Building a home for the first time is exciting yet daunting. Applications, approvals and knowing who’s responsible for what can be confusing and hard to get your head around.

If you’ve just purchased land to build your dream waterwise home, use this simple step by step guide to help you through the building process.

What happens after settlement?

If you’re using a settlement agent to take care of the purchase process for your new land, they’ll notify us that you’re the new owner and we’ll ensure the property is registered in your name. If you’re doing your own settlement, you’ll need to inform us.

Receiving your first bill

Regardless of whether you start building immediately or not, you (the property owner) will be issued with water use charges (where applicable) and service charges – known as vacant land charges. This applies even if there is no connection, as all properties are required to contribute to the cost of maintaining these essential services.

The charges you receive are based on the services we provide in your area. For example, you may be subject to drainage charges if your property is located in the metro area.

Are services available on your land?

Curious to know what water, sewer or drainage services are available? Do you want to find out where they’re located? Here’s how you can find out.

If your property search comes up empty, don’t be alarmed. Sometimes we’re unable to display all the information. Get in touch with us for further assistance.

For more details on water and sewer connections please read our help article.

Step 1: Register for an online account

To manage your account online, you’ll firstly need to register for an online account using your Electronic Reference Number (ERN). You can find out what your ERN is when you receive your first bill from us. It’s located on the back of your bill in the bottom right hand corner.

Haven’t received your first bill yet and want to set up your online account? Get in touch with us and we can provide you with your ERN.

Your online account allows you to easily manage all your details, check your account balance, view your water use history and waterwise status – all in the one convenient place.

Follow these simple steps to create your online account.

Already have an online account? Here’s how you can add another property.

Step 2: Get building approval from us

Anyone building an area served by either a Water Corporation water or sewer main must submit a building application and pay the associated application fee. Your builder will handle this for you, but it’s best to speak to them first to make sure they are taking care of that application.

All applications are submitted via our our self-service system Buildernet. If you're an owner-builder and need to submit the application yourself, here is a simple guide to using Buildernet.

Step 3: Requesting a water meter

A new meter/service connection request is included as part of your building application. It’s important to discuss the meter location with your builder and ensure adequate access to prevent the need to make any modifications down the track. When deciding on your meter location, please keep in mind that we require access to read (we read your meter for your water use every 2 months), repair and replace your meter.

Moving a meter can be costly and involves the services of a plumber to relocate your internal pipework, including relevant meter services relocation fees.

A standard connection water meter is 20mm. Water meters are typically positioned in relation to the front boundary line of your property and the finished ground level. Your meter should not be installed more than 1.5m inside the front boundary line and 100-150mm above ground level.

While most reputable builders should be aware, if you’ve engaged a builder or contractor to carry out work, you’ll need to ensure they meet these conditions and other clearance requirements.

Once your application has been approved and we’ve received your payment, we will visit your property to install the meter and attach a building tap.

When your meter is installed, you’ll begin to pay for any water used at the property. This includes water used by your builder during construction. This will appear on all future bills you receive from us every 2 months.

Find out more about applying for water meters and the related fees and charges

Step 4: Creating a waterwise home & garden

While you’re choosing what makes your house a home, think about how to make your home waterwise..

Our top tip is to talk to your architect, builder or landscaper early about your options and the kinds of waterwise features you’re considering. This might be:

Your builder may also carry out an energy and water efficiency assessment for your proposed development to ensure you’re complying with energy efficiency requirements.

Step 5: Finished building? Update your property details

When your build is completed, check with your builder if they’ve notified us. Alternatively, please contact us so we can update your property details from ‘vacant land’ to ‘residential’, including any account details and eligible concessions.

Frequently asked questions

If your water meter hasn’t been installed yet, speak to your builder about your meter location.

If your water meter has already been installed, you’ll firstly need to speak to a licensed plumber to relocate the internal pipework and find a suitable location for the meter – at the property owner’s expense. Once this is completed, we can relocate your meter. Please be aware you’ll also be charged a fee to relocate your meter.

Find out more about relocating a meter


Please call us on 13 13 75 so we can arrange a replacement meter at no cost. If you’re already building and need water for construction, a new meter will generally be installed within 48 hours.  

It’s a good idea to install a meter clamp or locking device to secure your meter, to eliminate the risk of your meter being stolen again, or your water being used by someone else or wasted. You can purchase one from a hardware store.

Find out more about stolen or faulty meters.

Unfortunately, concession discounts don't apply to building application fees and charges. But the good news is, once your house is built and you’re living in it, we can apply your concession rebate.

You can apply for a concession rebate online once your building is completed.

An easement is a notification on your title deed outlining areas on your property where building restrictions may apply. We issue easements to protect our assets, such as sewers and pipes. If you’re unsure if your title has an easement, contact us to find out.

This is an advice sent to the owner stating that we haven’t received a building application/plan for the proposed or completed development.

If you’re an owner and you’ve received one, chat to your builder to confirm they’ve submitted your building application to us. If you’re an owner-builder, please submit your application yourself. Here’s a simple guide to using Buildernet.

Read our handy step by step guide to find out what you need to do when planning to subdivide your land.