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Building works, gas pipes and what you need to know

When you’re planning on doing any type of building work or home improvements, your gas pipes are a crucial factor to consider. Can I build over a gas pipe? When should I contact my gas distribution network operator? Read on to find out more.

Planning the works 

When you’re considering improvements to your home or an extension to your property, it is important that you find out the location of the gas pipes and meter before you start. 

If your works are proposed in the vicinity of your gas pipe or meter you need to contact your gas distribution network operator to discuss whether there is a need to move the meter or make any alterations to the location or routing of the gas pipes. 

From the gas main, often located in the footpath or carriageway, service pipes deliver gas to each individual property and meter. Service pipes typically leave the mains at right angles and connect to the property at the first opportunity. Any extensions to the front or side footprint of your property must take this into account. 

Diagram showing service and main

For homes built before the 1970s it was not uncommon for the meter to be installed within the property, however new industry standards prefer the meter to be placed outside in a meter box as shown in the below diagram. 

Gas meter to be placed outside in a meter box

There are also instances where the gas service pipe enters a property and the meter is located inside. This can often be identified by a grey pipe running vertically and then through an external wall. Since the 1970s these service pipes have been made of plastic for both new buildings and where the gas meter has been replaced. 

Diagram showing grey pipe running vertically and then through an external wall

What if I carry out the works around the gas pipe? 

Building over or compromising the position of a gas pipe has the potential to pose a serious risk to life and property. 

  • Gas pipework could leak as a consequence of building works. 
  • Escaping gas could enter the fabric of the building including cavities and voids which is very dangerous and could lead to ignition or explosion 
  • Any leak in confined spaces or voids may be undetected by smell 

If the gas service pipe or meter location are compromised because of the works, at your expense, the gas transporter will need to reposition the meter as close as is practical to the front face of the house, connecting back into the internal pipework. If the alteration works are undertaken at the time of the building works it will save you time, disruption and further cost. 

What if building works have already taken place? 

If building works have already taken place and the location of the gas pipe or meter may have been compromised, your gas transporter will need to come out and check to ensure there are no safety issues. Please call the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999. 


Who do I contact?

Enter your postcode to find your local gas distribution network operator.

Customers in the Republic of Ireland should contact ESB Networks for electricity and Gas Networks Ireland for gas.

Gas Emergency Number

If at any time you smell gas or there is a gas emergency situation, contact the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999.

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