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The Australian National University
Facilities and Services Division
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This document details the procedure for obtaining permission for activities covering:

a.  Excavation on property of The Australian National University (ANU),

b.  Concrete cutting and drilling, and

c.  Significant wall penetration. 

1.  Definition of excavation

For the purpose of this policy excavation is defined as:

"The removal of the pre-existing surface at ground level or the penetration of the pre-existing surface at ground level, mass excavation, trenching, demolition, erection of any structure (temporary or permanent) which requires support from the ground, (eg tent pegs, fence posts, street sign, tree or significant plant),and the use of mechanical compaction equipment. It also includes the use of directional boring and high pressure water blasting."

2.  Definition of concrete cutting and drilling

Concrete cutting and drilling includes:

  • Concrete slab cutting
  • Concrete wall cutting
  • Concrete pipe cutting
  • Core drilling
  • Chasing
  • Asphalt cutting

3.  Authority

All excavation on property owned by ANU must be cleared by the Director Facilities and Services. However, for the purposes of this procedure, the Director delegates responsibility for approval to the relevant Facilities and Services Project Officer / Coordinator. Any person wishing to excavate on University grounds must complete the following actions before the work can commence.

The Divisional officer responsible for the management of this process is the Asset Manager Facilities Planning.

4.  Obtain a Clearance to Excavate Form (Word version; PDF version)

Clearance to Excavate forms are available at the Facilities and Services Drawing Office and Plan Registry, located on the 3rd Floor, Innovations Building 124.

The Manager, Drawing Office and Plan Registry will issue drawings detailing the known services located in the proposed area of excavation, or the floor slab location and also ensure that the contractor fully understands the clearances and processes that are required before work can commence.

NOTE: The contractor is to be advised that the ANU plans showing the position of underground services have been prepared solely for the ANU’s own use and may show the position of such services, other structures and equipment relative to fences, buildings, walls etc., as at the time the service was installed and may not take into account to any subsequent change in particular.

The ANU accepts no liability for inaccuracies in the information or lack of information on plans provided to the contractor as part of this clearance process.

Persons excavating or carrying out other works are required to exercise due care in the completion of work and will be held responsible for any damage caused to services on the ANU’s site.

For all concrete cutting, drilling or coring activities, the construction contractor is required to prepare a Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) to control task risks before commencement of works.   Workers are to be inducted regarding the task specific Safe Work Method Controls.

At the time of issue, the Manager Drawing Office and Plan Registry will take a photocopy of the completed (front) page of the application form and file this document for future retrieval purposes.

All Permission to Excavate Forms will require clearances to be obtained from AGL and ACTEW regardless of whether the drawings indicate that these services are located in the area of the proposed excavation.

If drawings show that there are services maintained by the ANU in the area of the proposed excavation, a clearance will also be required from the responsible ANU Officer (see details of responsible officers listed on the reverse of the Clearance to Excavate Form). The form will also identify the ANU Project Officer / Coordinator with overall responsibility for the coordination of the work.

The Clearance to Excavate Form (Word version; PDF version) MUST be completed in FULL.

5.  Obtain clearances

The contractor MUST obtain signatures from all the areas indicated on the Clearance to Excavate Form.

6.  Clearance to excavate

Once the required signatures have been obtained, the Clearance to Excavate Form MUST be returned to the designated Project Officer / Coordinator for final clearance.

The Project Officer / Coordinator will return the original form to the contractor and place a copy on the relevant file. Note this approval does not absolve the contractor of their responsibility to exercise due care during the excavation.

7.  Action required before excavation work

Prior to commencing work, the contractor will ensure that the location of all services in the area of excavation is marked on site. The identification of services will be done by the following areas:

Gas Mains Jemena 
 High (11KV) and low (415v)voltage cables ActewAGL
 Water, Sewer and Stormwater Mains ActewAGL
 Street lighting (local electrical services) cables/wiring Facilities and Services
 Communication Cabling Division of Information
 Building Management Systems Cable Facilities and Services
 Water, Chilled Water, Sewer and Stormwater service lines Facilities and Services
 Irrigation pipes Facilities and Services
 Gardens and Grounds Facilities and Services

The contractor must organise the work program to ensure that sufficient notice is given to these areas prior to the commencement of work. Excavation cannot commence until these individual clearances have been obtained and services have been marked.

Where the scope of works covers concrete slab cutting, coring and drilling penetrations the contractor will:

a.    Ensure that the building’s electrical power, gas and water services associated with the concrete slab are identified and appropriately isolated and documented in a Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS).


b.    Ensure all disconnections are confirmed and physically locked and tagged out by each individual working at risk and the details recorded in the SWMS.


c.     All cut surfaces of the slab penetrations are checked for evidence of unidentified services prior to reconnecting or re-energising the locked out services.


8.  Validity of Clearance

This clearance is only valid for the proposed excavation detailed on the form.

Any subsequent excavations in the same area will require a separate approval. Note that special conditions apply to approvals issued by ACTEW and AGL, including a time limit on the validity of the clearance. These conditions are detailed on the clearance form issued by the relevant organisation.

9.  Reporting of Unrecorded Services

Where Facilities and Services staff or a contractor identify underground services which have not been recorded on the current drawings of the proposed excavation area, Facilities and Services staff are to forward the details to the Manager Drawing Office and Plan Registry. The Manager, Drawing Office and Plan Registry will advise the relevant Facilities and Services staff when the drawings have been updated.

10.  Other Relevant Policies

This policy should be read in conjunction with Facilities and Services Policy on Protection of Landscape. A copy of this policy will be provided by the designated Project Officer / Coordinator or may be obtained from the link above.


Facilities and Services

Date of Issue:  December 2011