Great Oak Digging Requirements

Buildings 2019-03-18


Unit owners are financially responsible for damages due to digging in their LCEs, and ought to call Miss Dig before starting work.


Due to the tight layout of the buildings on our site, there is a great deal of critical infrastructure buried in the ground. Examples include wiring for our local internet service, power supplies for the hot boxes that keep our water meters from freezing, main utility lines (gas and electric), water and sewer lines, storm drains and landscape lighting.

Naturally we don't want to dig up or damage any of these items due to the danger, repair cost and inconvenience to the community. Until now, we have not had any explicit policy about digging on the Great Oak property, and fortunately there have been few problems. F&L has suggested that Buildings propose a policy to ensure that none of our underground infrastructure is damaged, and clarify what will happen if damage does occur.

In this proposal we've specified a depth of 12 inches as the trigger for performing the steps below. You should know that some wiring, such as internet cables and low-voltage landscape lighting, may not be buried that deep! We recommend following steps 2 and 3 below for any digging in a new area, even if it will be shallow.

Some units that may have the shallowest wiring (internet, landscape lighting) include 1, 6, 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, 25, 31 and 35.

One critical step is to call Miss Dig before starting work. Miss Dig provides a free service to homeowners and excavators via a web requests (, or by placing a toll free call to 811 or 800-482-7171. Miss Dig alerts utilities, who then come out and locate their infrastructure. Miss Dig does not accept responsibility for locating and marking non-utility infrastructure, however, so it is also important to check in with the Buildings Committee.

Buildings has as-built drawings of the underground infrastructure, provided to us by the developers. These drawings represent the best information we have about what was in the ground at the close of construction. The scale in the diagram is 40 feet to the inch, and so the exact location of utilities is cannot be known precisely. Buildings would characterize the drawing as a fairly accurate schematic rather than a spot-on surveyor's drawing. Digging should be performed with this, and the nature of the nearby utilities, in mind. For example, hitting a DTE main power line is more dangerous than hitting a low-voltage landscape lighting line (although we want to avoid hitting either!). Buildings can also fill you in about items we have added since initial construction, that are not shown on the original diagram.

If you rent your unit, we recommend that renters be advised of this policy, and that your lease addresses the issue of possible damage due to digging caused by your renter.


Unit owners are responsible for damage to underground infrastructure due to digging in their LCEs. This responsibility extends to unit owners that implement personal projects (e.g. orchards) in common areas.

For any personal or community project that involves digging more than 12 inches deep, or digging with power equipment, we require owners or committees to complete the three steps listed below. We strongly recommend that you follow steps 2 and 3 if you are digging in a new area of your LCE.

Unit owners and their contractors should understand that if infrastructure damage occurs, the owner is responsible for the cost of repairs. You should submit a claim to your homeowner...s insurance. (It is a good idea to check your coverage before beginning work.) If the unit owner's insurance does not cover the damage, the unit owner is responsible for the cost of repairs. The unit owner is responsible for the insurance deductible, if any.

1. Call Miss Dig
At least 3 business days prior to conducting the excavation, contact Miss Dig by calling 811 or 1-800-482-7171 or at Ensure that they have actually come and marked the relevant utilities prior to digging.

2. Refer to the as-built map from Buildings
Check in with Buildings Committee to find out what is underground in the area you want to dig. We can and generally should provide your contractor with a copy of the relevant area of the drawing.

3. Hand dig whenever possible. If your hole will be close to utilities depicted on the as-built drawing, we recommend avoiding mechanical digging equipment if at all possible. If something is damaged, notify Buildings immediately.

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