The Joy of Hiring General Contractors

Why You Need to Proceed With Care If You Want to Build over an Asset

If you plan to build a new structure on recently acquired land, you will, of course, need the relevant approval first. As you may know, you will first need to get planning permission to satisfy the local authority that your structure will "fit in." Secondly, you will need to get building approvals to ensure that the structure itself is safe, compliant and durable. Yet did you know that you also need to get approval if your project is near an underground utility installation? This is known as "building over an asset," so what is involved?

Protecting Underground Assets

Many different utility companies have such assets underground as they seek to connect sewers, water mains and other facilities. They want to protect these assets at all times to avoid disruption, and various rules and regulations have been created that apply to private developers like yourself.

How It Works

Some of these rules can vary by jurisdiction, but if you're not careful, you can risk fines and penalties if any damage is caused during construction or excavation. You will need to lodge plans with the local council, but they will not be able to proceed unless you also have approval from the relevant utility company. Generally, these companies will not stand in your way if you are sensible about your request and give them enough information at the outset. They want to satisfy themselves that your project won't damage the infrastructure but that it will not limit their access to their assets either.

Detailed Plans and Applications

To move forward, you have to submit detailed plans that identify where the pipes and connections are, the diameter of the relevant pipe and the distance from your work. You may also need to submit title search details and, in some cases, video footage showing the asset in relation to your proposed plans. You need to make sure that you do not obstruct any maintenance covers or other access points in any way to stand the best chance of approval.

Your Best Approach

There's a lot to understand here, and if you have more than one utility installation to consider, you may need to make additional applications. As you're not familiar with the regulations and want to ensure that this goes through at your first time of asking, always work with a building approval expert. They certainly know how to proceed and will answer many of the additional questions that you may have.