Before you dig
Before work commences
Before you dig, you should check the site for underground powerlines by obtaining an underground site plan.
1 Request underground site plans
Request underground plans of your site using the free Before You Dig Australia service.
If powerlines 33kV or higher are present, go on to Step 2.
If powerlines less than 33kV are present, you can:
- Complete your works design in accordance with section 4.2.3 of Working near Overhead and Underground Electric Lines (WP1323) (PDF 1.5 mb) with or without the help of an accredited consultant
- Ask us to relocate underground powerlines, if necessary, through our Electrical Partners Portal. There is a fee for this service.
2 Request detailed powerline plans
Submit a Request for detailed plans of the underground powerlines from us.
3 Submit your preliminary works plans
Submit a Preliminary works plans review request to us for our consideration.
Your proposal will need to comply with the guidelines for working safely near underground electric lines.
If we accept your preliminary plans, you can begin work.
If we decide the plans need further work, go to Step 4.
4 Submit your detailed works plans
Submit a Detailed works plans assessment request for our consideration.
You can find detailed information about each of these steps and your safety responsibilities around underground powerlines in Working near Overhead and Underground Electric Lines (WP1323) (PDF 1.5 mb).
Hiring contractors to work near underground powerlines
Any work around live underground powerlines is classed as high risk.
If you’re the person in charge of a work site, it’s your responsibility to control this risk. You’ll need to take steps to make sure no person, object or plant comes in contact with the underground powerlines. This includes only hiring contractors with the right training and experience.
There are some activities that increase risk even further, including:
- Entry into the powerline backfill below the protective cover strips, bricks or equivalent (typically installed approximately 100mm above cables)
- Removal of flowable fill backfill
- Excavation beneath the underground powerline.
If you’re doing any of these activities, we recommend you engage an Accredited Underground Civil Service Provider to carry out work and/or help to assess risks and develop safe work methods. Find the latest accredited service provider list under the heading "Developer Design & Construct Estates" in Technical Documents.
You can also find an approved contractor by contacting:
All works need to consider the Electrical Safety Code of Practice 2020 for Working Near Overhead and Underground Electric Lines.
Need more information?
Safety fact sheets
Find industry-specific information about working safely near underground powerlines.
- Agriculture industry (PDF 1.6 mb)
- Building and construction industry (PDF 1.6 mb)
- Cotton industry (PDF 1.6 mb)
- Plumbing industry (PDF 1.3 mb)
- Sugar cane farms (PDF 2.0 mb)
- Trucking industry (PDF 1.4 mb)
To order factsheets in industry packs, use our brochure & sticker order form.
Links to other good sources of information.