The Self Build Self Help Site services

Electricity and Water

Contact the appropriate service suppliers as soon as possible. Water and electricity will be your first requirement. You may be able to get these services put in to temporary positions but getting this done will still take some time - your electricity company may be reluctant to put in a temporary supply - they may quote safety concerns. Until then, a friendly neighbour can be approached for use of a hose but, regarding electricity, a portable generator is a good purchase. Having this means that you can run an electric mixer and some heavy duty power tools for uses that would tax cordless tools - such as an angle grinder (although a petrol driven angle grinder is also very convenient and will often provide a deeper cut).

Be prepared to fill in comprehensive forms for both electricity and water, which are aimed to determine water consumption requirements (number of baths, showers, bidets, dishwashers etc), whether there are any contaminants in the ground (with regard to surface water removal), and power requirements (whether electrical central heating, electric showers etc).

They will also ask for site plans (1:500), site location plans (1:2500), house plans indicating position of meter cabinets, so be prepared to get extra copies from your architect.

Gas and Telephone

Don't forget the other services - telephone line and gas. If gas is not provided to the area then an oil tank and/or gas bottles will be required - but not for some time. Although these do not usually require digging up the road / pavement, planning the base and a trench for an oil pipe early on may enable you to use any plant required for trenches for the other services.

Connection to Drains

A charge for connection of foul waste to the public sewerage system will be included in the quote provided by the water company. You may be in an area where there is also a public system for surface water but, if not, then you will need to provide a soakpit (soakaway). The detailed plans will contain the dimensions and distance from the house.

Vehicular Access

At an early stage you may need to apply for a license to put in a drop kerb across a pavement - "Construction or Alteration of Vehicular Access". This is requested via a form that should be obtained from the Street Care section of the local authority. This may take some weeks to process. Your all risks insurance that you will need to get may not cover you sufficiently as required by the local authority, in which case you will need to contact a local contractor who has the insurance - the local authority will be able to provide a list of suitable local contractors.

House Number/Name

You may also need to apply for a house number and, although not urgent, do this when in the ordering services frame of mind.

Moving poles

If there is a pole that needs to be moved, e.g. to move away from driveway access, then you will need to apply to the relevant utility company as soon as possible - moving can take a long time. Quite often, a pole will carry both electric and BT cables in which case you will need to apply to both companies. But, more than that, the company that "owns" the pole will need to provide certain information to the other company - which does not always happen. So, as well as badgering the companies for progress, you will need to check that they are indeed talking to each other.