If you’re a builder or developer, it’s essential that you have a thorough understanding of the conditions on site before your project gets underway—and this includes both above and below ground.
For example, you may contact dial before you dig as part of your planning and find out that there are existing telecommunications assets or infrastructure on or outside your development site that may interfere with your plans. If existing telecommunications assets are located, there’s a good chance they will need to be altered or removed prior to completing the new telecommunications installation for your project.
First and foremost, it is critical that you do not try to remove or alter any existing telecommunications assets and infrastructure yourself—only authorised contractors may legally work on them. There are strict laws and legislation around this so don’t be tempted to try and tackle it yourself as any unauthorised works can be prosecuted by law.
When assets and infrastructure are found within your property boundary, required works may include relocation of aerial network or lead-ins underground, and removal or relocation of telecommunications supplied equipment prior to any demolition or renovation of premises. When assets are found on public land, NBN street infrastructure (e.g. nodes and pillars), NBN pits and assets in pits owned by NBN co or another telecommunications provider, and NBN conduits may need to be relocated. It’s more common for existing infrastructure to be found outside the property on the nature strip than within the property boundaries.
So, if you do find existing assets on or around your property, what should you do?
You essentially have two options: contact the network provider directly and request they complete the works, or contact a telecommunications contractor for an evaluation first. Below we discuss each option in more detail.
Option #1: Contact the network provider to arrange works
As mentioned, only an authorised contractor may conduct works on existing telecommunications infrastructure, so one option is to contact the network provider directly and request that they carry out the works. The fastest way to lodge your application directly to the network owner (generally NBN co or Telstra) is to jump online. When you complete the online application you will be charged a non-refundable application fee. Once this is paid, you will receive a cost estimate for completion of the works, and the relocation or removal cost must be paid before works can commence. To give you an idea of what to expect, most relocation costs start from $1700, but this can vary quite a bit depending on the size and complexity of the works.
It’s also really important to give the network provider lots of notice to arrange required works, as there can be quite lengthy lead times. You need the telecommunications on your property to be fully completed and NBN-ready before you can receive your certificate of occupancy, so don’t leave it to the last minute. The last thing you want is to be nearing the end of your project and be waiting on this to be completed before you can move forward.
Option #2: Get an evaluation first
An alternative path which could save you considerable time and money is to contact a telecommunications contractor such as MCS Connect for an evaluation first. Depending on the location and features of your property, we may conduct a desktop assessment or a field survey to evaluate the situation and recommend the best path forward for you.
In most cases, the desktop assessment is free of charge, however, this does depend on the specific requirements of the project and site. Alternatively, if a field survey is required, we will charge a small call out fee. The evaluation can potentially save you a stack of time and money, not to mention help you avoid the potential headaches of navigating your way through the complex process of telecommunications alone. Our team may be able to remove or relocate the existing infrastructure for you, or if not, we’ll advise on the most efficient and economical way to manage it.
The right advice makes all the difference
When it comes to dealing with existing telecommunications infrastructure, taking the time to get personalised advice at the start can make a big difference. It’s well worth organising a simple desktop assessment if possible, or a field survey for a small fee, to uncover your options and find the most efficient, effective and economical solution for you.
If you have a question about the article, or would like to find out more about our evaluation services and how we can help, contact our friendly team for an obligation-free chat on 03 8592 8100.