Home Building Lots: Part III

Thu, May 28, 2009

Home Building Lots

Hairy Woodpecker on Phone Pole
Image via Wikipedia

Utility Hookups: Dealing with utility companies is similar to dealing with government jurisdictions, except that they may be privately owned. They usually have very specific rules, specifications, inspections,and procedures that must be followed. To find out what utility companies serve your particular property, first ask the Building Department staff. They can either tell you outright, or give you some leads. Some districts (particularly water and sewer) are very small and local.

  • Talk to each utility company that services or can service the property. Find out if there is a stub or pedestal at your property line, or if you will need to pay to have the line extended from the main. If you are looking at a property within a development, the developer might be planning to make arrangements for service to the property line.
  • Ask about their charges for extending the service from the property line to the structure, or if that is usually done by a contractor, such as a plumber.
  • Ask what is needed to start up accounts with them.
  • Find out what inspections are required for utilities. Typically, there will be building department inspections connected to your permits as well as inspections by the utility company itself.
  • There might be a few surprises, such as particularly high hookup fees, high electric company fees for connection to the building, large-size water meter needed for a large house or one far from the main road, or a special kind of sewer installation.
  • There are many rural locations with no natural gas, cable TV or even garbage collection.

Electric, Phone, TV, Radio, and Internet Access:

  • See the section on Utility Companies, above.
  • Check your CC&R’s and Planning Dept. to see if you are required to install underground telephone, TV, and electrical service. This type of service is more attractive and secure from damage, but also more expensive, than overhead service.
  • There are many different providers of internet access; it can be quite confusing. Some of the agencies and contractors you might speak with are: phone company, cable TV company, satellite provider and installer, low voltage or communications contractor, and local internet service provider. Just ask them what services they can provide to the specific property.
  • Ask the phone company if there is fiber optic service available or scheduled to be available.
  • Television service may be provided by a cable TV company or by a satellite TV company.
  • Radio reception is also available via satellite.
  • All satellite dishes must aim their satellite. The satellite company can give you instructions as to what part of the sky you must aim for. There must be no obstructions to interfere with the signal. If you are having a house designed, this information should be given to the designer or architect.
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