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Common Ground Alliance Best Practices

In 1999, the Department of Transportation sponsored the Common Ground Study. The purpose of the Common Ground Study was to identify and validate existing best practices performed in connection with preventing damage to underground facilities. The collected best practices are intended to be shared among stakeholders involved with and dependent upon the safe and reliable operation, maintenance, construction, and protection of underground facilities. The best practices contain validated experiences gained that can be further examined and evaluated for possible consideration and incorporation into state and private stakeholder underground facility damage prevention programs.

The current Best Practices Field Manual is divided into nine chapters that provide a collection of current damage prevention best practices. The nine chapters include:

  1. Planning & Design Best Practices
  2. One Call Center Best Practices
  3. Location & Marking Best Practices
  4. Excavation Best Practices
  5. Mapping Best Practices
  6. Compliance Best Practices
  7. Public Education Best Practices
  8. Reporting & Evaluation Best Practices
  9. Miscellaneous Practices

In 2000, the Common Ground Alliance (CGA) was formed to further the work completed during the Study. The CGA then developed the Best Practices Committee; the primary purpose of this committee is to continue to focus on identifying those Best Practices that are appropriate for each stakeholder group, gauge current levels of implementation and use of those Best Practices, and encourage and promote increased implementation of the Best Practices.


In March 2013, the CGA published Best Practices Version 11.0.This version of the practices contains the practices statements and supporting descriptions contained in the Study as well as any new practices passed by the Best Practices Committee since the completion of the Study in 1999.

New Practices and Practice Modifications:

Neither the Department of Transportation (DOT) nor the CGA ever intended that the best practices described in 1999 would constitute a static model. Rather, both anticipated that the best practices would evolve over time as more was learned and as technology advanced. Moreover, the CGA and the DOT expected that there likely would be additional best practices developed by the interested participants. To propose a new practice or modification or to review the committee review process, contact the CGA office (703-836-1709) to visit the New Practice & Process Review  section of the web site.

Copyright 2005
Common Ground Alliance
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CGA and Dig Safely Campaign are not affiliated with Dig Safe Systems, Inc