Marc Krichman, President and Managing Director
All contractors know that before breaking ground, they must follow a mandated 811 ticketing process that summons local utility companies to mark any underground infrastructure at the construction site. This safety measure is designed to prevent utility damages, injury or death, and environmental harm. With over 20 million miles of buried utilities in the United States, there have been over 27 million 811 tickets created by commercial contractors in 2021, and the volume is about to shoot up with a widespread rise in construction projects amid the implementation of the new Bipartisan Infrastructure law.
However, far from a one-stop transaction, the 811 ticketing process comprises multiple steps and deadlines, as well as various stakeholders, including: utilities, notification centers, and contractors serving as excavators. A large portion of managing the process falls upon excavating contractors, who rely predominantly on administrative staff and spreadsheets to concurrently track hundreds of 811 tickets. This manual approach gets unwieldy, fast becoming an insatiable beast that requires increasing administrative labor to manage the many details associated with each 811 ticket, from renewals to documentation to state-specific requirements. Inevitably, manually managing all these moving parts leaves plenty of room for human error and ultimately exposes contractors to serious risks such as compliance violations, revenue loss, lawsuits, and injury or death. Lacking the right technology, contractors have been stuck in this predicament––until now.
811spotter solves this major issue with a software platform that automates 811 ticket management. Built specifically for contractors, 811spotter provides full visibility into ticket information, along with the ability to track all utility member responses and ensure end-to-end documentation of the entire process.
“811 ticket management systems were built to provide convenience to utilities ––not contractors,” says Marc Krichman, president and managing director of 811spotter. “811spotter is purpose-built for contractors to streamline and lighten their workload for maximum productivity.”
Eliminating Longstanding Challenges for Contractors
According to the latest report by the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), underground utility damages cost an estimated $30 billion per year; contractors are cited as the leading cause of damages. Another recent study by the Infrastructure Protection Coalition finds that 811 system inefficiencies amount to $61 billion a year in waste and cost overruns, largely caused by systematic disorganization and miscommunications across all parties within the 811 ecosystem.
As excavators, contractors face an outsized number of challenges, from legal to logistical. By default, a contractor is held responsible for underground utility damages – and the burden of proof falls on the contractor to prove otherwise.
What’s more, excavation laws vary by state, adding complexity for multistate contractors.
But the most profound challenge that contractors face is the lack of sufficiently advanced technology to help them manage the nitty gritty documentation of the 811 process for their benefit and protection. By harnessing the power of automation, 811spotter allows contractors to stay ahead of all required dates and keep the tickets active, ruling out any administrative liability. Contractors can also document the entire process from 811 ticket generation through the excavation to keep an auditable trail of steps and actions that help them comply with safety and damage prevention guidelines and offer protection against any future claims.
Leveling the Playing Field
Instead of tracking endless paper records, outdated spreadsheets and cluttered email folders, contractors now simply need to raise a dig ticket request, and 811spotter takes care of the rest. Integrating its platform with ticket notification systems, 811spotter receives the information every time a contractor raises a ticket request. The platform is automatically populated with necessary details at every step. It centralizes all standard 811 ticket information, including dates, utility member contacts, responses, site photos, documents, and notes.
811Spotter has been recognized as Top 10 Construction Mobile Apps – 2022 by Construction Tech Review magazine special edition on Construction Mobile App 2022.
On some occasions, contractors need to access project details while on the go, or when they are out in the field to deploy construction crews in a timely manner. This becomes quite an arduous task with a manual 811 management process. But now, with the unhindered accessibility that 811spotter brings to the table, contractors can store all process documentation in the cloud, which is available to contractors regardless of location. Contractors can also use the 811spotter dashboard to view the latest ticket status and the actions taken against each.
“By unifying all ticket-related information into one platform, 811spotter reduces the administrative burden on contractors while improving safety and compliance standards for construction excavation,” states Krichman.
Apart from its groundbreaking functionalities, 811spotter also ensures clients can reap the platform’s benefits in a variety of ways. It is available as a web application and a mobile app for the field. Whether at the desk or in the field, contractors can log in-to the application to see the status of each ticket across different metrics by looking at the red, yellow, and green indicators beside every ticket. By looking at the status, contractors can prioritize based on urgency and reach out to relevant stakeholders as needed.
811spotter also alerts contractors on ticket status through push notifications. For example, if a contractor is responsible for ten tickets, the platform sends that contractor an email showing the status of all tickets, along with relevant dates associated with each ticket. The contractor can also sift, sort, and filter to a particular location to see the live status of each 811 ticket.
Transforming Construction Operations
Today, 811spotter automates tens of thousands of tickets per month. These live customer deployments are ushering in significant results, earning 811spotter the go-to 811 ticket management solution for contractors. Q&D is one such success story.
The multi-state contractor had previously spent copious amounts of time and money on outdated 811 ticket management processes. The company’s system for managing tickets was clunky, far from user-friendly, and required round-the- clock monitoring. With nearly 60 tickets expiring at the same time, Q&D Construction could barely differentiate between new and old tickets without checking them one by one. What’s more,, as dig laws differ from state to state, Q&D Construction had to spend extra time sorting tickets for each state. After 811spotter came to the rescue, the company was able to organize all tickets in a readily accessible and searchable manner. The Q&D team immediately gained complete visibility on utility responses through 811spotter’s dashboard, as well as from its weekly notifications of tickets requiring renewal, tailored to each state’s laws.
“With 811spotter, I do not have to spend much time worrying about renewals. Just one click and I can see when the tickets are expiring, and if there are none that day, I just turn it off and focus on more important things,” says Jered Davidson, Traffic Control Manager at Q&D Construction.
Today, Q&D Construction manages an average of 200 tickets monthly through 811spotter. The company also has complete visibility into ticket status in the field, which helps them enhance worksite safety and avoid damages to underground utilities.
Another happy 811spotter is MGE Underground, a leading utility infrastructure contractor. The company had previously managed 2000 active tickets through a technically deficient, labor-intensive process that required numerous full-time employees to sift through hundreds of emails every day, to document the process for 2000 tickets on a spreadsheet and to call in for renewals. This manual proved to be a monumental time consuming endeavor prone to human errors such as overlooking expired tickets.
The 811 ticketing damage prevention ecosystem was built to provide convenience to utilities––not contractors. 811spotter is purpose-built for contractors to streamline and lighten their workload for maximum safety and productivity.
Upon implementing 811spotter, MGE Underground effectively streamlined its ticket management process with complete transparency into utility member responses and documentation. Moreover, 811spotter brought new capabilities such as damage reporting and digital submission to reporting agencies, as well as a better mobile experience with offline mode, which enables the MGE crew to access the information digitally from any location and operate with efficiency.
After one year 12,000 dig tickets and 2500 tickets monthly with 811spotter, MGE Underground credits 811spotter for generating over USD 200,000 in operational savings and rapid business growth. “Now, our teams don’t have to babysit their tickets. 811spotter is a massive time saver for us,” says Daniel Martin, Lead Project Manager at MGE Underground.
Dedicated to easing the 811 ticketing process for contractors, 811spotter has established a solid customer base throughout California and Nevada and is planning to expand its clientele across the U.S.
For too long, contractors have had to use tedious and less effective solutions to manage 811 tickets. With 811spotter, contractors are now empowered to manage 811 tickets at scale, reduce administrative costs, maintain compliance and safety, and focus on the business of building