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How to Read Telstra BYDA Plans

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When it comes to any construction or excavation project, it’s important to be aware of any existing underground utilities that may be present. Not only is it a legal requirement to locate and mark out these utilities, but it’s also critical for the safety of workers and the general public. 

Telstra, one of Australia’s leading telecommunications companies, provides plans known as BYDA (Before You Dig Asset) plans that show the location of their underground infrastructure. 

In this article, we’ll walk you through how to read Telstra BYDA plans and what you need to look out for when working on a project.

How to Obtain Telstra BYDA Plans

To obtain Telstra BYDA plans, you’ll need to make a request through their designated plan provider, BYDA. You can find BYDA’s website at www.byda.com.au

You’ll need to provide details of your excavation project and the location where you’ll be digging. It’s also important to note that you need to request the plans at least 48 hours before you plan to dig, as this is the minimum notice period required by Telstra.

What Format Will the Plans Be In?

Typically, Telstra BYDA plans are provided in PDF format.

However, in the Sydney CBD area, they may also be provided in DWF (Design Web Format) digital format. It’s important to have the necessary software to view these files on your computer or mobile device.

PDF File Format Mock up by Geoscope
DWF File Format Mock up by Geoscope

Understanding Mains Cables vs Cables

It’s important to understand the difference between mains cables and regular cables when reviewing Telstra BYDA plans. 

Mains cables are typically larger and carry a higher volume of telecommunications traffic than regular cables. They are the backbone of the Telstra network and are critical to its operation. Damage to mains cables can cause significant disruption to the network and affect the delivery of essential services.

Cable Plan = The copper cable network that supplies communication from the street to the one that connects most of Australia’s homes.

Mains Cable Plan = Fibre optic cables and large pair copper cables

When you receive the Telstra BYDA plans, you’ll need to pay close attention to the distinction between mains cables and regular cables

The plans will typically indicate which cables are mains cables, and they will be highlighted in red. 

Mains Cable Plan by Geoscope Ultimate Telstra BYDA Asset Guide
Mains Cable Plan
Cable Plan by Geoscope Ultimate Telstra BYDA Asset Guide
Cable Plan

It’s crucial to take extra care when working near mains cables and to follow all safety guidelines to avoid damaging them. To ensure the safety of mains cables, the Telstra BYDA plans will typically include a separate mains cable plan, which is usually found on the following page. This plan provides a detailed view of the location and route of the mains cables. 

You’ll need to review the mains cable plan carefully to ensure that you’re aware of the location of any mains cables in the area where you’ll be working. It’s important to note that mains cables can be buried deeper underground than regular cables, and they may require special equipment to locate and access them. 

Before conducting any excavation works near mains cables, you should follow the Telstra 5P’s framework on how to work around underground Telstra cables for more information about their location and depth. In addition to the mains cable plan, the Telstra BYDA plans will also include information about cables, including their location, depth, and route.

Regular Cable Plan Telstra BYDA Plans
Regular Cable Plan Telstra BYDA Plans

Regular cables can include copper cables for regular communication or fibre optic cables for high-speed data transmission. When working near regular cables, it’s important to be careful to avoid damaging them, as this can also cause disruption to the network.

Understanding the difference between mains cables and regular cables is essential when reviewing Telstra BYDA plans. Mains cables are critical to the operation of the Telstra network and must be handled with care. 

The separate mains cable plan provides detailed information about the location and route of mains cables, and you should review this plan carefully and in conjunction with regular cables before conducting any excavation works. Regular cables are also important, and you should be careful to avoid damaging them when working near them.

Validity of Telstra BYDA Plans: How Long Are They Valid For?

According to Telstra’s Duty of Care document, Telstra BYDA plans are valid for a period of 60 days from the date of issue. After this period, the plans may no longer be valid and may need to be updated or renewed.

Telstra BYDA Plans Validity from Telstra Duty of Care Statement
Telstra BYDA Plans Validity from Telstra Duty of Care Statement

It’s essential to note that this validity period is not a guarantee of the accuracy of the plans, as changes may occur in the network during this time. As such, it’s always best to double-check the plans and ensure that they are still accurate and up-to-date before conducting any excavation works.

If you require access to the plans beyond the 90-day validity period, you will need to request a new set of plans from Telstra. This may involve additional fees or charges, depending on the circumstances. It’s important to keep in mind that the validity period of the plans is in place to ensure that the most accurate and up-to-date information is being used for excavation works.

Failure to use current plans can result in damage to critical infrastructure, delays, and costly repairs. Always ensure that you have the most current plans available before beginning any excavation works. 

If you are interested to learn more about what happens when you accidentally cause damage to underground services, this article below is for you!

Accidental Damage to Underground Services

Accidental or not, damage can cause serious problems to workers and disruption to utility services that can affect customers, the community, or maybe half the city of Sydney ...
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What Symbols Are Used on the Plans?

To understand the Telstra BYDA plans, you’ll need to familiarise yourself with the symbols used on the plans. You’ll find a legend page that shows all the symbols and their meanings. 

Some of the common symbols you’ll see include pits, pit sizes, and MH (manhole) or Footway access chambers. You’ll also see lines that indicate the location of the cables running between these pits and manholes.

These symbols represent various features and structures that can be found on the plans. Here are some of the most common symbols that you are likely to come across:

Pits and pit sizes

Pits are the access points to underground infrastructure. On Telstra BYDA plans, pits are usually represented by a small circle with a number or a letter in the middle. The larger the numbers the larger the concrete pit lids increase in size, or when greater than ‘5’, they increase in the number of concrete pit lids found.

MH or Footway (Generally in the footpath) chambers

Manhole and Footway Chamber information on Telstra Mains Cable Plan BYDA Plan

MH stands for Manhole, and Chambers refer to concrete enclosures. These are larger access points that allow maintenance crews to enter underground infrastructure. MHs are represented by a rectangle divided in the middle diagonally with black and white sections.  

Cable Plan – Copper

Telstra Network Cable Plan - Copper Cable Information Text London St Enmore NSW
Copper Cable Information Text on Telstra Network Cable Plan

Copper cables are usually indicated by a solid black line. The number of pairs in the cable is usually indicated next to the line.

Mains – Fibre or Large Copper

Telstra Network Mains Cable Plan - Fibre Cable Information Text London St Enmore NSW
Fibre Cable Information on Telstra Network Mains Cable Plan

Mains cables, which are the major cables that supply the network, are usually indicated by a solid black line. These cables are typically made of fibre or large copper, and the size of the cable is usually indicated next to the line.

Conduit configurations

Telstra Network Mains Cable Plan - Conduit Configuration London St Enmore NSW
Conduit Configuration on Telstra Network Mains Cable Plan

Conduits are used to protect cables and other underground infrastructure. They are usually represented by circles in the arrangement of the conduits would be found on site. For example, 1 circle would indicate 1x conduit, where it is possible to show conduit configurations of 32 or 64 conduits in some areas close to a Telstra exchange in Sydney City.

The size of conduit will also be indicated, as well as the material type.

Main Materials

The main materials used by Telstra for their conduits are:

Asbestos Cement is represented by the letter ‘A’
e.g. A100 = An Asbestos cement conduit which is 100 mm diameter

PVC or Polyvinyl chloride, which is represented by the letter ‘P’
e.g. P100 = A PVC conduit which is 100 mm diameter

Earthenware, which is represented by the letter ‘E’
e.g. E85 = An Earthenware conduit that is 85 mm and can be square.

Sample Main Materials indicated on Telstra BYDA Plans
Main Materials indicated on Telstra BYDA Plans

Depths and Offsets

Telstra Network Mains Cable Plan - Cover Offset Information Text London St Enmore NSW
Cover Offset Information Text Telstra Network Mains Cable Plan

Depths are the depths of the cables and other infrastructure below the surface, and offsets indicate the distance of the cable from a known point. Depths and Offsets are displayed as a fraction, with the depth or offset listed first, followed by the cover over the offset.

Distances between pits

Telstra Network Mains Cable Plan - Pit to pit distance Information Text London St Enmore NSW

The distance between pits is usually indicated by a number in metres.

Cable information

Cable information, including the number of pairs, size, and type of cable, is typically listed next to the cable line.

Termination points

Telstra Network Cable Plan - Copper Cable Termination Point London St Enmore NSW
Copper Cable Termination Point on Telstra Network Cable Plan

Termination points indicate where a cable ends or connects to other infrastructure. A small circle usually represents them.

3rd Party Cables

Telstra Network Mains Cable Plan - 3rd Party Break Out Pits London St Enmore NSW
3rd Party Break Out Pits Information on Telstra Network Mains Cable Plan

Telstra plans may also indicate the presence of third-party cables. These cables are usually represented in a different colour than Telstra’s cables, which are typically orange or grey.

Other networks utilising the Telstra network

Telstra plans may also indicate the presence of other networks that utilise the Telstra network. These networks may be indicated by different symbols or colours than Telstra’s cables.

Break-out pits

Break-out pits are access points that allow cables to be split off into different directions. These pits are usually indicated by a small orange circle and the text next to these circles, for example, OC IX3070 DBOR01 BREAKOUT. 

Breakout pits information on Tesltra BYDA Plans
Breakout pits information on Telstra BYDA Plans

The main letters we would look at are

OC = Other Carrier / Another network

IX = Approved for construction Study Reference Number

Breakout = Third-Party Network provider accessing the Telstra network

Property numbers

Property numbers indicate the address or lot number of the property where the cable is located.

Pipe material and diameter

If a conduit is used to protect the cable, the material, and diameter of the pipe may be indicated next to the dashed line representing the conduit.

Overhead wires

If the cable is overhead, the plan may indicate the presence of overhead wires. A dashed line usually represents these wires.

Understanding these symbols is essential for anyone who works with Telstra BYDA plans. It helps locate the infrastructure, map out existing networks, and plan new installations.

Understanding Cable Information

Telstra BYDA plans to provide information on the location of different types of cables, including copper and fibre. When reviewing the plans, you’ll need to pay attention to the conduit configurations, depths, offsets (which are displayed as a fraction), and cover over the offset. 

Telstra Network Mains Cable Plan - Conduit Configuration London St Enmore NSW
Conduit Configuration on Telstra Network Mains Cable Plan

The conduit is the protective tube or pipe that houses the cables and helps to prevent damage. The depth of the conduit refers to how deep it is underground, while the offset is the horizontal distance between the centreline of the conduit and a reference point. 

This information is typically displayed as a fraction, with the cover over the offset, but is only to be used as a guide. Further investigation and clarification are required on-site. 

The plans will also provide information on the distances between pits and termination points. 

These details are essential for understanding the layout of the network and the location of critical infrastructure. It’s also crucial to pay attention to any third-party cables or other networks that may be utilising the Telstra network. 

This information will help you to avoid damaging other networks while carrying out your excavation work.

Telstra Network Mains Cable Plan Pit to Pit Distance Information Text London St. Enmore NSW
Distance between pits
Telstra Network Cable Plan - Copper Cable Termination Point London St Enmore NSW
Temination points

It’s important to note that the Telstra BYDA plans are indicative only, and the spatial accuracy is not applicable to Quality Level D. This means that while the plans provide a general indication of where the cables are located, there may be variations in the actual location of the cables.

When reviewing the plans, take the time to familiarise yourself with the legend page that contains all the symbols and abbreviations used on the plan. This page is essential to understanding what is being shown. 

Make sure to review all the information carefully to ensure that you have a clear understanding of the location and types of cables present on the site.

What you need to know about Fibre Cables

Fibre cables are becoming increasingly common in the telecommunications industry, and you’ll likely encounter them when reviewing Telstra BYDA plans. 

Telstra Network Mains Cable Plan - Fibre Cable Information Text London St Enmore NSW
Fibre Cable Information on Telstra Network Mains Cable Plan

There are different types of fibre cables, including SMOF (Single-Mode Optical Fibre) and MMOF (Multimode Optical Fibre). When working near fibre cables, it’s important to be extremely careful, as they are delicate and can be easily damaged. Even small nicks or cuts in the fibre can cause a significant loss of signal or complete failure of the cable. 

DWF File Format Mock up by Geoscope

If you’re unsure about how to handle fibre or in certain circumstances, a DWF (Design Web Format) file may be provided. 

The DWF format allows for a more interactive and accurate analysis of the plans, which can be particularly useful for larger and more complex projects.

One thing to note is that the plans provided by Telstra are indicative only, meaning that they are not 100% accurate. 

 

Spatial accuracy is not applicable to Quality Level D, which is the level of detail provided in the Telstra plans. It’s important to keep this in mind when interpreting the plans and conducting any excavation works.

 When you receive the plans, the first thing to look for is the legend page. 

Mains Cable Plan Telstra BYDA Plans
Telstra Mains Cable Plan

This page contains all the symbols and abbreviations used on the plan and is essential to understanding what is being shown. Take the time to familiarise yourself with the legend before diving into the plan.

The Telstra plans will typically include information about pits, pit sizes, and MH (manhole) or chambers. They will also show lines indicating the location of cables. 

These cables can be copper cables for regular communication or mains cables for important infrastructure that you should be particularly careful around. It’s essential to note that when viewing the plan, you must also check the Mains Cable Plan on the following page.

Mains Cable Plan Telstra BYDA Plans
Telstra Mains Cable Plan

The Mains cables indicate critical infrastructure that must not be disturbed. These cables can be located deeper underground than regular cables and require extra caution when excavating or potentially underboring. The plans will also include information about conduit configurations, indicative depths, and offsets. 

You’ll also find information about distances between pits, termination points, and third-party cables. It’s critical to keep an eye out for any other networks that may be utilising the Telstra network, as this could affect your excavation works.

Other information you may find on the plan includes break-out pits, numbers indicating the number of copper pairs inside a cable, the distance between pits, property numbers, pipe material and diameter, and overhead wires. 

It’s important to review all of this information carefully to ensure that you have a clear understanding of what you’re working with. 

When reviewing the plans, it’s essential to pay close attention to any information related to fibre optic cables. These cables are often labelled as SMOF (Single-Mode Optical Fibre) or MMOF (Multimode Optical Fibre). 

These cables are critical infrastructure and should be handled with extreme care to avoid damaging them.

pexels-vanessa-garcia-6325900

Who to Call for Help

If you’re not sure about the location of Telstra cables or need assistance with interpreting the plans, you can contact Geoscope Utility Detection Services Pty Ltd. They have experienced technicians who can assist you in locating and identifying Telstra infrastructure to ensure that your excavation works are carried out safely and efficiently.

In addition, Geoscope has created a comprehensive guide called The Ultimate Telstra DBYD Asset Guide, available for free. It is a valuable resource for individuals seeking to understand Telstra BYDA Plans. You can access the guide by e-mailing us at info@geoscopelocating.com.au.

Reading Telstra BYDA plans may seem overwhelming at first, but with the right guidance and understanding, it can be a straightforward process. Remember to familiarise yourself with the legend, pay close attention to any main cables, and be careful around fibre optic cables.

In case you have any inquiries, comments, or worries regarding this topic, feel free to reach out to Geoscope Utility Detection Services for guidance. You can either submit your details through the contact form provided below or directly contact them at info@geoscopelocating.com.au or on 1300 750 350. With their assistance, you can ensure that your excavation work is conducted securely and with no untoward incidents.

Patricia Cupiado

Patricia Cupiado

Co-Author of this Article

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