Referral Spec Q+A

At the webinar we held on Tuesday 2nd February 2021 there were a lot of questions asked and we didn’t have time to answer them all. Since then we’ve taken all of your questions and tried to provide answers below.

If you have more questions or need more information feel free to ask through the discussion forum.

You can access a recording of the webinar by clicking here.

Changes to Enquiry Lodgement

Enquirers will be able to specify a Job Start Date of today. Why has this change been introduced?

Since October 2020, all enquiries should now be lodged online with the option to lodge through the call centre being removed. Some excavators previously used the call centre to override the next day restriction on job start date for legitimate reasons. Allowing enquiries with a job start date of today restores that option.

If a user does select today’s date as the Job Start Date a pop-up is displayed with a warning.

Warning shown when Start Date is today
Warning shown when Start Date is today

There are legitimate reasons why an excavator may need to start a job on the same day such as for emergency repairs. It is the excavator’s responsibility to ensure they have all the necessary information before proceeding.

Does the change to the Job Start Date change the 2-day SLA for members to respond to enquiry referrals? (We may sometimes have outages for maintenance, for example.)

No. The change to the Job Start Date does not change the obligations on members.

Can enquiry referrals with a Job Start Date of today be prioritised when they are sent through to the member?

All referrals are sent as soon as they are lodged in the system, as such any prioritisation is the responsibility of the member.

Can we choose not to accept enquiry referrals where the Job Start Date is today? In some situations we need to provide a spotter and this can’t be arranged at very short notice.

Referrals will always be sent for enquiries lodged in your area of interest.

The lodgement of an enquiry does not authorise the work to commence. The enquirer must obtain all necessary information from all likely impacted asset owners prior to the start of works. If a spotter  is required, the communication from the member to the enquirer should clearly state this.

Enquirers will be able to list multiple activity types on a job. For example, horizontal boring and manual excavation. Does this mean that the member will receive more than one referral for the same enquiry?

You will still only receive one referral. The referral itself will list more than one activity. Accordingly the member will only be invoiced for one referral.

Is there any logic to prevent multiple requests from the same user being lodged for the same location?

No. If you’ve got any ideas around this, we’d be happy to explore them. Feel free to leave your thoughts on our forums.

Communicating with the Enquirer

Is the customer email address still supplied?

The enquirer’s personal email address can still be found via the Asset Owner’s web application. Also, there are no limits to how many emails you can exchange using the relay email address.

Will the customer’s phone number still be provided so that we can get in touch to discuss their job?

Yes! No-one can lodge an enquiry without providing a phone number. But we are getting rid of fax numbers.

Are we able to send multiple emails to the enquirer through their relay email address?

Yes! There are no limits on how many emails you can exchange using the relay email address. When you use this address, it makes it easier for the enquirer to match your email to their original request.

Some enquirers want to receive the responses by post. How do we deal with that in the new system?

Since October 2020, DBYD has stopped accepting enquiries lodged via the call centre. All enquiries are now lodged online and that means that all responses can be sent to the enquirer’s email address.

As a member you will still have access to the enquirer’s address if some communications need to go via snail mail.

Does the relay email approach prevent direct email exchanges between the asset owner and requester?

No. The enquirer’s personal email address can still be found via the Asset Owner’s web application. We do ask that you send your main response through the relay email address – it makes it much easier for the enquirer to match it up against their enquiry as all subject lines and email headings will carry the same standard information.

When responding to a referral email, do we need to copy the email address from the body or will hitting “reply” automatically fill in the correct return address?

I really like the idea that we put the response email address in as the “Reply-To” header on the referral email to make it easy for you to reply. We’re going to look into this and see if it can be included.


Members first get access to the new system in May 2021. Is there any provision to get earlier access for preliminary testing?

You’re right – members get access to the new system in May and testing can start from then. We don’t have a provision for early testing but we will add example web hook payloads and email attachments on this website in the coming weeks.

Can you supply some sample emails, or an email template, to allow us to prepare for the upcoming format changes?

The templates can be found at the back of the referral specification. We’ll add some sample emails in the coming weeks.

Response Relay Service

Will DBYD be saving all of the enquiry response data?

Yes. A key driver for this is to allow us to review a sample of the responses to help our continuous improvement programs around quality and standardisation of responses.

What monitoring do you have for the forwarded responses? Is there a risk that responses that a member returns will not be forwarded on?

Our email service tracks the delivery of emails and actions the recipient takes (such as opening the email or clicking on links). If an email fails to send for whatever reason (e.g. recipient’s mailbox is full) we are tracking that. The built-in reporting for members gives you information on the status of emails that are being forwarded through SmarterWX Sentinel.

Does all communication with the enquirer need to go through the DBYD relay service?

No. We do ask that you send your main response through the relay email address – it makes it much easier for the enquirer to match it up against their enquiry as all subject lines and email headings will carry the same standard information.

Can members get a report showing all the enquiries that have been responded to?

Yes! There are a range of reports available for members including a response status report.


Is there an option to pull referrals in batches during a processing window rather than singly through web hooks?

SmarterWX Sentinel will have a published REST API. As a member you would be able to build your integration to pull referrals via the API.

You could also (programmatically or manually) pause referrals overnight and that way any referrals received will be stored up and released when you start work again.

A web hook call will keep retrying if it was unsuccessful. Does it keep trying forever or is there a time limit?

The web service receiving the web hook referral must respond with a success within 3 seconds. If the response is unsuccessful or takes too long, SmarterWX Sentinel will try again sometime later. This wait time gradually increases starting off at about a minute and growing to several hours. After 12 failures, it will give up and notify you. The timing is randomised but is typically around 6-8 hours.

You can manually release failed referrals once you have it working again.

If a referral fails to be processed for some reason, will SmarterWX Sentinel stop or will it continue processing other referrals? Can someone manually address failed referrals?

SmarterWX Sentinel treats each referral as a separate transaction and will keep sending them despite individual failures. Consistent failures may cause us to trigger a pause on your referrals until our support team has been able to get in touch and resolve the issues.


You’re using the website. Will everything still sit on after go live?