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  • Zuzanna Rachmielowska

What kind of utilities should you set up before building a house?

Building your own place isn't just about putting up walls and a roof — it's about having everything you need to live comfortably. Essential utilities like gas, electricity, and water are the lifeblood of any functional home. Securing connections to these main grids is a crucial step, and one that requires careful planning before construction begins.


construction site

Are utility connections needed during construction?


When building something, it's important to make sure all the necessary things work properly.  Before directing the workers to the construction site, the contractor needs water and electricity connections. In cooler temperatures, for instance, ensuring adequate warmth inside is crucial for laying down certain construction materials. Installing things like wallboard and flooring demands a controlled environment.


Essential Utilities Required for Construction


Power Supply for the Construction Site


Electrical power is one of the most important things to do before starting construction work. Nevertheless, it raises numerous technical and formal inquiries and concerns. Using the power grid connection to deliver electricity to the construction site is the best option that can be done technically.  This ensures consistent and secure access to electricity throughout the construction process. However, it comes with associated costs and formalities. 


The first thing you need to do is find out if your site has a power connection. This is easy: if there is an electrical box near the plot's edge, it's likely that a target connection is already in place. Having an existing box makes the process easier and quicker, but it doesn't mean you'll get electricity immediately. It's important to know that even if the box is there, you still need to follow a formal process set by the energy company.


Establishing a new electricity connection for a self-built property follows a similar process to connecting to the mains gas supply. Instead of engaging with a supplier, you will contact the local distribution network operator responsible for your area. You'll get details about the connection process and the associated costs from them. Collaborate with the supplier to determine the optimal location for the electricity meter, ensuring accessibility and adherence to safety standards.


Submit a formal application, providing details of the independent construction project, the planned electrical load, and any required documents.  The process of installing a meter usually involves laying cables underground from the power grid to your home, putting the meter in the right place, and making sure it follows the rules after you ask for permission. 


electricity

Getting gas connected


It's advisable to contact gas providers as well as local distribution companies to understand their requirements and procedures.  It is best to arrange for gas services before you lay the foundations, so that you don't have to dig again later. 


To get a new gas connection, you need to connect your project to the main source of natural gas. Start by contacting the gas supplier of your choice to establish a fresh gas connection for your self-built residence. They will give you details about available tariffs, connection expenses, and the application process, which you can use in your self-build plan. Ask your gas supplier to give you a price estimate. You will find out how much it costs to connect your home to the gas line. This includes installing pipes and a gauge. Ensure that the gas meter is accessible for readings and adheres to safety regulations by working with the gas supplier. 


The gas supplier will coordinate the installation of the gas connection, which may involve digging trenches and laying gas conduits once your application is approved. The gas meter will be placed at the agreed-upon site, followed by safety checks to make sure it meets regulations.


Water Supply and Sewer Connections


If you have construction work to do, your construction site will probably need water. It is essential to submit a construction water supply application before beginning the building process.  Installing water for a new building project is easier than installing gas and electricity.  Since most areas are serviced by a single water supply company, it is often easier to select from multiple providers or negotiate contracts for a water connection, since most areas are serviced by a single water supply company.

Useful tip: The pipe volume calculator can help you to estimate the size of a pipe. This calculator is an invaluable tool for anyone who needs to know the exact volume of water in a pipe.


Water installations typically pose fewer safety concerns than gas or electricity installations. Ensured water quality and safety is essential, but the associated risks are generally lower. Also, setting up a water connection may require less work than setting up gas or electrical connections. Water connections require fewer inspections and compliance checks. It's important to keep in mind that the ease of setting up water can vary based on factors like location, local rules, and the state of the existing water infrastructure. It is a good idea to talk to your local water supply company early in the planning phase to find out what they need and how much they charge. Also, make sure you follow all local rules and get any permits needed for your water connection.


water installation

Securing Utility Lines During House Construction and Renovation

Protecting utility lines during home construction and renovation is crucial. It's not only the existing lines that need to be protected. Often, workers accidentally disturb new lines. It's important to mark and protect new lines clearly to avoid damage. 


Unfortunately, there are instances where cables or pipes sustain damage, but the incidents are not reported or the excavator is unaware of the damage. This can lead to faults that may not have been noticed and come up later. For example, electrical cables might fail months later because water gets in. Similarly, water pipes may develop leaks, leading to high water bills and saturated ground. Damage to sewer and stormwater pipes can lead to clogs or settle in the surrounding areas, making it challenging to spot and fix, especially if the affected areas are covered in asphalt, concrete, or other landscaping. The resolution of these issues may prove to be costly, highlighting the significance of safeguarding both existing and new cables and pipes. Workers should be very careful when digging near known lines and report any problems or damage quickly.


Be careful! Overhead power cables can be dangerous because equipment near them may be susceptible to power arcing, which could cause equipment damage, injury, or even death for people who are near them. 


Remember, when you handle long ladders or things that are close to low cables. If power lines fall or broken, tell the utility company right away. Electrocution accounts for 7.2% of construction-related deaths, according to the Centre of Disease Control and Prevention.


Cables and pipes embedded within the floors, walls, and roofs of houses are susceptible to damage during installation processes such as cutting and drilling. Many houses that are almost finished have had water pipes and power cables damaged while installing fixtures, especially in bathrooms.  Such mishaps pose a risk and cost money, often requiring the removal of tiles and partitions.  Flooding from damaged water pipes can damage cabinets and floor finishes, which shows how important it is to handle and install things carefully.


solar pannels

What about renewable power sources?


When you are in the process of evaluating power options for your new house, it is advisable to consider renewable energy sources.  For instance, the installation of solar panels can prove to be a costly yet beneficial addition to any residence. According to Architectural Digest, solar panels have the potential to enhance home values by 4.1%, resulting in a value of approximately $12,000 on a home valued at $300,000. This investment is essentially reimbursable.


Furthermore, solar panels not only help you save money on utility charges, they can also help you create a power-free system by incorporating solar home batteries.

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