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Drainage News 09/10/2010

Water Authorities to take control over the ownership of shared drains. What does this mean for the homeowner.

image over man building over or near a drain

The Local Authority Building Control (L.A.B.C.) have agreed with the six main Water Authorities across England and Wales, that with new legislation the ownership of all privately owned shared drains will transfer to them and they will become Public Sewers.
The new Legislation does not change the current drainage legislation within the Building Regulations and local authorities have had new guidance on how this affects the Building Regulations.

What are privately owned shared drains?
privately owned shared drains are pipes that take drainage away from multiple households. Until now they have been owned by the land owners of the properties the particular drainage system passes through. This has caused major problems in the past, as its often one home owner who's paid out for a specialist drainage company to unblock drains, knowing your that it's your neighbours who are putting items down their drain that cause a blockage on your land. Technically speaking, bills that are run up unblocking drains should be equally split between all of the households who share that drainage run, but trying to ask a homeowner several properties away to pay for a blockage on your land is another matter.

The estimated costs to household bills is expected to be under £10 per year until 2020. The typical cost for privately owned sewers has been calculated to be on average £45 per year, per household, due to home owners paying individual drainage contractors to maintain and unblock drains.

Building an extension near a Public Sewer.
If you are proposing to build an extension within 3 metres of a public sewer, then a Building Over Agreement will need to be submitted to the relevant Water Authority. Most side and rear domestic extensions on terraced and semi-detached properties will fall within this category, as drains normally are positioned to the rear and sides of houses. Just where the typical extension is likely to be positioned. A full plans building regulations application will need to be submitted to the Local Authorities Building Regulations Department for approval before the extension can take place.

Please note that Building Notice applications are not permitted when dealing with a Building Over agreement as the Water Authority do not have the time to deal with the Building Over Agreement before the start of the building works.

Please see our diagrams on Page 2 and Page 3, to see how your property is affected.

Page 2



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