New Requirements under Iowa One-Call Law Effective July 1, 2014

Gas Warning FlagMost people know to “call before you dig.” Underground contractors, in particular, need to be familiar with One-Call laws wherever they operate.

On July 1, 2014, several changes to the Iowa One-Call statute went into effect. The statute, as amended, can be found here.

There are two new requirements, in particular, to which Iowa contractors should pay close attention:


Excavators are now required to pre-mark the proposed excavation area with white paint, white flags, white stakes, or all-of-the-above. (Electronic pre-marking is not yet supported, but this will be an option in the future.)

There are two exceptions when pre-marking may not be required, including:

  1. If the precise excavation area can be “clearly and adequately defined and described” on the phone, online, or at the onsite pre-con meeting; or
  2. If physical pre-marking can be shown to be “impractical.”

Relying on these exceptions is risky—if any utility operator disagrees that the exception applies, work might be delayed. To minimize potential delays, contractors should pre-mark excavation areas at the time they provide One-Call notice, unless an exception clearly applies.

Onsite Gas Line Representatives

Another new requirement is that a representative of the gas line operator must be present for excavations performed “within 25 feet of an underground natural gas transmission line.”

There are two important exceptions to this new rule:

  1. The gas line operator and the excavator can agree in writing that the operator need not be present.
  2. If the gas line operator and the excavator have agreed when work will commence in writing, but the gas line operator’s representative doesn’t show up, the excavator can notify the gas line operator (preferably in writing) that the representative failed to appear, and excavation operations can begin, provided the excavator is careful to avoid damaging utility lines.

The best way to avoid unnecessary project delays or unnecessary risks will be to maintain the documents referenced in the statute, every time. This means the excavation start time should always be agreed upon in writing, because you never know when the representative won’t show.

For more information please see the Iowa One-Call Excavators Manual.

Build it right. Keep it real.

© 2014 Welle Law P.C. No unauthorized use or reproduction.

This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be interpreted as legal advice. You should contact your attorney regarding any particular issue or problem. Nothing on this website creates an attorney-client relationship between Welle Law P.C. (or any of its attorneys) and the reader.

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