Todd Talbot

Todd Talbot digs in his backyard with a shovel


Back in October, when the rains came pouring down, after the driest summer on record in B.C. our newly renovated basement started to leak…badly! That night we had to swing into action and do all we could to stop the water from damaging our house further. I wasn’t about to dig around the house but I did race down to Home Depot to grab enough pipe and connectors to capture the water coming off the roof and redirect it away from the foundation. This started a man vs. water battle that lasted over 2 months.

Todd Talbot digs a hole

In that time, we had to find the sump,  dig the entire perimeter of the house put in new drain tile, water proof the outside and inside of the foundation and all the trickle down projects (pun intended) including ripping off the back stairs and porch and reconstructing the deck etc. Needless to say, it was stressful, expensive and time consuming. It was also important that we knew where our gas line, water line, and any other services that came in to the property. Compounding the problem by hitting one of these lines would have made an already tough situation even worse. There is no way to know exactly where gas lines, cables, water lines or other utilities are without calling BC One Call. They are open 24/7 365 days a year and will send a site map within 2 working days so you can dig with confidence. Then it’s time for a good ol’fashion shovel. Did you know that it’s illegal to use machinery around those services? Elbow grease and a shovel are your only option. I can tell you from experience that gas lines are not as deep as you think, they are easy to uncover and then you can fly at the rest of your project.

Todd Talbot on the phone with a shovel

Now, the good news is we managed to stop the leaks coming in the house and get everything repaired. We also got the new deck built on the back of the house and a new fence along one side. We didn’t have any issues with the services underground and we now have the knowledge of where everything is and how deep.

Todd Talbot and a shovel

With spring finally here we are starting on the construction of the new front porch and front door which will require us to dig to make sure we have good footing for the structure. Not only do we need to know where the services are so we don’t hit them, we also need to know that we don’t cover them up accidentally with a footing or other structure. Plan, plan, and then plan some more!

Fortis BC


Some projects around the house are planned and others are based on necessity. Just like opening up walls in your house and finding surprises, the same thing can happen when you start to dig in your yard. Be prepared, and most of all safe. While you are ‘pinning’ your dream deck, fence, water feature, pool, etc. take 2 min and make a quick call and get armed with the information. Then you can get out there with confidence this spring and summer and create your dream yard and likely make all your neighbors jealous!

Prep work is really easy (and usually the cheapest part), it’s mostly understanding how things work, who to call and knowing to make it part of your plan. Call or Click Before you Dig – BCOneCall Website: ( to get your ticket or to call 1-800-474-6886