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Water Meter Services

Fire Sprinklers & Domestic Water Meters

A commercial fire sprinkler or domestic water meter is the starting point for providing municipal water to a business, church, school, multi-family, or industrial facility.

A water meter will be installed for:

  • New construction
  • Enlargement of an existing meter
  • Relocation of an existing meter

Only contractors on the City of Houston approved list are authorized to install small (<3") meters. Approved contractors supply proof of insurance, applicable state licenses, and an annual bond to the City of Houston to qualify for all small meter installation. Similarly, utility contractors must be registered/approved by Taps & Meters to install large meters (3"+). Each large meter installation is separately bonded. Bonds for each just MUST be in the name of the registered utility contractor.

 

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Water Meter Services

Mickie Service Advantage

  • Highly experienced water meter services team - permitting, installing and getting inspections on hundreds of meter installations per year.
  • COH Approved Large Job and Small Meter installer.
  • Full-time Master Plumber - which helps streamline permitting/installation/inspection.
  • Excellent safety procedures and capabilities for irrigation water meter installation services- resulting in an outstanding safety record.
  • Dedicated project management and field staff.
  • Full time permitting management and extensive knowledge of permitting requirements, process steps, and "gotchas".
  • Strong collaborative approach on design/installation alternatives.
  • Detailed Pre-Job construction review process.
  • Extensive working relationships with applicable inspectors.
  • Long-standing partnership with primary meter vault partners.

Water Meter Service Areas

Mickie Service provides water meter installation in Greater Houston Municipalities that do not perform this service on their own. We also provide meter installation for MUD Operators - however, this service is performed for the MUD or District Operator - not the GC/Private Contractor

Houston Areas We Serve

Small Water Meters

There are seven basic steps required for commercial domestic/fire meter installation (descriptions are specific to the City of Houston process; each municipality has its own processes – please check our Service Areas section for specific requirements on residential meter installation in other municipalities.). These process steps are essentially the same for new meter service, relocation (greater than 5') of existing meter service, or enlargement of existing meter service.

Small meters are supplied by the City (cost of the meter is included in the application fee).

All meters are located in the city right-of-way, or in an easement granted to the city by the property owner. The city must have unlimited access to the meter and service (from water main to the meter).

The size/type of the meter required and the site utility configuration make a substantial difference in the permitting/installation/inspection process.

During this phase, "foundational" documents, drawings, and approvals are established - key components for water service are:

  • Service address
  • Building Permit
  • Existing utility identification/ account consolidation (get the existing meters in the correct owner's name)
  • Utility Customer Service Agreement
  • Easement documents, if necessary
  • Water Capacity Reservation (ensure the city has available utilities)
  • Approved site plans
  • Including type of meter (domestic only - or domestic/ fire combination), size of service, and location of meter will be established.

    • Fire Domestic combination meters are used where usage requirements/applicable code dictates a fire sprinkler system - in conjunction with the domestic water system
    • Irrigation/Sprinkler meters are also commonly installed. In most cases, irrigation meters use the same tap as the domestic/fire meter and are "teed" off the domestic service.

The owner, builder, engineer, or Mickie Service Company can apply for a domestic meter. City of Houston meters can be applied for online or in person at 1002 Washington Ave. using this form. No matter how you apply, the applicant needs the service address, the proposed meter location (if your house is on a corner – it can go along either street) billing/owner's information, size and type of the meter, and a city-approved "plumber" (like Mickie Service Company!).

Remember, the meter application process is separate from the general building permit process. A building permit does not guarantee that a meter application has been submitted.

If you apply in-person, you may pay for both the meter application, inspection fee (covers the meter/meter box, too), and any City of Houston customer deposit. All of these fees will be collected when you submit your application.

If you complete the online application, you must contact the City of Houston New Services Department at (713) 341-1400; they will then send you a copy of the bill. This bill can be paid anywhere a water bill can be paid. (Like a major grocery store customer service department)

The City of Houston will process the paperwork within 3-5 business days. The city will then determine if the service is a long or short tap. A short tap occurs when the water main is on the same side of the street as the proposed meter. A long tap is when the main is across the street.

In general, the water main is close to the street in the city's right of way. In some cases, the water main is located underneath the street. This is more common in older neighborhoods where streets have been widened.

The City of Houston will then submit a work order to your contracted plumber (Mickie Service!). This selection was made during the application process. We will then contact the owner to schedule the installation. (In most cases, we will coordinate with the general contractor or plumber for the residence). During this time, we will confirm that all necessary paperwork is filed correctly (e.g., certificates of insurance), confirm the scope of work is clearly defined (e.g., who is going to replace the grass?), and confirm the contract/proposal terms are in place. (In most cases, a preliminary proposal has been agreed to.)

We will generate necessary permits (sidewalk break/repair, bore), and we notify the city of the installation and inspection schedule. We excavate the City of Houston water main, tap (drill a hole in – under pressure), bore under the road/sidewalk (if necessary), connect copper tubing, and install specified valves/fittings. Then the city inspector reviews our installation, and if it meets the requirements, the inspector will provide the meter and meter box, which we then install.

The excavated site is filled back in and restored per proposal and job scope specifications. The private (site) plumber will then connects the private service line to the water meter. There is no documentation provided by the City of Houston – the fact that a meter is in the ground is verification that the job is in/complete. Our standard terms are payable upon the successful completion of installation.

Large Water Meters

There are seven basic steps required for commercial domestic/fire meter installation (descriptions are specific to the City of Houston process; each municipality has its own processes – please check our Service Areas section for specific requirements on residential meter installation in other municipalities.). These process steps are essentially the same for new meter service, relocation (greater than 5’) of existing meter service, or enlargement of existing meter service.

Large meters are supplied by the customer. After installation/inspection, all meters are the property of the City of Houston.

All meters are located in the city right-of-way, or in an easement granted to the city by the property owner. The city must have unlimited access to the meter and service (from water main to the meter).

The size/type of the meter required and the site utility configuration make a substantial difference in the permitting/installation/inspection process.

During this phase, "foundational" documents, drawings, and approvals are established - key components for water service are:

  • Service address
  • Building Permit
  • Existing utility identification/ account consolidation (get the existing meters in the correct owners name)
  • Utility Customer Service Agreement
  • Easement documents, if necessary
  • Water Capacity Reservation (ensure the city has available utilities)
  • Approved site plans and Plan & Profile Drawings, if necessary

Including type of meter (domestic only - or domestic/ fire combination), size of service, and location of meter will be established.

  • A domestic compound meter is used when the meter will serve domestic requirements only.
  • A fire compound (combination) meter is required if both domestic and fire services use the meter. (Also - a combination meter is required if a private fire hydrant is serviced by the metered line).
  • A fire turbine meter is required if the meter serves only fire - and the fire system has a tank/pump on it. (A closed fire system - with no tank - requires only a check meter and can be supplied by an unmetered fire line).

The application process is relatively extensive.

  • Generation of a large job number by the City using project specific information. This five digit large job number is the key coordination item for the application, installation, and inspection process.
  • Creation of easement
  • Submission of applicable civil engineering drawings/capacity reservation documents, bonds, inspection fees and deposits.
  • Generation of a work order
  • Calibration of the meter (done by City of Houston)

The City of Houston will process the paperwork

  • 5-10 business days for easement review
  • 5-10 business days for civil drawing/utility customer service review
  • 3-5 days for meter calibration
  • The city will then send a work order to the utility contractor (Mickie Service!) We will then deliver the meter to the City of Houston for calibration and contact our customer to schedule installation

We will generate necessary permits (sidewalk break/repair, bore), and we notify the city of the installation and inspection schedule. We excavate the City of Houston water main, tap (drill a hole in – under pressure), bore under the road/sidewalk (if necessary), connect copper tubing, and install specified valves/fittings. Then the city inspector reviews our installation, and if it meets the requirements, the inspector will pass the meter into service - or if the service line is >18 feet, the inspector will begin the chlorination/hydro-test process.

For those large jobs where the distance from the tap to the meter is .18 feet - the City of Houston will chlorination and test the service line. THis requires the installation of additional "jumpers" at the tap - and a 2" blow off at the end of the service line (in the meter vault). This process is performed by the City of Houston - and takes 1-2 weeks.

The excavation site is backfilled/ restored per proposal/job scope specifications. There is no documentation provided by the City of Houston - the fact that a meter is in the ground is verification that the job is in/complete.

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Leveraging our core capabilities in water main tapping – we now provide line stops, insertion valves, and private fire line installation.

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