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Putting in the utilities -  water, electric and telecoms

Because our house was previously a barn it had no utilities connected to it, no water or electric or phone line so before we could actually move into our house we needed to get them all connected.

This is easier said than done, you need to make an application to each utility provider, they carry out a survey, tell you where they will connect you into their network and then in most cases charge you an enormous amount of money for the privilege of connecting to them and becoming a paying customer of theirs......


 BT ducting, and 200 metre reel of fibre.

What most people don't realise is that your connection fee does not include any trench work!
It is your responsibility to dig any trenches and lay the water main telecoms ducting and fibre yourself from your building out to what ever point you have been advised will be your connection point for that utility.

For the electric connection you put in ducting a you let the engineers know when you are ready and they will come out and pull their cable through and make the connection, however it is also you responsibility for fitting the meter box and hockey-stick pipe to the building (hollow pipe shaped like a hockey stick which the electric cable passes up through into your meter box).


 Alan with the pipe detector tracing and marking where the various pipes and cables run

Our water connection was on the right hand side at the very end of our drive on the side of the road, our BT phone line connection was up t the base of the BT pole at the very end of our drive on the left hand side  by the road and our electric connection was to the base of the electricity pole half way down our drive on the right hand side.

Just to complicate things a bit all of the utilities for one of our neighbours ran down the left hand side of the drive and their electricity connection crossed over to the right at some point and there were "probably" various drains and pipes also running across the drive for our other neighbours at various points but these things are never mapped out on agricultural land. Our utilities trench had to go down the right hand side of the drive, if we encountered any other pipes or services we would need to tunnel under them and we would also need to cut across the bottom of our drive with a trench for the BT ducting. The total length of the dig for the trench from our house down the drive to the road was about 180 metres and all I can say is that it is a good job we had Alan the digger driver to help us.


At first when Alan said to me "Iestyn, can you just get your hand down the drain and find out what's blocking it"
I really did think he was joking......

First to go in is the water main, this must be at least 1 meter deep and the water board do need to check it is at this depth. So that you don't need to leave the trench open for a week until it is inspected (and trenches do have a habit of caving in anyway, especially when it is wet) you position lengths of pipe stood up over the water main at intervals along the length of your trench so that the depth can be checked before your water is connected.

You cover the water main with a layer of sand and then next you lay the electric ducting, which you then cover with a layer of sand and on top of this you put the BT ducting which you need to feed the BT fibre through as you go along.

Alan would dig the trenches with his digger and I would work alongside him, this sounded quite glamorous at first until I realised that what this meant was that I would order all of the equipment and materials required and then spend the majority of the time working in a trench over a meter deep and up to my knees in thick wet mud and water, laying the pipes and ducting.


 A sequence of pictures showing one of the numerous instances where we encountered something crossing the path of our trench. Here it was the main drains for our next door neighbours crossing right in front of our trench so we had to dig underneath so that we could pass our utilities through and guess who had to lay face down in the trench with a spade and garden trowl and burrow underneath?
 - well not the digger driver that's for sure!

You also need to bear in mind that we were doing this during early March (know as the rainy month), it rained almost the whole time and it was cold as well so spending every day stood in a cold wet muddy trench was not my idea of fun and I had used my holidays up from work to do this too .........oh I know how to spoil myself.