What is a Utility Diversion?
A utility diversion is when a utility apparatus needs to be relocated or altered in some way. Utility diversions are often necessary when existing underground infrastructure gets in the way of new construction projects. For instance, if an electrical cable lies beneath a plot of land where a developer aims to build new houses, that cable must be relocated to accommodate the housing development. Similarly, utilities like water pipes or telecom lines may need to be moved if they restrict planned construction works. Diversions can be necessary on both private and public land.
How to know when you need a Utility Diversion?
Essentially, any time when leaving utilities in place would obstruct, endanger or prevent essential construction activities from proceeding, exploring a diversion becomes necessary.
A utility diversion is likely needed if:
- Existing underground utility maps or cable scans show pipes, wires, or cables running through where digging or construction is planned.
- Trial holes expose utilities conflicting with intended building works. Unexpectedly finding services often necessitates diversions.
- The local council requests services be redirected based on construction plans.
- Above-ground utility boxes, substations, or telegraph poles require moving to enable the project.
- Existing structures will be demolished, requiring advance utility disconnections or redirections.
- New access roads, water course changes, or terrain grade changes mean existing site utilities need relocation.
- Construction activities, equipment, or material storage would block utility access for future maintenance and repairs.
How much do Utility Diversions cost?
The cost of utility diversions can vary significantly depending on the scale and complexity of the project.
Some key factors that influence utility diversion costs include:
- Extent of the diversion – Longer diversions that require more piping/cabling or infrastructure rebuilds cost more.
- Type of utilities – Simple telecom cable diversions may be cheaper than complex electrical or gas main diversions.
- Ground conditions – Challenging ground like rock makes excavations harder and pricier.
- Access issues – Traffic management and restricted urban sites drive up prices.
- Crews required – More specialized skills such as high voltage electrical specialists may add costs.
- Equipment needs – Heavy machinery, and temporary enclosures all contribute to charges.
- Planning/permitting – Design, approvals and road space bookings must be paid for.
- Scope uncertainties/variations – Cost overruns are common if unexpected complexities emerge.
How long do Utility Diversions take?
Utility diversion timescales are dependent on the type of equipment and its construction, the take taken to complete a utility diversion can vary substantially.
Timescales can be dependant on:
- Permit Approvals – Securing road/pavement closures, traffic diversions and council permits can add weeks/months, as can environmental agency consents.
- Equipment Lead Times – Specialist parts or cabling may have long procurement lead times that dictate work phases.
- Access Issues – Getting access to congested sites near railways or properties brings delays.
- Road Space Availability – Booking limited road space amid other projects is timing-dependent.
- Technical Shortages – A lack of technical specialists can extend schedules.
- Weather Delays – Excavations/civil works get suspended during excess wet or cold conditions.
- Ground Conditions – Hitting unexpected rock, contaminated soil or archaeological items can suspend work.
- Connections to Existing Infrastructure – Hooking up new cabling/pipes safely takes careful planning and execution.
- Emerging Technical Issues – If design issues or complex repairs emerge, more time is required.
- Third-Party Impacts – If existing asset/land owners object to works, negotiations to mitigate concerns can set the program back.
Do you require a Utility Diversion?
If you are uncertain whether your property contains existing utility lines, or you know there are utilities present but don’t know how to get started with potential diversions, please reach out for guidance.
We can advise if any utilities may impact your site and discuss options to verify or safely relocate any services if necessary for your project. Getting professional input is recommended when construction plans clash with utility infrastructure, so let us help assess your situation and where diversions fit into an effective solution.
While diversions can facilitate projects otherwise obstructed by utilities, they require significant coordination and work programming. With early involvement, Connections2energy can ensure that your diversion requirements align with your timescales and budgets.