Pre-mark Your Project

Pre-marking is simply a way to provide the facility owner locators more specific knowledge about where on your property you plan to do the work and lets them focus on just those areas.  Pre-marking needs to be done prior to contacting JULIE.  Pre-marking also reduces the amount of paint and flags left on your property by the locators.

For a single point of digging, like a tree, shrub, flagpole, etc. you can gently place a small stick or similar item into the ground with a white rag tied to it and ask that they mark an area around the stick, for example, a 10-foot radius (Figure 1).

For larger work areas like decks, patios, sheds, pools and the like you can use multiple sticks with white rags to mark the corners of the work area. It is recommended to place the sticks 5 to 10 feet past the actual edges of the work to allow for slight changes in your project as the work involves (Figure 2).

Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3

For jobs that would have you digging a trench, like wires or pipes to a garage, shed, pool or yard feature for power, gas, water or communications lines as well as drain lines from gutter downspouts, place the same type of sticks with rags along your intended path and ask that they mark a path wide enough for your work with a bit of a cushion. For example, locate a 10-foot wide path along the pre-marked path from the corner of the house closest to the garage to the closest side of the garage, or words to that effect (Figure 3).

All of the examples above can also be accomplished by using a white spray paint. Be careful to look for white “inverted” marking paint at your favorite hardware-type stores that sell spray paint.  Inverted paint is meant for this type of use and typically fades and goes away much faster than regular spray paint. White marking flags may also be used as mentioned in the examples above in place of the sticks and rags and may also be available from your favorite hardware-type stores.  It is important not use other colors that may be available.  State law requires white (black if snow is on the ground) and the other colors represent utility lines and can cause confusion at the job site.