A self build house project diary
by Oliver Cannell
Wednesday 12th November 2014
(published/edited Sunday 25th January 2015)

Connecting to the outside world - water, gas and electricity

It's great to get the services sorted but it was a slightly painful process to get it completed.

Over a period of 3-4 weeks, the services have been installed, to connect the house up to the main gas, electricity and water suppliers in the area.

The first job, for the builders themselves, was to dig a trench down one side of the plot, to accommodate all the ducts and pipes, which will bring the supplies up from the road, to the connection points on the house. As we have laid all the services into a single trench, they have been stacked in a certain order, as some need to be placed deeper than others.

Water

The mains water pipe needed to be deepest, to help keep it at a constant temperature underground, to prevent it freezing in the winter. The builders laid the blue water pipe in themselves and brought this into the house (in the corner of the kitchen). The pipe then runs along the whole length of the trench to the pavement, where it was then rolled up, ready for connection to the supply by the water company. A blue plastic tape was then laid just above the pipe, to identify its location, should anyone be digging in the same location in the future.

Of all the suppliers, the water was the most expensive, as we had to have more of the road and pavements dug up, to bring the supply in from across the street. The powers-that-be dictated that we had to have a set traffic lights on the T-junction outside to control the traffic over the 2 days that everything was happening. I hope the neighours didn't mind - although we had to laugh when we found ourselves being stopped on a red light, at our 'own' traffic signals!

Electricity

The black duct (approx 50mm in diameter) for the electricity supply was laid next. This runs from the pavement up to the meter box built into the side of the house. The electricity cable was pulled up through the duct, using a draw-cord (piece of rope), and connected to the main supply cable under the pavement. At the house-end, the cable was brought up into the meter box and connected to a terminal ready for the meter to be fitted (by another company).

Apparently the electricity meter supplier (the people who send out the monthly bills) are a different company to the ones providing and maintaining the main supply in the streets. The electricity meter will be fitted in a few weeks, once I have booked that in.

Gas

This one proved to be a lot harder to achieve. Despite a yellow duct being laid, the thicker and heavier gas pipe didn't easily slide up the duct when pulled from the other end. Normally if the duct is straight, it should be a simple enough job, but our 30m length had a few minor kinks in which caused too much friction to enable it to be done in one smooth motion.

So, I had to dig down to the duct in a couple of places (fun, not!) so they could cut into it and pull the pipe up in a number of sections. These then had to be welded together to form a single span of pipe from the main supply under the pavement, up to the house.

The pipe was then connected to a hideous looking brown plastic meter box, which was fixed to the side of the kitchen wall (at ground level). Apparently - according to the gas connection guys - I could have had a meter fitted in the wall of the house, just like the electricity meter. Had I been informed of this upfront, I would of course have chosen this option to keep things clean and tidy.... but no one mentioned anything about that option originally - not even the builders when they were building the walls!

Now we have a horid looking meter box, ready to be tripped-over when walking up to the front door. We'll just have to disguise it with a pot plant or something. Hmph!

Next entry: Here come the windows (Thursday 13th November 2014)

Previous entry: Boarding out and insulating the roof (Friday 7th November 2014)

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