Thursday, September 2, 2010

Call before you dig

I'm taking a lot more Construction Management classes this semester due to my need to graduate. I realized that I have over 170 credits now.  BYU just changed it's policy a few weeks so that it makes it very difficult to change your major once you have over 90 credits. Thank goodness I did all my switching a few years ago instead of now or else I would be stuck with Physics or Industrial Design.

Anyway, I'm taking a lot more Construction Management classes and in one of them we were talking about the importance of calling ahead before starting to excavate for a construction site to check where the pipes and wires are and stuff. Some pretty serious mistakes can happen if you don't double check. For instance, there was one excavating crew who was a little behind and started excavating before getting someone to double check where the gas line was before they started digging. They just went off of the as-built plans, which should be accurate. But this time they weren't. They hit a gas line and caused an enormous explosion. Everyone one the crew died. The people living in neighboring homes died. Buildings within 100 feet of the explosion where just gone. Everything was burnt to a crisp. The worst part is that it could have been completely preventable.

Another serious mistake is what happens if you accidentally cut a phone line? That can be very expensive to replace. However, what is more expensive are the fines. People aren't able to call 911 on a cut phone line. You can actually be fined $1,000,000 per minute if you cut a line. One million dollars! Per minute! That's crazy! But it's a good deterrent. Excavators are very, very cautious now.

I guess you can convince everyone to do something if you charge a million dollars a minute. Speeding tickets? Just charge a million dollars for every mile per hour you go over the limit. Littering? Million dollars for every ounce of trash. Jaywalking? Million dollars per every illegal, offending footstep. You could fund an entire city by just issuing fines one day a year.

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