What to consider when looking at utility records

Are you planning – or undertaking – site works? Then you will need details of existing utilities to help your project go smoothly.

Tip 1

Understand the operating voltage or pressure of existing equipment. This can determine the actual of any constraints such as ‘no construction within XXm of high-pressure gas mains’. This is not always obvious and can take a trained eye to spot the major risks.

Tip 2

Do not assume all utility equipment is recorded. A set of records is not a definitive guide to outstanding apparatus, it is the starting point. There are high degrees of inaccuracy and often significant omissions. For example, in most areas utility services (equipment running from the local main network into individual properties) are not recorded. In answer to the obvious question ‘then why bother with records?’, it’s because all Health & Safety procedures state these are the starting point prior to any work commencing.

Tip 3

Understand the construction type of utility equipment. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, across the gas industry safety zones are dependent on pipe material, so cast iron mains have different safety criteria to Polyethylene (PE) mains. Secondly, from a practical perspective, when undertaking investigation work knowing what type of water main you are looking for can help.

Tip 4

Identify equipment owners. Whilst there is much genuine advice published regarding ‘avoiding danger’, the best source of advice is available from the network owners. Gone are the days when all electric cables where owned by the local electricity company, so understanding who owns existing equipment is an important consideration when sourcing the best safety information.

Tip 5

Understanding the purpose of the equipment is important. For example, a single electrical service serving a building due for demolition is less of a constraint than a major circuit crossing the site to serve adjacent properties.

By using our tips, you now know what to look out for once you have obtained your utility records. Take the stress out of your project, and use a Utility Search to get all the details you need with minimum effort.

For more information please contact our friendly team today and an expert will be happy to assist.

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