When building a new home, everyone will tell you to get labor bids and price materials. While these costs are crucial to developing a budget, they are not the only costs of importance. Utility connections are essential to any residential product and costs can vary from area to area. What are utility connections and how does one budget for them?
Utility connections are the costs of tying into the existing infrastructure in an area. These costs are more than the labor to hook up the electricity; they can also be fees imposed by certain entities. For example, if you are building in a development, your home will have a drain on the current infrastructure. Cities, developments, and power companies will assess fees for tying into current power, water, and sewer infrastructure. In order to gather these fees, you will want to contact the building department and utility companies to receive a fee schedule.
If possible, schedule an appointment with a utility company representative to walk over the building lot. This will enable them to more accurately define your fees. But it will also give you an opportunity to discuss the labor aspect of the equation. In many areas, the utility company (or their representatives) will do the physical labor of hooking up the electricity, water, and sewer. If you need to hire a contractor to hook up to the city sewer or run electrical wire, this meeting will define what aspects of the connection are your responsibility.
Budgeting for utilities is crucial to the success of your project. If you have hired a General Contractor to build your home or your deck, or a deck builder, they will be responsible for gathering the costs. However, you will be responsible for paying for the fees and labor. Review the cost schedule with the contractor before finalizing this aspect of your budget. If possible, meet with a utility company representative and the builder so that all parties can get on the same page. Some power companies charge thousands of dollars while others a few hundred. With a large variance like this, you owe it to yourself to investigate the matter.
Homeowners are often distracted with budgeting for labor and material costs. During this time, they (or their contractor) forget to investigate establishing connections to electricity, water, and sewer components. However, these connections cost too much to be ignored. Call your local building department and utility companies to narrow down these costs.