Statutory undertakers are bodies that have been given statutory powers in relation to functions that are of a ‘public’ character. Statutory undertakers may have rights (such as the right to carry out certain works without obtaining the normal permissions) and obligations (such as the supply of utilities).
Statutory undertakers include public bodies such as the Post Office, Civil Aviation Authority, the Environment Agency and so on, and private bodies such as those performing functions in relation to railways, canals, electricity supply, gas, water, sewerage and electronic communications.
 Right to connection
It is important in the early stages of a project to assess the availability of, and rights to key services on a proposed site.
In October 2012, Schedule 3 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 came into force. This requires the inclusion of sustainable drainage of surface water (SUDS) in developments that require planning approval or have drainage implications. It removes the automatic right established by the Water Industry Act to connect to public sewers and instead gives powers to local authorities as SUDS Approving Bodies (SAB’s) to approve new drainage systems and their connection to public sewers.
 Water supply
For domestic premises, the statutory undertaker must supply a connection to the boundary of the street (within a reasonable agreed time), but onward supply is the responsibility of the owner, and if this requires passing through others land, this may mean agreeing an easement or licence with third party land owners. If the street supply is not within a reasonable distance, the owner can require the undertaker to extend their mains, but this may incur a payment.
For non-domestic premises it is for the owner and the undertaker to reach an agreement, but if such an agreement cannot be reached, then the Director General of Water Services will make a determination.
Owners or occupiers have the right to receive a gas supply within a reasonable, notified time if the premises are within 23 metres of an existing mains. Otherwise, they may be connected by a pipe that they have laid themselves.
Owners or occupiers have the right to receive an electricity supply within a reasonable, notified time, to an agreed maximum power. However the owners or occupiers may be required to pay any reasonable expenses incurred.
 Electronic communications
Following the privatisation of British Telecommunications (BT), the terms for the provision of electronic communications are dependent on individual operators licences, statutory regulations and the term of the supply contract with the owners or occupiers. BT has however been designated as the provider of universal service in the UK, and under The Universal Service Obligation (USO) BT has obligations in relation to the provision of access to the telephone network, schemes for consumers with special social needs and public call box services. BT also has obligations in relation to data provision under the Enterprise Act.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
Energy from waste and its key role in a low carbon economy.
Sir Ranulph Fiennes was guest speaker at the BSRIA Briefing - Tomorrow’s challenges in today’s buildings.
Read our introductory article to the Common Arrangement of Work Sections. What are they, what are the categories?
Acknowledging the unique requirements of projects in historic environments.
CIAT announces that Alex Naraian has been inaugurated as its new President.
Read our introductory article to the mechanical ventilation of buildings.
Do infrastructure professionals expect too much, or the wrong thing, from their sustainability colleagues?
Government announces new legal powers to give the North a say on how money is spent on transport.
If you are studying a built environment-related degree, we've got hundreds of articles designed to help you out.
Have a look at this lily-shaped building that has been awarded a low carbon certification by BREEAM.
What is dot and dab, and how can the typical defects be recognised and rectified?
How to get beyond the sales pitch and assess supplier sustainability.
Late payment has been a blight on the industry for decades - but what are the causes?