Fortis gas line damaged after man failed to contact BC 1 Call

A man who damaged a FortisBC gas line has been ordered to cover the cost of repairs, despite arguing it was installed several feet ‘out of line’ with the original design plan.

British Columbia’s Civil Resolution Court, which handles small claims under $5,000, said the crux of the matter was Herbert Fischer’s failure to contact BC 1 Call before digging up his property with an excavator.

Missing this step – which is free and mandatory in many outdoor projects large and small – led Fischer to hit a FortisBC service line in February 2021, causing over $2,300 in damages.

And while the owner claimed the gas line was 4ft 5in from the path specified in the design documents, in an area north of a hydroelectric sounding he said was free and clear, the VP of the court, Shelley Lopez, said the question was moot.

“He says the damage resulted from Fortis installing the gas line in a different location than shown on a design plan. Yet there is no evidence that Fortis was compelled to follow this designer’s plan,” wrote Lopez in her decision, which has been published. online this week.

“Given that Mr. Fischer unquestionably did not call BC 1 Call as required to identify the location of the gas line before attempting to dig, I conclude that he breached the standard of care.”

Fischer, who was trying to install an underground power line on his property, told the court he made “numerous calls” to FortisBC before starting work, but none fulfilled his obligations under the provincial power line regulation. gas safety.

By law, owners are required to file an application with BC 1 Call at least two business days before digging, and then wait to receive permission to proceed.

British Columbians can do so online or by calling 1-800-474-6886 Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.

FortisBC asked Fischer to pay $2,341 for subsequent repairs, including $2,003 for labor and fieldwork. The court approved that amount, plus $125 in fees and $11 in prejudgment interest, but minus a $37 fee listed as “overtime mealtimes” in the utility provider’s expense breakdown.

“I do not authorize the overtime meal because I find no legal basis to hold Mr. Fischer liable for Fortis workers’ meal breaks,” Lopez wrote.

FortisBC advises homeowners to call the BC 1 Helpline before proceeding with major projects such as installing a deck or fire pit, and even those as minor as “just plant a few perennials.”

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