About DPI

History & Vision

CGA’s Damage Prevention Institute (DPI) creates an innovative opportunity for the industry to address systemic inefficiencies in the damage prevention process through a metrics-focused, peer-reviewed model of shared accountability that serves all stakeholders.

The creation of the DPI was announced in April 2022 and will be formally launched in January 2023, with CGA’s acquisition of the Gold Shovel Association (GSA). Participation in the DPI is open to all CGA members, and former members of GSA automatically become DPI participants in 2023.

The Damage Prevention Institute’s mission builds on the industry-leading insights of CGA’s Next Practices Initiative and the prior success of the Gold Shovel Association by utilizing a stakeholder-centered approach to develop performance metrics that reflect adherence to Best Practices and commitment to improving the reliability of the U.S. damage prevention system for everyone involved.

Transition & Ongoing Improvement

As the stakeholder input process is completed in Q4 2022, DPI will announce additional information about data submission and other participation requirements.

All CGA members are eligible to voluntarily participate in DPI at no additional cost. Over the coming months, CGA will communicate with Gold Shovel Association members about their transition to CGA membership. As DPI program elements are developed and deployed in phases, CGA staff will communicate with all stakeholders about critical processes and improvements.


The Damage Prevention Institute upholds three core principles:

What gets measured gets managed. Comprehensive metrics and benchmarks driving meaningful accreditations for all stakeholders are critical to evaluating progress and reducing damages.

A truly efficient and transparent damage prevention process serves all stakeholders, all the time. Participant involvement and peer review make the damage prevention system more effective for everyone.

A commitment to advancing safety is demonstrated through adherence to CGA Best Practices and Next Practices. CGA membership and practicable application of CGA Best Practices and Next Practices are core elements of DPI participation.

Through its accreditation process, peer-review model and metrics analysis, DPI recognizes key damage prevention drivers and addresses persistent inefficiencies in the 811 process that impact safety outcomes – for the benefit of all stakeholders.

The DPI will be inclusive of facility owners/operators, excavators, locators, and 811 centers (one call centers) who commit to advancing safety through adherence to DPI policies, which are in alignment with CGA’s Best Practices and the work of the Next Practices Initiative. The peer review model will be essential for sharing lessons learned and adopting practical solutions to support damage prevention.

Accreditation of DPI participants will be based on a demonstrated commitment to their damage prevention responsibilities. All DPI participants must be CGA members; CGA members can voluntarily participate in DPI.

CGA’s Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT) will provide a foundational dataset for evaluating the safety performance of facility owners/operators, locators and excavators who participate in the Damage Prevention Institute (DIRT data submission remains voluntary and private). Data from 811 centers (one call centers) will also support DPI metrics and analytics.

DPI will provide additional information about its peer review and accreditation processes as they are developed through the constructive input of a full range of damage prevention stakeholders.

Benefits of Participation

The Damage Prevention Institute drives true shared accountability in damage prevention by all stakeholders. CGA members are invited to participate in DPI to enjoy these benefits:

  • Understand your organization’s performance in relation to your peers.
  • Drive the development of the next generation of key performance indicators in damage prevention.
  • Share and learn strategies for implementing change, managing risks, and driving down damages through peer review.
  • Recognition of meeting core principles of damage prevention via accreditation.

Organizational Structure

DPI Advisory Committee and CGA Board of Directors

The Damage Prevention Institute is an arm of the Common Ground Alliance, and as such, the CGA board of directors retains oversight of DPI as it does all CGA programs.

As of January 1, 2023, the DPI will also be guided and directed by an Advisory Committee composed of the former members of the Gold Shovel Association board as well as two CGA board members.

Working Committees

DPI will also be driven by two working committees, the Pre-Excavation Committee and the Excavation Committee, which will develop accreditation requirements and benchmarking through a collaborative process. Committee membership will be consistent with the committee membership established under the Gold Shovel Association.

Pre-Excavation Committee

This committee establishes:

  • Facility owner/operator accreditation requirements and parameters for maintaining accreditation
  • Locator accreditation requirements and parameters for maintaining accreditation
  • Recommendations to the DPI based on stakeholder feedback

Excavation Committee

This committee establishes:

  • Excavator accreditation requirements and parameters for maintaining accreditation
  • Industry-standard metrics evaluating quality of excavators’ work
  • Recommendations to the DPI based on stakeholder feedback

What is the Damage Prevention Institute (DPI)?

The DPI is a program that has been established by CGA to address systemic inefficiencies in the damage prevention process through the development of a comprehensive participant accreditation and elevated metrics, creating the foundation for a consolidated benchmarking and true peer review process. The DPI, an arm of the CGA, will build on the Gold Shovel Association’s progress and take the industry to the next level by focusing on measuring the outcomes of all participants in the damage prevention process, while also assessing the systemic impacts on the industry overall.

Who can participate in the DPI?

All DPI participants must be member of the CGA. There is no additional cost to participate in the DPI for current CGA members.

Participation in the DPI is voluntary for CGA members. While some stakeholders may choose to require those they contract with to participate in the DPI, CGA will not require participation of any organization.

Participants will primarily be from four stakeholder groups: locators, facility owner/operators, excavators and 811 centers (one call centers). DPI participants can register as members of more than one stakeholder group (e.g., a facility owner/operator can register as an excavator and/or a locator if those services are in-house).

What is happening to the Gold Shovel Association?

As of January 1, 2023, as a result of an agreement between the two associations, members of the Gold Shovel Association will become members of the Common Ground Alliance, and the GSA will cease to exist. CGA’s DPI will build upon GSA’s work and provide an opportunity to build a comprehensive system that serves the interests of all stakeholders.

How will current Gold Shovel Association members be transferred to CGA?

Current GSA members will officially become CGA members on January 1, 2023. CGA will honor fees paid to GSA and will communicate with its members about the transition process in the coming months.

Is the DPI a training platform?

No, the DPI does not offer training or testing.

Who do I contact for more information?

Contact us at dpi@commongroundalliance.com with questions, comments, and suggestions.