BILD Calgary Region

Bulletin – July 2, 2021

Tom Strangward, Senior Coordinator, Technical & Standing Committees

Housing starts in advance of shallow utility construction has become commonplace in the Calgary region.  Although this is not ideal, it cannot always be avoided in some developments in the City of Calgary.  The Shallow Utilities Consortiums’ project management representatives work with the site Prime Contractor (Developer or Developer Representative) and builder representatives for each project to plan and schedule work where housing starts, obstacles, material storage, or other conflicts and safety considerations exist in relation to the shallow utility contractor’s proposed work plan.  This was previously addressed through a 2008 joint task force with UDI – Calgary, the CHBA – Calgary Region and the Shallow Utilities Consortium, who released multiple bulletins in July 2009 and re-issued in December 2015.

In the interest of construction efficiency and to ensure everyone goes home safely, the expectations and responsibilities originally identified by UDI (BILD Calgary Region), the Canadian Home Builders Association – Calgary, and the Shallow Utilities Consortium remain important and are revisited below.

Expectations on the Worksite

  • Site safety must be the priority at all times, for the Developer as the Prime Contractor in URD projects, as well as shallow utilities contractors and Builders working on the site.
  • Daily site cleanup is a must. Control over debris from the site must be maintained. Trenches are not to be used for refuse and all those working on the site must exercise due diligence when discarding material.
  • The trenches must be left clear and accessible at all times. Open trenches will be marked with safety signage and it is expected that all workers will respect this and act accordingly.
  • Parking is a significant concern. In some cases, the location may need to change to accommodate the trenching schedule. It is expected that the builder will advise their site personnel in advance of any change.
  • Waste bin locations and pickups should be planned around the utility construction plan and schedule.
  • Material drop offs should be handled in the same manner. Should material need to be dropped in the immediate area, coordinate the timing so drop offs occur before the utility contractor needs access to build or work in the trench.

Developer or Developer Representative Responsibilities

  • Acting as the Prime Contractor, the Developer should provide the prime contractor site representative contact information to the shallow utility consortium representative and contractor.
  • Ensure that an appropriate developer representative attends the site kick off meeting for the Shallows and reviews the road crossings, lay down areas, trench plans, access, and/or any non-builder related issues.
  • It is recommended that developer, as the prime contractor, be directly involved and that this not be left solely to individual consultants, to ensure consistency and proper due diligence.
  • If additional site meetings are deemed necessary, the Developer shall attend.
  • Developer to identify all where home construction is occurring or expected to begin in advance of shallow utility installation. Where possible, this information should be made available to the Shallow Utilities Consortium prior to construction start as scheduling and duration are impacted by slower installations can occur where Housing Starts exist.
  • Developer to ensure that appropriate builder representatives attend the coordination meeting to understand the shallow utilities construction schedule and to enable proper coordination of home construction activities. Activities are to be coordinated so as to not result in conflicts between the shallow utilities construction and home construction activities.
  • Weekly follow up meetings may also be requested with consistent attendance expected.
  • Developer to advise Builders to host meetings with trades and sub-contractors to outline the schedule of work, trenching guidelines and safety expectation. This is an integral part of the process to ensure the work gets done in a timely and safe manner.
  • Confirm the understanding of the terms and conditions around housing start impacts to shallow utility trenching.

Shallow Utilities Responsibilities

  • Confirm with the Developer to identify where home construction is expected to begin in advance of shallow utility installation.
  • Request Prime Contractor contact information as well as the contact information for all builders represented in the development project.
  • Notify developer and builder representatives that attendance of the pre-construction meeting is mandatory.
  • Provide shallow utility construction contact information and proposed construction plans and document the meeting minutes.
  • Monitor construction activities and assess whether additional coordination meetings are required.
  • Raise issues directly with the Developer, who acts as Prime Contractor, for resolution.

Confirm the terms and conditions around housing start impacts to Shallow Utility trenching.

Process Flow 

  • Developer identifies a development project where house construction has or will commence in advance of shallow utility construction and notifies the Shallow Utility representative.
  • Developer and Builder representatives attend the Shallow Utility pre-construction meeting scheduled by the Shallow Utilities.
  • The utility construction contractor identifies its proposed construction work plan, trench locations, signage, direction of work and timelines. Construction contractor also is provided with reciprocating information from the Developer, as the Prime Contractor, about activities in the area.
  • All participants identify and resolve any possible obstacles, conflicts and safety issues, and decide if additional meetings will be necessary. At a minimum, a weekly meeting should be hosted by the Developer to review site activities and conditions.

For more information, please contact Executive Director of the Shallow Utilities Consortium, Mark Kefford, at