Roadworks frequently asked questions

  • Why are our roads constantly being dug up?

    Hammersmith & Fulham Council is responsible for maintaining the borough’s roads, footways and street furniture and employs contractors to carry out these works. We must ensure our roads, footways and street furniture are maintained and in a safe condition. We also carry out work to enhance the environment for our residents.

    Utility companies such as Thames Water, National Grid (Gas), UK Power Network (Electricity), BT Openreach (telecommunications) and Virgin Media also carry out works. Those companies have a statutory duty to maintain their equipment, therefore will be required at times to either repair, lay new cables and pipes and or provide new supplies/connections to our residents and businesses.

  • Can H&F stop utility companies from digging up the road? 

    We cannot prevent utility companies from accessing their apparatus. They have a legal right to gain access to their equipment and a statutory duty to maintain, repair and deliver new supplies to customers in our roads. We do however look to co-ordinate these works to make sure they do not conflict with other works and that they are completed as quickly and as safely as possible, and with the least amount of disruption

  • Why is there so much traffic disruption every time someone digs up a road? 

    H&F has an extremely busy road network, so any repairs in the carriageway will cause some disruption to passing traffic.

    We work closely with the utility companies to agree on how best to manage the works, both to minimise the disruption but to also make sure works are carried out safely. 

  • Can the council make utility companies work at night when the roads are less busy?

    Where appropriate we will agree for work to be done at night to minimise disruption to road users, but we must balance this out against the inconvenience to residents in terms of noise.

  • Why are some holes left open for a long time with no work happening? 

    There are a number of valid reasons why utility companies may have holes open with no works taking place. For example, it may be that a reported gas leak may require holes to be left open to allow the gas to escape into the open air making it safe to carry out the repair. 

    There are times however, when the utility company will not have resourced the job properly in which case we use all our available powers to expedite the works.

  • Why don't utility companies have to suspend parking bays

    Utility companies have a legal right to access their plant and apparatus within the road. We cannot insist they suspend parking bays as they may be able to occupy the site and access their apparatus without doing so. Generally, this will not be possible, therefore we do encourage them to suspend bays. 

  • How long are the suspensions in place for? 

    When suspensions are required our policy is to suspend parking on the first day only to facilitate access. Once the site is occupied they continue works until completion without the need to suspend bays for any additional days.  If the utility company fail to attend site on the first day then the suspension will be removed either at the end of the day, or earlier if we are notified.  

    Should bay suspensions be required so that traffic can safely pass the work site, then these bays will be suspended for the duration of the works. 

  • Why aren’t residents informed when the roads are being dug up?

    We receive more than 10,000 requests to dig up the road each year most of which only require three days prior notice so it would be not only difficult but extremely costly to notify residents of each set of works.  

    For larger scale works and works that require longer prior notification we ask utility companies to notify residents and businesses, which they are happy to do. Residents and businesses are also encouraged to access Transport for London’s (TfL) central register of street works, LondonWorks, which contains records of all known planned works, including those with short durations.

    We produce a weekly bulletin listing most of the major works. You can view the bulletin on our roadworks page.

  • Why do utility companies sometimes dig up the newly laid surfacing?

    Normally, our powers enable us to protect newly laid surfacing for between three and five years. However, there are some instances, such as emergencies like a broken water main, or new supply where utility companies can dig up a newly laid surface.

  • Why aren’t multiple works carried out at the same time, using the same holes? 

    We have had some major successes over the years and have saved more than 530 days of additional disruption over the last five years by coordinating joint works. We always look to arrange joint working wherever possible but this can prove very difficult due to the nature and timing of the different types of works.. 

  • How does H&F co-ordinate works?

    We have a legal duty to co-ordinate works and meet regularly with all the utility companies as well as our own contractors to coordinate their planned works programmes to avoid clashes and minimise disruption. 

    We operate a permit scheme which allows us to control when works are carried out and apply certain conditions on how the works are carried out. Our own contractor is treated in the same way as utility companies in terms of having to apply for a permit to carry out works. 

    If utility companies fail to carry out the works in the prescribed manner, we can issue fixed penalty notices in some instances. We also have powers that allow us to apply a daily fine if these companies fail to complete their works on time. 


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