Over the last few months we have been hearing more and more questions relating to Openreach and their process and costs. As such INCA have opened dialogue with Openreach on behalf of our membership and have organised for a member forum to facilitate two way dialogue to improve communications and talk about any confusion, issues or frustrations with a view to gaining understanding and improving the way we work together. It’s always important to remember that usually these things are two way issues which can be ironed out for the benefit of both parties.

INCA Member Forum – Openreach

On Wednesday 3rd May 2023 INCA invite all interested members to an online discussion forum where we will be joined, on Microsoft Teams, by Mik Brown who is the MDR Programme Manager at Openreach.

The forum will start at 10:30 am with a presentation from Mik who will go through the current process and the step by step guide for contractors (as outlined below) he will then talk about the MDR (Multi Drop wire Rearrangement) Programme, process and costs after which we will open the floor to direct questions you may have and for open discussion. It is estimated that this event will last no longer than an hour and a half.

As ever this INCA member forum is free to attend and open to all INCA members – simply fill in the short form below and you will receive the invite, link and joining instructions. If you are unable to attend but would like INCA to raise a question on your behalf fill in the details below or email your question to info@inca-ltd.org.uk.

What Openreach Can Do

If Openreach equipment is in your way they can help. Whilst most of the issues we have been hearing about relate to retrofit programs they are not exclusive to these kinds of projects. According to the Openreach website they can:

  • move, remove or relocate our telegraph poles, manholes, joint boxes, green cabinets, underground ducts and overhead cables to accommodate your construction
  • route overhead cable underground
  • ensure network is correctly handled during demolition
  • survey and audit Openreach equipment affected by your project, protect them while you’re doing the work and reinstate them when you’re done
  • temporarily move overhead cables which are in the way of tree cutting or high vehicles
  • help with changing, moving and removing Openreach equipment to enable roadworks, bridge works and local regeneration
  • help with public transport infrastructure and additions and improvements to train, railway and cycle routes.

The Openreach EWI Process

The current process for EWI installers is a 4 step process as follows:

Step 1 – you’ve identified openreach equipment where you’ll be working

This stage starts with a form which is basically a request for contact. On completion openreach will make contact within 3 working days to discuss the nature of the project and arrange a survey / quote which will confirm if anything needs to be removed before works commence, how this can be done and what it will cost. It is normal then for payment in advance of works to be a requirement.

More information on this initial stage can be found here: https://www.openreach.com/building-developers-and-projects/altering-our-network

The initial contact form can be found here: https://www.openreach.com/building-developers-and-projects/altering-our-network/altering-our-network-enquiry

Step 2 – completion of the survey

Once the nature of the work has been established and payment has been made, Openreach will normally arrive on site within 16 working days to start the work. If the network isn’t affected and hence no work is required this will be confirmed at stage 2 to avoid any delays.

By way of a recent update Openreach confirm that they no longer work to this 16 day target to attend site – instead they operate a more flexible, customer friendly approach – trying to work around the customers requirements and working to customer timescales as best they can.

Step 3 – while you’re working on site

Throughout the duration of works you will have access to Openreach for the repair / maintenance of any wires covered under the authorisation.

Step 4 – Billing

Openreach invoice prior to works beginning and after the survey has been carried out and costs have been established. Occasionally while on site; additional works are required that were not factored in. In this case they assess these on an individual basis and if an agreement to pay is received they can allow works to go ahead and invoice upon completion.
So, in stage 4 , Openreach will either:

  1. invoice for any additional work if payment was made in advance
  2. refund any overpayment for properties removed from the original survey

Historically there was an option for staged payments in which case any balance will be invoiced / credited and, if the contract agreement was payment on completion the full amount will be invoiced.

Openreach payment terms are 30 days from date of invoice.

There is a formal document explaining the EWI process – his can be downloaded directly from the INCA website: Download the factsheet: External Wall Insulation – A Guide For Contractors 

Openreach Forum – Book Your Place

Simply fill in your details below and you’ll receive a Teams invite and joining instructions in due course.


This forum has now taken place – thanks to all those who attended