When working on any construction project, connecting up the utilities is always a vital step, and one which is quite often known to be the cause of delays.
In most projects, ‘utilities’ will generally include electricity, gas, water, sewage and communication services (such as telephone and internet). In the UK, these will be supplied by private companies that are regulated by the government.
There are a few different areas that need to be considered right at the beginning of a construction project to help ensure that everything ticks along on time.
For the best approach read our post on planning and the importance of having a Utilities Strategy before you start a project involving utilities. It could save you ££££££s.
Location of infrastructure
It’s important to give consideration to the location of your utility’s infrastructure, for example whether it will require easements or wayleave. You need to make sure that everything is accessible for maintenance purposes, as otherwise this could cause more issues down the line if any of the lines were to go down.
When it comes to metering, you need to make plans for where these will be positioned, especially if you’re building a multi-occupancy building as this can make a huge difference to connection costs and timescales.
Ideally, gas meters should be located in a purpose built external cavity, or be externally surface mounted somewhere with plenty of ventilation.
It’s important to engage with Utility Connection Providers early on in your build to get a good understanding of any potential challenges that may occur so that you can work these into your development plan.
Consider whether other buildings near to yours are already connected to utility networks as these could potentially be branched out to your site and save you additional time and costs. They will need to be surveyed to ensure there is enough capacity for you to run through these as well, and it’s important to understand this early on in your build.
You will also need to have a very good idea of the anticipated utility demand of your structure. Although a general idea can be gained from an Ordnance Survey, you will need to take into account a lot more detail, such as the mix of domestic properties or industrial units, in order to get a more specific answer.
In general, some of the key things you can do to avoid delays are:
- Start discussions with utility providers early on
- Provide as much information as possible
- Keep lines of communication open
- Provide the necessary access to utility providers
- Submit all required documents on time
If you need some more guidance on the issues above you’ll be pleased to hear a welcomed change in the industry came in 2014 with the aim of providing clear guidance and expectations across the utilities industry. See our article Utilities for Construction and Operation which has a link to this guide.
How bringing on an expert can help
Utilities are often an afterthought in the construction process, which can have really negative consequences later down the line. Working with an expert Utilities Connection Provider right from the start of your build can be a gamechanger when it comes to saving money and keeping to your schedule.
At Haggar Construction, we have over 40 years’ experience working within the construction industry, including expertise in utilities infrastructure and planning. Our family-run team are dedicated to ensuring top quality results on all projects that we work on, no matter how big or small.
If you’d like to speak to us about your build, we would love to hear from you. You can get in touch by completing the form below.