Our Most Frequently Asked Questions


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 www.gridreferencefinder.com or www.streetmap.com. If the site covers a specific area or is larger than 100m x 100m you will also need a plan showing the site boundary.

3. What area will the utility search cover?

The utility search will be centred on the grid reference and will cover 100m+ around this point unless you have requested a larger area. We use the grid reference as postcodes/addresses 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 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 www.cornerstoneprojects.co.uk and enter the site details to obtain your FREE quote.

7. How quickly will I get a quote?

In most cases we confirm an accurate cost by email in less than 30mins.

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

Please check that:
a) You have completed both pages of our order form and clicked submit (if when you log into our website and view the main screen a search request has Pg2 in the ‘Waiting for’ column then you have not submitted the whole request – please click on the site name, then amend. Review the page, click ‘Continue’, review the second page then click ‘Submit’)

b) Our email hasn’t gone into your spam/junk email box. Please add enquiries@cornerstoneprojects.co.uk 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 10 working days – sometimes we can even get them back to you the same day!

11. Can I request an express service?

We do offer an express/expedited service but only when the relevant utility companies offer the same. There is an extra charge for this. If we cannot expedite the search we will advise you when we confirm the cost and will not include the extra charges.

12. 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.

13. 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.

14. Can I cancel a 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.

15. What will I get?

We will issue plans as Adobe .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.

16. How long are the 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.

17. How do I pay?

You can either pay by credit/debit card though 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.

18. Do you need to visit the site?

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.

19. 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.

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the UK Construction Industry.
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