Utility and service connections often prove to be a bit of a headache for self builders and professional house-builders alike, so it pays to familiarize yourself with what’s involved and to plan well in advance.
In this section we hope to make the process a little clearer and point you in the right direction to get hooked up with water, gas, electricity and telephone.
The Utility Industries
Privatisation of the gas, electricity, water and waste water industries in the 1980s and 90s led to open competition and regular mergers, acquisitions, divisions and restructures which means it is often hard enough to find out who to contact for a new connection, never mind getting it completed.
Regional distribution networks provide the infrastructure to transport each utility and these are often owned and operated by one company whilst another company will supply, meter and sell the raw material to the customers through the network.
To deliver these services, a whole range of ever changing departments and subcontracted companies are tasked with administration, installation and maintenance. Experience has shown us that some employees seem just as perplexed with the organizational complexities as their customers can be.
Anyway, they’re doing their best and we need some services, so best foot forward and let’s push on.
Do Your Research Early
Whether you need to get involved with new utility and service connections will depend on how involved you are with the management of your build, or even whether you have bought a serviced plot or not.
If you are project managing your own build then the chances are you will need to organise these connections yourself.
Most new connections require you to fill out an application form, from which a work plan and quotation is prepared. Once you have agreed the plan and made payment, lead times of 6 weeks or more for a connection date are common. If the work will disrupt any busy roads in the process, the wait can extend into several months while the appropriate notice is given.
If you need a water supply for mixing materials on site or power for tools, equipment or a caravan you intend to live in, you’ll need temporary services at the very start of your project.
Another good reason to get in touch with these network companies early on is to make use their ‘dial-before-you-dig’ services which provide maps of underground service locations near or on your plot which should help prevent any unfortunate mishaps with excavations!
Utility And Service Connections – Tips:
- Do your research nice and early.
- Keep a thorough log of all correspondence, conversations and actions.
- Find out what your responsibilties are. What do you need to do, buy or have in place for the connection process to run smoothly?
- You can often make savings by excavating and reinstating ground on-site if you wish. If you can coordinate this with other services, even better.
- If it does get complicated, just keep smiling.
Let’s Have A Look At Each Utility In Turn
Telephone and Internet (link coming soon)
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