Private Utility Locating

Call before you dig!

You will be familiar with terms like the Manitoba Hydro "Call before you dig", which suggests that below the land surface area that you may be considering digging, there could be public utility lines and other services running through the ground.

People often refer to this as private utility locating, utility locates, line locating or simply utility locating.

Why this is important?

Identifying underground electrical and natural gas lines before you dig is important to prevent personal injury or equipment damage. It can result in costly repairs, injuries and sometimes death.

What if I'm only digging 12 inches or less deep?

Buried utilities can be just inches below and damaging electrical, gas, water, sewer or fiber optics can be expensive and dangerous. This is why anytime you are considering digging, you should consider getting some utility locating assistance to make sure you do not disturb the underground utilities just below the surface.

Is calling "Click Before You Dig" enough?

Not always, as not all line locating companies are registered with Click Before You Dig and we can work with you to ensure that if you dig, you don't compromise all underground electrical, gas or fiber optics infrastructure.

How can Lawson help and what utility locating services do they provide?

Utility Locating

Upon being called to a job site, our service technicians will locate the utilities within the specified work area. They will identify and mark the utilities with a corresponding paint mark or pin flag in the appropriate color according to the uniformed color codes used by the CPWA.

We use multiple locating methods while onsite to ensure the discovery of all the locatable underground utilities.

In doing so, our crews follow a comprehensive procedure made up of 6 steps:

  1. Trace all surface features within the work area through direct connection.

  2. Verify routes of surface features outside the work area through direct connection.

  3. Verify routes of utility feeds to the adjacent buildings through direct connection.

  4. Perform passive scans by sweeping circumference or grid scanning using all frequencies.

  5. Perform an inductive scan by dropping the transmitter in strategic areas.

  6. Perform two-man sweeps.

Upon completion of the utility locating, we create electronic sketches and findings reports as part of our standard deliverables. Advanced reports for all services and commentary on images are also available upon request.

Utility Mapping

We can also use one of our survey grade GPS systems to collect coordinate points of where the utilities were marked to a high degree of accuracy. These coordinates are processed by a technologist in our office, who will import them into our CAD software and create a scaled 2D map of the work area.

This final completed 2D CAD map with overlaying utility lines and approximate depths is then sent to you in a variety of file types to provide you with all the information needed to proceed with the project.


As part of our line locating procedures our crews can use their locating equipment to inductively place a signal on any metallic buried facility that you may or may not know about. A sweep consists of two people walking in parallel for the entire length of the Right of Way or work area, then turning around and coming back at a 45-degree angle. The crew then switches the direction of this technique twice. This is commonly referred to as a 4-way sweep is an industry best practice.

GPS Mapping

Lawson can work with you using a variety of technologies and mapping services to identify line locations, helping you get a clear and concise analysis of your designated underground location.

Using GPS technologies and ground penetrating radar equipment (GPR), we can provide CAD drawings and utility maps for precise and accurate mapping information about the subsurface utilities.

We perform grid sweeps to locate subsurface utilities at varying angles to ensure that underground facilities oriented at oblique angles are detected. This sweep will be conducted on all sides of the work area and any other area that the ground disturber determines will be disturbed.

Why is a digital CAD drawing or utility map better than utility lines that are marked by paint?

A digital CAD drawing and utility map offers additional long term benefits versus utility lines that were typically marked by paint on the surface of the ground because pain can be washed away or removed when grass is cut.

A digital CAD drawing and utility map offers a long term digital map of the electrical, gas, water, sewer or fiber optics landscape, significantly reducing the risk of causing a disturbance to the subsurface utilities.

Where does Lawson provide line locating, ground disturbance and sweep services?

We provide line locating, ground disturbance and sweep services in the following areas:

  1. Manitoba,
  2. Ontario
  3. Saskatchewan
  4. Alberta
  5. British Columbia

How do I work with Lawson for line locating?

For more information about line locating, you can call Lawson at 204-414-3169 or email

Unite Interactive