12 January 2022 Energy Infrastructure, Metering

Need a gas connections service? Three major risks you need to consider…

Engineer installing gas meter

For any type of business, big or small, handling the complex works often required around a commercial gas supply – whether it be a new or relocated gas connection, disconnection, meter installation or removal – can be a tricky process with many moving parts.

There are frequently changing regulations to consider and there can be multiple parties involved, from gas transporters, to the local authority (if your project is a particularly complex and may cause local disruption), to the Distribution Network Operator (DNO).

Liaising with all these different parties, not to mention sourcing quotes from different contractors to ensure you are getting a fair price, can be extremely burdensome – taking valuable time and resource away from your core business. Without special knowledge of the marketplace, this complex process can also present a number of risks that have real potential to derail your project.

What are the main risks involved in a gas connection project?

Design Risk

As mentioned, connecting, diverting, or disconnecting gas supply to a development is rarely a straightforward thing. Network nuances and the lay of the land often present multiple challenges and obstacles that could put your project schedule and budget in jeopardy if not accounted for during the design stage. Without a well-thought-out plan, unexpected yet avoidable delays and extra costs resulting from such factors as diversions or third-party land disputes, can quickly add up and throw your project off course.

Cost Risk

Like any service-based marketplace, gas connections costs can vary wildly depending on the contractor you choose, the complexity of the work involved, and the experience and expertise they have. This can be particularly risky for businesses or individuals who are not regularly engaged with this market – a pretty common scenario if you are undergoing a one-off utility project for an individual site. So, as with any service, it’s crucial for customers to understand exactly what they are paying for in order to get the best value for money. Customers not only encounter cost risk at the procurement stage of their project, but at the design stage too. Without a detailed understanding of technical utility design regulations and processes, you could be left misinformed about your requirements, leading to you potentially overpaying for over-engineered design.

Delivery Risk

Due to the complex nature of the utility industry and the scale of technical, regulatory, and legal obstacles so often posed by the connections process, the ability to consistently deliver these projects in the most efficient way hinges on having the necessary expertise, experience and essential industry relationships – not to mention a dedicated resource to manage the whole procedure. For this reason, many shrewd organisations requiring support with their connection opt to outsource the management and delivery of their utility infrastructure needs, allowing them to concentrate on the core side of their business.

There are various gas industry accreditations to look for when searching for a credible Gas Connections or Gas Metering provider. Read about them here.

How do I avoid these risks?

As hinted above, the key to avoiding the inherent risks of utility projects is to partner with a trusted, experienced, and fully-accredited partner to guide you through the process. At SMS, our utility project management process has been perfected because of our Group-wide expertise and understanding of the energy and utilities landscape. With over 25 years of experience, we today provide our clients an end-to-end gas connections support service across UK developments (both private and public sector), whilst we also have the expertise in house to deliver electricity connections and major multi-utility infrastructure projects, too.

Guiding you through the process

Our utility project management includes the entire journey, guiding you from an initial assessment of your needs through to installation and metering – with no hand-offs to other businesses  – while investing significant time in maintaining key relationships within the utility industry stakeholders so you don’t have to. Acting as your dedicated connections resource, we utilise our excellent relationships to tie together your build programme with the activity of utility companies, reducing the risk of clashes and delays, and providing you with the visibility and assurance you need.

We then work for our customers to navigate through feasibility, procurement, planning and installation regardless of project size and scope. We help to challenge and secure rights for existing and proposed gas infrastructure and being fully GIRS accredited, we can provide your network designs fully in-house.  Our role is to – quite simply – take control, give you the best advice and guide your project to its successful completion safely, on time and within budget.

We also provide a full aftercare service, which is available to handle any follow on queries you may have, and also help support you on your next project. If you have multiple gas supplies and meters across your sites, we also offer a free of charge portfolio analysis service which can consolidate your supplies and ultimately save you money by reducing the standing charges from your gas supplier.

Get in touch

To find out how SMS can support you on your current or future developments: