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Getting to grips with Utility Services for Self-Builds

shutterstock_303643166Building your dream home is for many of us a pie in the sky idea but for some people dreams do turn into reality. If you’ve seen the perfect plot of land and are ready to make an offer and build your dream home, you will no doubt have done all your research into costs, planning, access etc. But just in case you’ve overlooked the obvious here’s a little help and advice on utility services and some of the pitfalls.

Connecting utility services should never be overlooked or assumed that it will be a quick and easy part of your self-build. This phase of your build will need careful investigation, planning and given plenty of time to ensure you don’t fall behind with project planning or blow your budget at your first hurdle.

The good news is that you can start obtaining connection quotes before you buy the land. This includes all services such as electricity, gas, telephone and water for instance. If the land did not have a property on it previously you will be investigating new connection costs and for plots that had a previous dwelling that you are demolishing, you will need to ask for isolation and reconnection costs.

Sadly, contacting service providers often takes time and can be a lengthy process. Be prepared for it take longer than you think and build in contingency plans for costs and timings just in case something takes much longer than you think. Once you have contact with them however they will provide guidance on how they would like their services to be laid and will normally agree that all services can be laid in one trench, helping to reduce labour costs. But make sure you agree when pipes etc will need to be inspected before they are covered over.

Drainage can cause issues especially if there is not a nearby mains drain to connect to. There are two types of drainage, Foul Drainage and Sanitary Pipework. Foul drainage carries all wastewater from toilets, sinks, baths, showers, dishwashers etc underground whereas sanitary pipework is all the pipework above ground. Foul drains and foul sewers are both located underground. Most people’s preference is to connect to a mains drain and as long as there was a property on the plot beforehand or if the land next door is already connected to the mains drainage then this shouldn’t be a problem. If your main drain is located more than 200 metres away or is higher than your outlet then although it may be possible to pump your waste uphill with the right equipment, it may be easier to investigate septic tank or treatment plant options. There are many experienced drainage supplies companies who will be able to offer advice and will have a range of suitable products to suit your requirements.

shutterstock_1096242290Connecting electricity can sometimes be the most expensive service so just be prepared to up your budget for this one. Contact your regional electricity distributor to confirm all the requirements needed.

One other thing to note is that your water connection will differ to electricity and gas in that you will only have one local provider. Your water supply costs will be based on the length of the run. Also note that all new water connections are now metered.

For more advice on building your own home visit https://www.homebuilding.co.uk/ or https://www.selfbuildanddesign.com/