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 was formally launched in January 2023, with CGA’s acquisition of the Gold Shovel Association (GSA). Participation in the DPI is open to CGA members at no additional cost.

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

Ongoing Improvement

A stakeholder survey was completed in Q4 2022, through the work of the DPI Advisory Committee. DPI will announce additional information about data submission and other participation requirements. As DPI program elements are developed and deployed in phases, CGA staff will communicate with all stakeholders about critical processes and improvements.

Continuous feedback is welcome through the Engage community, accessible to all CGA members.


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, and locators 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. 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.

Guide to the DPI



Access to CGA member benefits

View and pay invoices online

View and download DPI Letter of Accreditation


Enter monthly metrics and damage data

Grant data access to other organizations in the DPI


Join CGA committees

Discuss damage prevention with communities and committees

Shares a log in with CGA website


Access to CGA member benefits

View and pay invoices online

View and download DPI Letter of Accreditation


Enter monthly metrics and damage data

Grant data access to other organizations in the DPI

What is required of DPI participants?


  • Enter monthly metrics and damages (if applicable) in DPI DIRT


  • Update organization profile information
  • Renew CGA membership
  • Renew leadership commitment to DPI


  • Participate in the peer review process (see more information below)

How can you get more involved?

The best way to get involved with the CGA and the DPI is committee engagement. Once you are logged in to the CGA website, please navigate to CGA Engage to read about our committees and join. Attending our annual CGA Conference & Expo (www.CGAconference.com) and our summer and fall committee summits gives damage prevention professionals the opportunity to engage in committee work, network, and learn from peers. Stay tuned to CGA communications for timely information about resources and events.

How can I access my letter of accreditation?

You can download your letter of accreditation from your CGA member profile. Log in to the CGA website, navigate to your profile, on the left hand menu select “DPI Accreditation”. Your DPI letter of accreditation should be available for each DPI accredited company you are affiliated with. Please reach out to dpi@commongroundalliance.com if you have any questions or issues with this.

Who can see my data in DPI DIRT?

Your data is only shared with organizations to whom you grant access. To learn more about sharing your data with other DPI participants, watch the tutorial video.


Do engineering and design firms need to enter monthly metrics?

No, engineering and design firms that certify they do not self-perform excavation or locating (in response to an 811 notification) are not required to enter monthly metrics.

Can one organization be accredited under multiple stakeholder groups?

Yes, we are currently working on an accreditation process for organizations that fall into multiple categories. For example, some facility owner/operators self-perform excavation and/or locating activities. Please reach out to us to discuss how to accredit as multiple stakeholder categories if this situation applies to your organization.

How will the DPI peer review process work?

The peer review process is under development. We will communicate with you about the process as it matures. DPI peer reviews were piloted late in 2023 with full rollout beginning in 2024. We will seek input from our members on the development and implementation of this new program.

The DPI peer review process will focus on identifying and addressing the real-world challenges encountered by damage prevention stakeholders in the 811 process. The peer review process will not rely upon sharing business-proprietary or confidential information among peers.

What data do I need to enter each month?

At the end of each month, you have committed to reporting your metrics and damage data (if damages occurred) for the previous month. For example, March data is due at the end of April. Ten days before the end of each month, CGA will send you an email to remind you to enter your data.

What metrics apply to me?

Please refer to the accreditation criteria on the DPI website to see metrics for your stakeholder group (https://dpi.commongroundalliance.com/Participate/Accreditation-Criteria). The DPI Metrics Sub-committee is working to clearly define the metrics used in the DPI.  For now, the only metric in use is “work hours”, which is only applicable to excavators.  We will communicate with DPI participants as we roll out additional metrics.

Who can use DPI Logos?

DPI-accredited organizations in good standing can use the DPI Accredited Logo. Please visit (https://commongroundalliance.com/DPI-Logo) to access the logo use policy and download logos.

If you wish to share feedback with us, regarding DPI DIRT or the DPI Accreditation process, please fill out this form.

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


The DPI Advisory Committee reports to the CGA board of directors recommendations for achieving the mission of the DPI. The advisory committee members represent the interests of their respective stakeholder groups. The committee oversees the DPI Metrics Committee. Committee members act as liaisons to CGA working committees.


The DPI Metrics Committee makes policy recommendations to the DPI Advisory Committee regarding DPI participant accreditation, performance measurement, and peer reviews.

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 five 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?

Former Gold Shovel Members should fill out the DPI Enrollment form here.

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.