Building and renovations FAQs

Find the building and renovations frequently asked questions below:


  • How do I get a water meter relocated?

    See the relocating a water meter factsheet to find out all you need to know.
  • What can happen if Icon Water approval is not obtained?

    It is the owner's responsibility to determine what utility constraints apply to their land. It is also the owner's responsibility to engage experienced professional design agents to undertake the investigation. It is illegal to build structures or change ground levels contrary to the regulations that protect the city's water and sewerage services. The regulations are designed to protect Canberra's community assets.

    Icon Water is not responsible for any cost, liability, expense or loss – whether direct or consequential – that an owner of premises or their agent suffers or incurs as a result of the owner of premises or their agent failing to verify the presence and precise location of Icon Water utility equipment, or seeking Icon Water advice at the earliest and most appropriate design stage of a project.

    Under Utility legislation, the owner is held responsible for the costs of demolishing illegal work and making good any damage to Icon Water pipes and facilities

  • What should I remember when engaging a design agent?

    If you intend to engage a designer, architect, builder, engineer, landscaper or qualified professional to design, document and construct your project, make sure the terms of engagement require them to comply with utility requirements.
  • What structures require Icon Water approval?

    The Owner of Premises or their agent (under instruction) must make an application to Icon Water where works commissioned by them on or adjacent to a property will or have the potential to:

    • prevent, restrict or obstruct access to water and sewerage network equipment
    • cause harm to the water and sewerage network infrastructure or
    • present a risk to the health and safety of persons operating, maintaining or replacing the water and sewerage networks.

     Structures are not exempt from Development Application or Building Application processes, unless approved in writing by Icon Water.

  • Where are sewer and water pipes located?

    Approximately one in every two Canberra properties has sewerage network pipes inside its boundaries. Water supply network services also traverse properties or run through adjacent roadways, verges and public spaces. The illustration below shows a typical layout of sewerage, water supply pipes and service reservations (easements).

    Many water and sewer pipes are in public open spaces, including under the verge or under roadways in the ACT or Commonwealth Government land. Many of our water and wastewater pipes go through residential or commercial properties. Many go through unleased properties. Not all Icon Water pipes are contained in registered easements but are protected by a pipe protection envelope. Not all easements contain pipes.

  • Who is responsible for locating water and sewer pipes on your property?

    The owner of the premises, or the owner’s design agent (under instruction), must determine whether utility water and sewerage pipes exist on their land prior to design. Icon Water can provide precise locations where necessary.

    Before you start your design, refer to the Building Approval Guides and if more information is required contact Icon Water to obtain asset maps and utility rules.

  • Why does Icon Water need to access its utility networks?

    Many property owners in the ACT have easements, utility pipes or pipe protection envelopes running through their properties. A pipe protection envelope is the area of unhindered space required to ensure safe access to an Icon Water asset. Easements, utility pipes and pipe protection envelopes are protected by Government legislation (law) in recognition of the essential function water and sewerage services play in urban communities and the environment. Icon Water has a legislative obligation to protect these assets and to establish rules of how, when and where protection is required. The rules are intended to ensure that:

    • underground pipes are not damaged by the weight of buildings or landscape features (such as earth fill or retaining walls)
    • emergency and planned maintenance access is always available to buried pipes and related structures (such as tanks, manholes, pits, valves, meters and pumps). As a general rule, 1 metre clearance is required around all above ground water and sewerage assets
    • access is available for the future growth of the water and sewer system to meet the demands of an ever-changing city
    • homes, buildings and landscape structures are not undermined or damaged by burst water mains, sewer main collapse or by Icon Water maintenance and construction activities
    • separate statements of compliance are required for all utilities including Icon Water water and sewerage as well as ActewAGL natural gas, and electricity networks, and other services (e.g. network cables, telecommunications, stormwater, etc.)