Last edited 10 Sep 2019

Utilities' connections

Water, gas, electricity, sewerage and telecommunications are collectively referred to as utilities. Utilities’ connections are those points at which incoming utilities are connected to allow them to serve a user, whether in a house, apartment, commercial or other property.

Services such as water, electricity and gas typically enter a building below ground; those leaving a building (such as drainage) typically either pass through a wall below ground or through the foundation itself if it is of the vertical strip variety. It is therefore important at the design stage to ensure provision is made for these pass-through points eg using precast concrete lintels or brick arches over openings in walls and so on. The process can be simplified if the service pipe can be positioned as the below-ground wall is being built. When passing through foundations, these service supply pipe openings must be formed at the precise locations before concreting takes place, either by using open-ended timber boxes or plastic pipe.

Connection points vary depending on the utility in question. Water connections between supplier and user tend to be close to the boundary of the property. The water company’s stop valve (or stop cock) is usually located on the site perimeter and is connected to the stop valve located within the property and accessible by the customer. From here, the rising main serves the building’s drinking, heating and other facilities and cold-water storage tank (if there is one).

Gas and electricity connections tend to be inside the property at accessible points: the first point of connection for both gas and electricity will be at their respective meter which will be in a position that allows easy reading, both by the user and by utility personnel.

To avoid the risk of explosion, fire and electrocution, electrical services should be well separated from gas and water services. Gas and electricity should not enter the building through the same duct.

The infrastructure necessary to supply utilities may be provided by the network operator, or increasingly, by an independent provider (to an agreed design that is then ‘adopted’ by the network operator). Installing connecting pipes and cabling from the respective gas and electricity metres is usually undertaken by specialist subcontractors and should be carried out before the building’s finishes are applied. Once installed, gas and electrical services should be inspected by representatives of the respective utilities to ensure the work complies with requirements.

In a bid to ensure ongoing safety and efficiency, public utility service organisations may periodically check for possible damage to existing installations.

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