of course at the end of the day you could always just put the new mailbox where the old one was, safe in the knowledge that there's already a hole there.


The old mailbox was screwed to the fence, and sat in a hole that would be no more than 10cm deep. In fact, its probably stretching things to call it a hole at all.

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