As important to the success of a development project as the initial land acquisition is the correct organisation of the entire supporting infrastructure to include planning restrictions, link to utilities, access to site etc.
Our commercial team are specialists in providing legal advice to ensure that this infrastructure framework supporting the development is in place at the time that it is required.
Such work requires close attention to detail, a methodical approach, thoroughness and persistence when dealing with third parties. A good sense of judgement is needed to identify important issues from the large number of less essential details. It is important to focus on those matters which are on the critical path for the timely completion of the property development.
Section 104 agreements for Water and Drainage Utilities
On new build developments, the developer will normally need to connect to mains water and sewerage. The developer will also want the new sewers and water pipes on the building site to be adopted by sewerage and water authorities. To achieve this outcome the developer must apply to the authority under Section 104 of the Water Industry Act 1991. If and when finally agreed there will be a Section 104 agreement and a performance bond.
Unless such an agreement is in place the developed properties will not have a right to connect to main sewerage and will have to make own arrangements for waste disposal. This will adversely affect the market value of properties on the development.
The sewerage authority requires the developer to construct the appropriate drainage infrastructure for the site which covers the site roads, driveways as well as domestic foul drainage. To ensure that the construction work has been adequately undertaken, the developer has to provide a bond or bank guarantee for 10% of the costs of the works.
Section 38 agreements for adoption of roads
The developer will require roads on the site to be adopted by the relevant highways authority. This is achieved legally by way of a Section 38 Agreement made under the powers of Section 38 of the Highways Act 1980.
If this is not done, the consequences will be for a diminution in the market value of properties on the development as they would be stuck with the costs of highway maintenance for the site roads
Section 278 agreements for off-site highways work
To connect the development site to the wider roader network can involve significant costs. This might, for example include constructing a new junction or a roundabout or providing traffic signals.
Utilities agreements and easements
These agreements and rights may be wide ranging in scope and financial impact. One of the more significant items may the connection to or provision of an electricity substation for the site. Without a written agreement with the utility provider at an early stage in the site development there is a danger that the timetable could be adversely affected for the whole development.
There may also be a number of easements to allow utility providers access via third party land or via plots on site.
Whilst each agreement might be straight forward knowledge of the whole site is required and of how the individual items of infrastructure come together.
How we can help
We have prepared and negotiated infrastructure agreements for many years. We have good relationships with utility providers and relevant authorities. We can help developers to obtain the required rights and easements in timely and low cost manner.
Purchasers of plots can be very demanding in terms of written evidence that agreements are in place. In some cases this could potentially delay practical completion of some plot sales or at the very least force a retention of purchase monies until the infrastructure work is done and agreements in place.
We can assist you most effectively if we are involved in the early stages of the site acquisition and the planning of the development.
If you would like help with obtaining infrastructure agreements for your site, or a review of draft or completed agreements please contact our team.