Breaking new ground with Dial Before You Dig Online
Gas Networks Ireland(GNI), the operator of Ireland’s gas network is launching a new online version of its Dial Before You Dig mapping service in October. The new online service, which complements the existing Dial Before You Dig phone and email service will make it easier than ever to check whether there are underground gas pipes on a site before you commence work. The easy-to-use Dial Before You Dig Online can be accessed at www.gasnetworks.ie.
Throughout Ireland, vast underground networks of pipes and cables supply vital utilities including gas, water, electricity and telecommunication services, operating safely and efficiently, day and night, to keep Ireland functioning. But when these utilities are damaged by construction work it can cause major disruption, or even serious injury or death.
Gas Networks Ireland operates the 14,390 km national gas network, which supplies clean, affordable and efficient natural gas to over 700,000 homes, businesses and industries across Ireland. Gas Networks Ireland is responsible for the safety of the gas network.
Last year, there were 550 incidents of damage to the low and medium pressure gas distribution networks, mostly in urban and suburban locations and there were nearly 50 instances of unauthorised excavation near the high-pressure gas transmission network, mostly located in rural areas. In the first half of 2019, there have already been nearly 350 incidents of damage to the distribution network – a sharp increase, driven by the current construction boom.
A key control to prevent this risk of damage is access to utility maps from utility owners. All utility owners operate systems to provide maps of their pipes and cables on request.
In 2018, the GNI Dial Before You Dig service dealt with nearly 10,000 such requests and has already seen a 15% increase in requests in the first half of 2019, compared to the same period in 2018.
The new online service makes it easier than ever to ensure a safe dig. Users can select the location they want drawings for, check out the gas network at that location and have the drawings emailed to them. Vital drawings, that would normally take 48 hours or longer to arrive, will be available in minutes, day or night.
Owen Wilson, Networks Safety Manager with Gas Networks Ireland, said “Any responsible contractor will want to make sure that they operate a safe site. Obtaining maps of underground services is a critical step when planning any excavation. Our new online Dial Before You Dig service can provide these drawings far quicker and easier than ever before.”
Paul O’Brien, Gas Networks Ireland Design Services Manager with responsibility for the Dial Before You Dig service, added “Before we embarked on developing this new system, we surveyed users of our current system and asked them what they’d like from an online system. We’ve incorporated their feedback into this service so we’re really confident that it will deliver everything that users want and more”.
Users who prefer phone or email will still be able to contact Gas Networks Ireland by calling 1850 42 77 47 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to request maps as they have always done.