Indiana Underground Facilities Bill Signed Into Law

Three-Year Legislative Effort By State’s Utility Construction Leaders Pays Off

The National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA)’s chapter in Indiana completed a three-year effort to address underground facility protection with the signature on March 11 of Gov. Eric Holcomb on House Bill 1122. The state bill delivers reforms to the existing underground facility protections used by the state’s utility construction industry for excavations and trench construction activity.

“It was a culmination of three years to bring all of the stakeholders to an agreement to get this legislation passed.  We view this as a vital steppingstone on our continuing efforts to make Indiana Law 8-1-26 and the Indiana 811 process fair and equitable,” said Kurt Youngs, NUCA of Indiana chapter president.

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The bill passed both the Indiana House and Senate unanimously, demonstrating a strong support across the state for these important reforms.

The bill amends the law governing demolitions and excavations in the area of underground facilities:

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  • Defines further required notifications regarding excavation or demolition
  • Defines the “tolerance zone” of a physical plant for purposes of the clearance that must be maintained between the physical plant and an excavation or demolition
  • Provides that the route or boundary of a proposed excavation or demolition may be marked by electronic means approved by the Indiana Underground Plant Protection Service
  • Requires documentation of required actions through submission of electronic positive responses to the association
  • Provides that notice of intent to conduct an excavation or demolition must be received by the association not more than 10 calendar days (rather than 20 calendar days, under current law) before the commencement of the work, and defines when a notice is received by the association
  • Provides that a notice of intent to conduct an excavation or demolition may specify a starting date and time of the excavation or demolition, which may not be later than 10 days after the time of the association’s receipt of the notice
  • Provides that a notice of intent to conduct an excavation or demolition expires at 11:59 p.m. 20 days after the date the notice is submitted to the association
  • Requires that the association develop and implement guidelines to provide notice to an operator regarding the association’s receipt of a notice of intent of an excavation or demolition, or preliminary engineering studies or construction planning activities
  • Requires a person responsible for an emergency excavation or demolition to provide notice to the association in the manner prescribed by the association (Under current law, notice of an emergency excavation or demolition must be provided orally)

The tireless efforts and strident dedication of NUCA of Indiana members, Board of Director Bruce Dickie (Selge Construction), and Chapter President Kurt Youngs (Youngs Excavating) was paramount in sending this legislation to the Governor’s desk. NUCA National congratulates the chapter for its perseverance to improve the industry and the state’s 811 buried utility line notification service.

More about the bill can be found online at iga.in.gov/legislative/2024/bills/house/1122/details.

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