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  • FIRST POST
    • bery_451
    • By bery_451 30th Sep 17, 10:42 PM
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    bery_451
    Sewer drainage under garden advice
    • #1
    • 30th Sep 17, 10:42 PM
    Sewer drainage under garden advice 30th Sep 17 at 10:42 PM
    Hi,

    Were building a new bathroom upstairs at the side of the house and the new toilet there has to drain into the existing sewage mains pipe under our garden.

    Our old bathroom downstairs at the back drains into sewage mains pipe underneath our back garden.

    I believe we dont have a manhole. Is it best to have one?

    Instead of digging up the whole back garden and possibly front garden to find this pipe is there a way to obtain information or a map that shows where the sewage pipe is?
Page 1
    • minicooper272
    • By minicooper272 30th Sep 17, 11:00 PM
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    minicooper272
    • #2
    • 30th Sep 17, 11:00 PM
    • #2
    • 30th Sep 17, 11:00 PM
    Short answer is, yes you can trace the sewer without digging the whole garden - there are a few options - easiest is to use a SOND, which is a tracker on a rope that the pass through the pipe. It really needs a manhole up or downstream for them to access though.

    you can also get a survey carried out with ground penetrating radar, which detects voids in the soil. It's not cheap and not always successful though!

    You don't need to excavate the whole garden though - your pipe will be quite shallow (half a metre deep) and a couple of long but narrow trial trenches would track it down if you have a rough idea where it is.

    Does the pipe serve your house only, or neighbouring properties as well? (Edit: I'm asking because your water company sometimes has maps showing roughly where the pipe is, but not usually if it only serves your house)
    Last edited by minicooper272; 30-09-2017 at 11:03 PM.
    • bery_451
    • By bery_451 1st Oct 17, 12:48 AM
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    bery_451
    • #3
    • 1st Oct 17, 12:48 AM
    • #3
    • 1st Oct 17, 12:48 AM
    Short answer is, yes you can trace the sewer without digging the whole garden - there are a few options - easiest is to use a SOND, which is a tracker on a rope that the pass through the pipe. It really needs a manhole up or downstream for them to access though.

    you can also get a survey carried out with ground penetrating radar, which detects voids in the soil. It's not cheap and not always successful though!

    You don't need to excavate the whole garden though - your pipe will be quite shallow (half a metre deep) and a couple of long but narrow trial trenches would track it down if you have a rough idea where it is.

    Does the pipe serve your house only, or neighbouring properties as well? (Edit: I'm asking because your water company sometimes has maps showing roughly where the pipe is, but not usually if it only serves your house)
    Originally posted by minicooper272
    Its a semi detached house as there be neighbours. I live in Birmingham. Who is my water company and how do I get maps off them?

    SOND requires a manhole?
    • tealady
    • By tealady 1st Oct 17, 7:28 AM
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    tealady
    • #4
    • 1st Oct 17, 7:28 AM
    • #4
    • 1st Oct 17, 7:28 AM
    Its a semi detached house as there be neighbours. I live in Birmingham. Who is my water company and how do I get maps off them?

    SOND requires a manhole?
    Originally posted by bery_451
    If you live in Birmingham it will be Severn Trent usually. Parts of Sutton come under South Staffs
    Proud to be an MSE nerd
    Judge people by their achievements, not by their mistakes
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 1st Oct 17, 7:41 AM
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    Davesnave
    • #5
    • 1st Oct 17, 7:41 AM
    • #5
    • 1st Oct 17, 7:41 AM

    I believe we dont have a manhole. Is it best to have one?

    Instead of digging up the whole back garden and possibly front garden to find this pipe is there a way to obtain information or a map that shows where the sewage pipe is?
    Originally posted by bery_451
    It won't be optional. You'll need at least one inspection chamber to meet building regulations and the work will need to be signed-off by building control.

    It is very likely that there will be a drainage map avalable from your your water company. Digging blindly is not a good idea, as even a small digger can dislodge a pipe before anyone realises it's there.

    You might be able to intercept your existing pipe in the back garden without making a direct connection to the shared main sewer, but much will depend on the specific situation.
    'A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they'll never sit in.'
    • minicooper272
    • By minicooper272 1st Oct 17, 8:27 AM
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    minicooper272
    • #6
    • 1st Oct 17, 8:27 AM
    • #6
    • 1st Oct 17, 8:27 AM
    It won't be optional. You'll need at least one inspection chamber to meet building regulations and the work will need to be signed-off by building control.

    It is very likely that there will be a drainage map avalable from your your water company. Digging blindly is not a good idea, as even a small digger can dislodge a pipe before anyone realises it's there.

    You might be able to intercept your existing pipe in the back garden without making a direct connection to the shared main sewer, but much will depend on the specific situation.
    Originally posted by Davesnave
    Drainage maps from water companies can be pretty poor - I've found pipes a good few metres from where the map showed before, and they don't normally hold anything for a private dwelling...

    You can dig by hand to find the pipe, but far better to have a reasonable idea where it is first by tracing it.
    • minicooper272
    • By minicooper272 1st Oct 17, 8:49 AM
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    minicooper272
    • #7
    • 1st Oct 17, 8:49 AM
    • #7
    • 1st Oct 17, 8:49 AM
    Its a semi detached house as there be neighbours. I live in Birmingham. Who is my water company and how do I get maps off them?

    SOND requires a manhole?
    Originally posted by bery_451
    For semi-detached houses, you might find you have a shared sewer running through both gardens that then connects you to the mains sewer. Neighbours might have a manhole in their garden, so it's worth asking them.

    Contact your water company's customer services team, they'll have access to a mapping system and can provide plans (you might have to pay £20-30 for it though). I would ask them if it shows anything within your boundary (or just outside it) if they can tell you over the phone before you pay. Like I say, it can often be very poor though.

    The SOND needs a manhole because they need somewhere to drop it in and take it out again. You could have a manhole somewhere that a previous owner buried, but hard to know where. If your neighbours have one, check in a similar place in your garden.
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 1st Oct 17, 9:01 AM
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    • #8
    • 1st Oct 17, 9:01 AM
    • #8
    • 1st Oct 17, 9:01 AM
    Drainage maps from water companies can be pretty poor - I've found pipes a good few metres from where the map showed before, and they don't normally hold anything for a private dwelling...

    You can dig by hand to find the pipe, but far better to have a reasonable idea where it is first by tracing it.
    Originally posted by minicooper272
    I found they had a good idea of where the sewers were at my last 1930's semi, and those could also be extrapolated from manholes, but I agree they'll probably have nothing on the smaller shared/individual foul water drains.

    And yes, even quite important pipes, like the supply for a whole village which runs through my property, can be waaay out on their plans. Quite important when building/putting in fence posts with a pile driver!

    Some people will scoff, but I got better results from divining that with a couple of bent rods...something I'd try anywhere first, as it's very low cost.
    'A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they'll never sit in.'
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 1st Oct 17, 9:06 AM
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    Doozergirl
    • #9
    • 1st Oct 17, 9:06 AM
    • #9
    • 1st Oct 17, 9:06 AM
    Have you kept your searches from when you purchased the house? There is a water search in there that contains those water company maps. The CON29DW, if I recall.

    Better than spending money on more.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • Warwick Hunt
    • By Warwick Hunt 1st Oct 17, 10:09 AM
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    Warwick Hunt
    If you live in Birmingham it will be Severn Trent usually. Parts of Sutton come under South Staffs
    Originally posted by tealady
    It'll still be Seven Trent for waste.
    • minicooper272
    • By minicooper272 1st Oct 17, 11:31 AM
    • 2,106 Posts
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    minicooper272
    I found they had a good idea of where the sewers were at my last 1930's semi, and those could also be extrapolated from manholes, but I agree they'll probably have nothing on the smaller shared/individual foul water drains.

    And yes, even quite important pipes, like the supply for a whole village which runs through my property, can be waaay out on their plans. Quite important when building/putting in fence posts with a pile driver!

    Some people will scoff, but I got better results from divining that with a couple of bent rods...something I'd try anywhere first, as it's very low cost.
    Originally posted by Davesnave
    My mum actually was pretty good with divining for culverts, it's worth a shot
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 1st Oct 17, 12:22 PM
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    Doozergirl
    My mum actually was pretty good with divining for culverts, it's worth a shot
    Originally posted by minicooper272
    Severn Trent came and divined for our water main!
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 1st Oct 17, 2:03 PM
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    Davesnave
    Severn Trent came and divined for our water main!
    Originally posted by Doozergirl
    Glad it's not too off-the-wall an idea. A friend suggested divining to us when we came here, so I gave it a whirl. Cutting off the entire village wouldn't have made us very popular, which is nearly what happened when we were choosing the spot for a field gate post.
    'A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they'll never sit in.'
    • EachPenny
    • By EachPenny 1st Oct 17, 5:21 PM
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    EachPenny
    Glad it's not too off-the-wall an idea. A friend suggested divining to us when we came here, so I gave it a whirl. Cutting off the entire village wouldn't have made us very popular, which is nearly what happened when we were choosing the spot for a field gate post.
    Originally posted by Davesnave
    Yes, I've divined quite a few sewers in a professional capacity myself It doesn't always work for me, but on occasions where a group of engineers were standing around scratching heads and the sond was apparently not working, some bits of bent wire kept in my boot sometimes did the trick. I think it is a skill that a lot more water company employees might have used before electronic tracing equipment became relatively cheap.

    Very few public sewer maps will show private drains and sewers, and even the public (Section 24) connections to houses are generally very poorly recorded.

    The best source of information on drainage at a household level would be the plans held by the Building Control department. These might not be accurate (due to un-notified changes) but should give a good indication of what (and where) to look for.
    "In the future, everyone will be rich for 15 minutes"
    • bery_451
    • By bery_451 2nd Oct 17, 5:49 PM
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    bery_451
    Ok so I need at least 1 inspection chamber to meet building regulations and the work will need to be signed-off by building control? When shall I call the inspector?

    Birmingham city council inspections are run by company called Acivico.

    You mean signed off by building control at Acivico?

    What does divining mean?

    Ok where to get the best information from, severn trent or building control?

    The CON29DW is a name of a company?
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 2nd Oct 17, 6:48 PM
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    Davesnave
    Ok so I need at least 1 inspection chamber to meet building regulations and the work will need to be signed-off by building control? When shall I call the inspector?
    Hang on, it's a bit more complicated than that!

    First, you need to identify where everything is to work out the best route for your new drain. Then you'll need to submit a plan of what you intend to do to Building Control, together with the appropriate fee. It will help if someone with experience draws up the specification and plan for you as there are rules that must be met. No one here can tell you exactly what you'll need.

    Once building Control approve your plan, you can go ahead with the drain work.
    Birmingham city council inspections are run by company called Acivico. OK. When the drain work's complete, before covering it up, an inspector from Acivico will come and check what you've done. If you liaise with whoever it is, they'll come quickly, as you won't want the trenches open long.

    You mean signed off by building control at Acivico?
    Yes, if that's the company BCC have given the job of inspections to.
    What does divining mean?
    Divining is best looked up on the internet. When I do it, I hold two bits of thick bent wire in front of me and try not to make them do anything except sit freely in my grip pointing straight ahead. When I walk over something I'm looking for, the two bits of wire move inwards and cross each other. It sounds daft, but it works for big pipes etc. I don't find it works so well on small wires or pipes and some days it doesn't seem to work at all. I have no idea why it works, when it does.
    Ok where to get the best information from, severn trent or building control?
    Building control approve and check people's work to make sure it meets the regulations. They don't know about the position of sewers and things like that. The planning department of the council might know something.

    Planning and building control are two different departments of the council. They have different staff.


    The water company may know where drains run or you may have to employ a company to find them for you.
    The CON29DW is a name of a company?

    CON29DW is a search your solicitor may have done when you bought the house. It asks the water company (Severn Trent) to supply details of the services they are responsible for in the immediate area of your house .When my solicitor did mine, I was given a copy along with all the other paperwork to do with the sale. You may have yours with your house paperwork too.
    Originally posted by bery_451
    I think you will need some professional help with this job. It's not something you can do alone, without experience or without understanding the regulations. Fitting the pipes together is the easy bit! I have just done that on my house, but I got someone qualified to draw and submit my plans and another person to do the excavations so that the fall of the pipes worked out properly.
    'A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they'll never sit in.'
    • EachPenny
    • By EachPenny 2nd Oct 17, 7:43 PM
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    EachPenny
    Building control approve and check people's work to make sure it meets the regulations. They don't know about the position of sewers and things like that. The planning department of the council might know something.
    Originally posted by Davesnave
    Building control normally have responsibility for keeping the Council's building records, which are copies of all the plans and applications deposited when people apply for building regs or notify work. These might, but not always, show the locations of drains and sewers serving a particular property.

    Traditionally a copy of the public sewer plans would be deposited with the Council's Local Search Team. These would be the plans checked whenever anybody asked for a property search to be done, they were also available for public inspection. When the records were switched to a digital format the information was held by Local Searches in CD form, I suspect that now the searching is done online, or provided by the water company on request.

    The Local Search Team could be in one of several different departments depending on the council. It might be part of Planning, but more usually falls within the Legal Services team.

    Otherwise the Planning department wouldn't normally have any knowledge of where sewers are located unless, as with Building Control, there is something on file for that particular property.

    As the OP will need to get Building Control approval for the work, I'd suggest the first stop would be a request to that department to see a copy of the plans held for the property. Some councils charge for that service, but it is worth it if it means you avoid the need to get surveys carried out.
    "In the future, everyone will be rich for 15 minutes"
    • Johnhowell
    • By Johnhowell 2nd Oct 17, 7:45 PM
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    Johnhowell
    Another complication could be that you will need Consent to Connect from Severn Trent. Building Control may not be the overseeing authority for this work...

    With respect to finding drainage plans for your area - Building Control may not have overseen the building of your estate as the builder may have used HNBC. This is the case for our estate.

    Good luck with both.
    Last edited by Johnhowell; 02-10-2017 at 7:48 PM.
    • bery_451
    • By bery_451 3rd Oct 17, 3:48 PM
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    bery_451
    Another complication could be that you will need Consent to Connect from Severn Trent. Building Control may not be the overseeing authority for this work...

    With respect to finding drainage plans for your area - Building Control may not have overseen the building of your estate as the builder may have used HNBC. This is the case for our estate.

    Good luck with both.
    Originally posted by Johnhowell
    Ok who are the HNBC?
    • Le_Kirk
    • By Le_Kirk 3rd Oct 17, 4:43 PM
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    Le_Kirk
    Ok who are the HNBC?
    Originally posted by bery_451
    Probably NHBC = National House Building Council
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