It’s never too soon to get connected

Pipeline construction

Firms looking to get hooked up to the Scottish water network should waste no time starting the process. Willie Aitken explains why.

IN the majority of cases, water gets short shrift on new construction projects. But if not considered early it’s an area that can add weeks, or even months, to the opening of a new building.
In particular, I’m talking about connecting your new project to the water network. It might not be the first task that springs to mind, usually because it is one of the last things to be completed. However, it’s the responsibility of the applicant to get the submission right.
The forms and procedure can be complex but this can be mitigated to a certain degree by getting in touch with your licensed provider early.
There are a variety of application types covering different areas. As a result, we find more than 90% of the 50 to 60 applications we receive a week need to be revisited because they are missing information or require revisions.
Here are two pieces of advice: if your application isn’t complete, don’t send it away. And if you’re unsure about any of the information you are submitting, don’t send the forms in the hope they will get through the process.
What many people don’t realise is that if your application is incomplete or requires amendments, this represents a false start. The clock doesn’t begin until the application has been finalised and submitted to Scottish Water.
In theory, the perfect application will take about 12 weeks to get you connected to the water network. But due to the nature of the process, this is seldom achieved.
Typically, paperwork will be submitted to your licensed provider, who will check it and pass this on to Scottish Water. Scottish Water then has up to six weeks, depending on the type of application, to provide approval or ask for amendments. All this takes time, but the next step should be that the forms are returned with feedback to your licensed provider, and you are notified with a quote and any attached conditions.
At the same time, bear in mind you’ll have to lay the groundwork for Scottish Water’s contractors coming on site to connect you up. That means exposing the existing public main to which you will be connecting, as well as laying pipework in the track. Any additional fittings will need to be ready for installation too.
Doing all this is no easy feat. The good news is that licensed providers are in a good position to help you through all this. As one of them, Business Stream can provide a number of services that will make your connection a lot simpler and easier to manage.
In one instance, a new connection was required urgently for a care home. With time pressure being of the utmost importance on this project, getting everything right the first time was crucial.
We ensured there would be no delay when the application was passed to Scottish Water, while the organisation’s contractors were put on standby so they were ready to make the physical connection at exactly the right time. This meant the development could be connected up quickly and open its doors on time.
Connecting to the water network can be a long and sometimes cumbersome process. However, a lot of this can be avoided if you take the right steps in the first place. Our advice boils down to this: get in touch as soon as you get planning consent. It’s never too soon to be thinking about connecting your project up to the network.
• By Willie Aitken, project manager at Business Stream.