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“Excess Construction” is a term for the charge BT levies to install extra cabling to deliver a line to you. Only people who have ordered new services or moved in the past will have heard of this term.


I myself, a principal of an Openreach Service Provider, have been aware of the term for many years now. When involved in the search for our new office building I thought I knew what things to look for in order to avoid the charge

My thought process was:

1.) The building is in an established industrial area, not a field site or down a bumpy country lane.

2.) The building has previously been occupied with many telephone sockets and lines in the communications area as the previous company also specialised in communications.

3.) The building was next to both BT and a Cable provider’s cabinet which  should be beneficial.

My thoughts and intuition were in fact completely wrong! -below is the extract from the nice planning gentleman’s email. I was to pay £3014 Excess Construction for 8 lines to be installed, or £50.23 per line per month for the next 5 years which incidentally is the average time a company stays in a building!

We have excess construction charges of £3014.00 + VAT
BLOWN FIBRE 660M @ £4.00 = £2640.00
INTERNAL CABLING/BLOWN 3M @ £8.00 = £24.00

I called and reasoned with BT but the charge had to stand as the building was too far from the local exchange to be serviced by copper wires, my only option was to pay or to place an order for ISDN2 and see what came of that.

The problem is that I waited 2 weeks for the response, and now have only 2 weeks until my planned move date. I am left with 2 options: to pay the costs or cancel the order and commence the ordering process from the start again with ISDN2. This process takes four weeks and I’m moving in two, so I feel “over a barrel”.

My advice is to contact your communications service provider as soon as you can to place an order. I would advise doing this the moment you have found the building you were looking to move into as this will give you a better idea of any possible issues. BT charge a percentage to cancel orders placed with them. The charges are calculated based upon the number of clear working days between the date the cancellation request is received by BT (in writing from the customer) and the CCD.
If BT does not have to install a new bearer to fulfil the order, the cancellation charge is expressed as a percentage of the connection charge as follows:

Clear Working days before CCD
Connection charge charged %
1 or less
2 – 4
5 – 6
7 – 14
15 or more
We decided finally to go down the ISDN2 route which is slightly more expensive to install but will give us the desired effect. This story doesn’t end there: a day after the ISDN2 was installed I awoke in a sweat around 2am with a sinking feeling. I remembered our Call Recorder is only ISDN30 only so we need to purchase a new one at an estimated cost of £3000. So as you can see this is a real minefield! I may have avoided the excess charges if I had just checked these details when I had initially found the building, I could have then gone on searching for a building with the services available already.

When scouting for a new building use a scout’s mentality, always Be prepared!

Written by,
John Gillborn