Press release

New guide will better connect our new homes to vital services

New homes should be connected to vital utility services more quickly under plans announced by Housing Minister Brandon Lewis.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Blueprints

The new practical guide is a significant step in speeding up the process of getting new developments connected to gas, water and electricity, as part of push to help hardworking people get into their new homes sooner.

It will also drive up performance of utilities companies across the board by providing a clear set of standards and making it crystal clear how developers and companies should be working together to make sure more developments are completed on time and on budget.

The move is one of the latest in the government’s long term economic plan to get Britain building and get people into the new homes that they have worked hard for.

Better connected new homes

Today’s (19 December 2014) guide will, for the first time, offer a clear code of practice setting out how utility companies and developers should work together when building a new housing development.

This includes ensuring that:

  • the developer works with utilities companies even before planning permission is granted to ensure the existing network has the capacity to supply the new homes

  • developers get quotes from electricity, gas and water companies as well as broadband and telephone service providers, which should be offered within a set period of time

  • a set schedule is put in place clearly stating the time it will take to complete the work to connect new homes to these utilities – and that both developers and utility companies stick to it

Today’s guide also sets clear performance standards for electricity, gas and water companies, as well as telephone and broadband providers.

It offers the first step towards speeding up the process by which new developments are connected to mains services.

Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis said:

We’ve got the country building again, with planning permission granted on 240,000 homes in the last year alone.

“But if we want this to continue new developments must be connected to the key utilities more quickly.

So I’m pleased to see the developers and utility companies working together towards this, and today’s practical guide is the first step to speeding up this process, with clear standards set for both sides to follow.

Dave Mitchell, Technical Director at the Home Builders Federation said:

HBF welcomes the better connected publication from DCLG and its recognition of the importance of efficient, customer focused utilities provision for future housing supply.

Housebuilders are keen to work with government and the utility industry and to play our part in ensuring processes are in place that enable utility providers to install the necessary connections in new homes for when our customers need them.

Brian Berry, Chief Executive at the Federation of Master Builders said:

The installation of utilities connections is not always as harmonious a process as it should be. This is the cause of significant delays in development and is the source of frustration and friction between providers and developers. Improving this situation requires not just smart regulation, but also greater clarity, transparency and improved communication between all parties. This guide is a helpful contribution to this, setting out clearly what is expected of all parties involved.

Pamela Taylor, Water UK Chief Executive, said:

It is absolutely vital that all the relevant sectors and industries pull together to deliver the government’s programme for the essential homebuilding that we so urgently need.

The water industry is fully committed to removing the barriers so development can happen faster and better.

The standards we have set in the better connected guide show exactly how the water and sewerage industry is committed to improving infrastructure delivery and to ensuring that connection times and costs are reduced.

Maxine Frerk, Senior Partner (Smarter Grids and Governance) at Ofgem, said:

We recognise how important it is that developers connect to gas and electricity in a speedy and timely manner and we’ve implemented a number of measures to help achieve this. We welcome the steps that government has taken to assist developers in understanding the process to get connected.

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Published 19 December 2014