This year, the demand for new homes across the UK has soared to an all-time high, and almost 50,000 houses have been built in the first three months of 2021. Yet this is just the tip of the iceberg, with the UK government recently setting a target goal of delivering 300,000 homes a year by the mid 2020s.
Building new homes is a large part of the government’s strategy for the UK’s post-pandemic recovery – and one thing that all houses have in common is the need for suitable utility infrastructure.
New homes must come with multi-utility connections, delivering a range of critical functions including heat, cooling, power, digital connectivity and clean drinking water. As with all modern utilities the planning and infrastructure does come with certain challenges to overcome.
Keep reading to find out how utilities are installed into new build developments and the tasks that come with them.
Gas is frequently the cost-effective option for heating your home and hot water, so for new building sites it’s essential they have an appropriate supply.
Before housing estates can apply for a gas supply, they need to be clear about their consumption requirement. The amount of gas used is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh). It is essential to consider all gas consumption throughout the properties including any demand for heating, hobs and boilers.
To supply gas to a property it must first be connected to the gas grid. Gas Transportation Companies can then provide a connection from the nearest supply to the gas meter of the properties. This connection is usually built under the ground in pipes and then connected to the gas meter for the property.
All newbuild houses need a water connection to the water main and a connection to the public sewer to take sewage away. In most new estates there’s a water main in the road or footpath nearby which is then connected to your property by engineers.
‘Water mains’ are the large infrastructure pipes that distribute water around the nationwide network. ‘Communication pipes’ carry water between the water mains and the boundary of private properties. ‘Supply pipes’ are the smaller pipes that carry water from communication pipes into the property.
With changes to the way homes are heated going forward, electricity is likely to play an increasingly major role in how we heat our properties.
Distribution network operators (DNO’s) are responsible for electricity in geographical areas (e.g. Scottish & Southern, UK Power Networks..) and new build companies will apply with their early proposals to be able to access their energy. Supply cables will normally need to be laid in trenches both within and outside of the new development.
Before being put into a new development high voltage electricity will need to be converted to low voltage. Substations are where electricity lines are connected and switched and where the voltage is changed by transformers.
The electricity supply will then be routed from the substation to a meter box that is built into a newbuild property wall.
In the UK, as well as a traditional telephone, every household now requires a broadband or fibreoptic cable connection. Customers now see their broadband as effectively an expected ‘fourth service’ given just as much importance as gas, electric and water.
New home owners expect their telecoms to be available immediately from their move in date, meaning the trenches and wires need to be laid and connected way in advance.
Today, newbuilds can access fibre up to the premises, also known as ultrafast full fibre. This fibre is connected to the individual property and allows for fast, reliable broadband.
The same general rules that apply to installing telecoms equipment, apply to both broadband infrastructure and mobile infrastructure. They need to happen early and around the same timeline as other utilities.
How Can PDI Utilities Help?
At PDI Utilities all our services are installed within a single trench where possible. This minimises excavation costs and inconvenience to the site. We aim to provide you with the reliable infrastructure you need to run your home properly.
At PDI Utilities we plan, design and install the infrastructure needed for water, gas, electricity and telecoms, supplied into residential, commercial and industrial developments. With no hidden additional costs we provide you with an all-inclusive fixed price. We can give you increased reliability and flexibility which can only be associated with an independent utility specialist with a proven track record like ours.
If you want to learn more about how PDI Utilities can help with the infrastructure of your water connections, gas connections and electricity connections call 01603 258670.