Rebecca Winn, Business Development Manager at Complete Utility Solutions, discusses how to connect to utility services and the importance of planning this step into a self-build project.
Undertaking a self-build project is a huge task within itself, from finding the perfect plot, arranging the finances, finding a designer, obtaining planning permission, choosing a builder to preparing your plot – and all this before you even put a spade in the ground.
One of the most overlooked items within a self-build are the new utility connections, whether your home will run on gas, electric and water or just water and electric, it is something that needs to be considered within the very early stages of any development.
When purchasing a plot one of the first considerations is any existing infrastructure, which may need disconnecting or diverting. There are many ground survey companies that are able to determine any existing pipework or cables on your plot, but you will also need to make contact with the local network operator that own these. Depending on where you are in the country, there is an application process and associated timescales to consider.
We recommend having a proper ground survey carried out to ensure there are no surprises further down the line. When uncovering pipework or cables it is worthwhile photographing the pipework with a ruler to be able to provide evidence of the depth, they are laid to the network operators.
Once you have a confirmed clear site and have had any disconnections or diversions completed by the appropriate bodies, you can then think about your new utility connections. Once again there are always going to be associated timescales with obtaining a quotation (usually 6-8 weeks) and for the works to be scheduled in and undertaken (timescales for these will be dependent on factors such as traffic, management and surface categories, but are generally also in the range of 6-8 weeks). We are often contacted within a few weeks of someone requiring a connection, as people are unaware of the complexities involved with installing new utility supplies.
- Always check your site for existing pipework and cables, and where possible draft in a ground surveyor to properly confirm this.
- If uncovering existing cables, take clear photographs to show the depth pipes are laid at, as this can be useful during your discussions with the networks.
- Quotations usually take around 6-8 weeks and with similar timescales again for the works to be scheduled in. Ensure you factor in these timescales to suit your build programme; never leave it until the last minute.
Utilities may seem like a small and unexciting part of your self-build, but uncovering an old steel gas main, for example, could put your build programme back months, or worse still make it a totally unviable project.
Utility connections can range from simple to extremely complex making it important to give yourself the time to cover any eventuality so you can enjoy your dream home when you plan to!