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Our most frequently asked questions

Do you have any questions regarding the services we provide here at Cornerstone Projects? Check out our FAQs below to find the answer you’re looking for.

If you’d like to learn more about anything we do, please don’t hesitate to email us at We’re more than happy to help!

1. Why do I need a utility search?

Anybody carrying out an excavation is required to check whether there are any underground pipes or cables that may be affected (see HSG47). This is primarily for health and safety reasons although it also makes financial sense – damage to buried utilities can be expensive!

2. What information will I need to submit a utility search?

You will need to have the site address including the nearest postcode and the Ordnance Survey six-figure grid reference – this can be obtained from

If the site covers a specific area or is larger than approx. 200m x 200m you will also need a plan showing the site boundary.

3. What area does a utility search cover?

The utility search will be centred on the grid reference and will cover 200mx200m around this point unless you have requested a larger area. We can use the grid reference or postcode.

If you use the latter, please ensure you modify the map to your desired area as postcodes can cover large areas and therefore may not be accurate. Of course, if you have supplied a plan we will cover the area shown on that.

4. What utilities do you search?

We search for water pipes, sewer pipes, electric cables, BT cables, gas pipes, petroleum pipes and cables communication cables although you can tailor your search to fit your requirements by selecting/deselecting individual utilities during your order.

We can also carry out other searches e.g. coal mining searches if required.

5. Do I need to complete a utility search for domestic properties e.g house extensions?

The utility plans will usually only show the utility mains at and around a property – they will not show local connections to the individual property as most of these were never recorded historically.

It may still be worth doing a search, however – there are often main sewers/water/gas pipes etc. running within property boundaries.

6. How much will a utility search cost?

Whilst our basic fee is standard (starting at £58+VAT) the cost of disbursements payable to the utility companies varies from area to area depending on which utility companies need to supply plans – the average cost of a utility search is about £170.

We can’t confirm an exact cost without knowing where the site is – the easiest way to do this is to register/log in to our website and enter the site details to obtain your FREE quote.

7. How quickly will I get a quote for my utility search?

In most cases, we provide an initial quote instantly on-screen and confirm this by email within 20 mins. For some large areas, we may need more time to assess the cost but this is usually sent the same day.

8. Why haven’t I received my emailed quote?

Please check that:

a) You have clicked “send me a quote” at the end of the process. If you want to order, please click “order my search”. Should you need to amend the enquiry to do this, please click the enquiry on the main screen and then click amend.

b) Our email hasn’t gone into your spam/junk email box. Please add to your allowed email addresses.

9. How do I confirm that the quote is acceptable and I wish to go ahead with the search?

Please just reply to our quote email confirming that you want to proceed.

10. How quickly will I get the utility search results?

Again this varies depending on the searches you have ordered and which utility companies we have to search. Our average turnaround is 4.9 working days; nearly all utility searches are completed within 8 working days – sometimes we can even get them back to you the same day!

11. How can I monitor progress?

You can log into our website at any time and see what progress has been made and which utilities are outstanding – we update this in real-time.

12. What happens if I forget my log on details?

Not a problem. Simply go to the login area of our website and request a username/password reminder. You will be asked to input the email address you originally registered with and the reminder details will be sent to this.

13. Can I cancel a utility search?

Once we have confirmed by email that we have proceeded with a utility search we cannot easily cancel it. This is because we process the order immediately and plans are ordered/printed as required at that point, some of which we may have paid for on your behalf.

If you do need to cancel a search let us know as soon as possible and we will try to mitigate the cost as much as possible.

14. What will I get with my utility search?

We will issue plans as pdf files by email and if required hard copies by post. We can also transfer all the utility plans onto Ordnance Survey background mapping using AutoCAD which gives a good overview of the site.

If you would like this, please select our CAD Pack service.

15. How long are the utility plans valid for?

The plans are valid for three months – after this time the search should be carried out again. This is to ensure that the plans cover any possible changes to the buried utilities.

16. How do I pay for my utility search?

You can either pay by credit/debit card through our website using the secure Worldpay system or you can provide us with an order number and pay by invoice.

We can also accept bank transfers if you cannot pay by card and do not want to be invoiced. You have the option to apply for a credit account and pay by invoice if you think you will be doing regular searches – just email us at if you would like to request a credit account.

17. Do you need to visit the site for a utility search?

No, we carry out a desktop search only and do not visit the site to physically survey it – although we can recommend several companies that do.

18. Do you offer any other utility services?

Yes, we can also do utility capacity checks, disconnection quotes, connection quotes and Section 50 Streetworks applications – these can be selected on our website.