Sewer pipe and piles

Hello. Hope this is the right place to post and somebody can help me?

We have recently had a double storey extension completed on our house. This consisted of knocking down the conservatory and building a new room with a bedroom above. To support the building piles were used. The next door neighbour has been complaining of a sewage smell and the neighbour 2 doors down has said they have water piling up in there manhole. It looks like a pile has gone through the sewer pipe! This has been confirmed via United utilities cc tv. Now UU can fix the sewer pipe by removing this mini pile in question. However my question is who's mistake is this and who is responsible for the cost?? The builder won't give it us in writing that he will cover the cost as it means admitting liability. He has said he can remove the pile and then allow UU to fix the sewer. However UU are insisting they have to remove the pile? Is the responsibility with the piling company or the architect?
Or should we just now enlist the help of a solicitor? Although we have legal aid on our home insurance it doesn't cover building work due to a extension. This is turning into a nightmare very fast!


  • molerat
    molerat Posts: 31,551
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    It will come down to who decided where the piles were to go, if they were put in the correct place and who did the site survey for drain location. Did you employ a main contractor who then employed everyone else ?
  • Kns
    Kns Posts: 3 Newbie
    Hi thanks for the reply. We employed our own architect. And then a contractor who employed the engineer and piling company. The engineer decided where the piles should go but he said he based this on limited information!
  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,034
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    My understanding is that if a sewer is damaged it is the water company's right to effect any repairs to their satisfaction. If you insist on getting someone else to carry out the repair, then they have to get approval of their method from the water company, and it will be inspected by the water company(at considerable cost) to ensure all is well. In effect you have little option but to get it done by the water company.

    As for responsibility for cost, IMO it is down to the architect. One of the very first things he should do in drawing up a plan is find out the location of water mains/drains/sewers/soakaways before submitting plans for planning permission and/or building regulations.

    If the architect believes the builder is culpable, then he sorts it out with the builder.
    If the architect 'slopes shoulders' then get a solicitor involved.

    It might be useful to contact the planning department at the council for their view as well.
  • macman
    macman Posts: 52,955
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    Did you (or a previous owner) build the conservatory over the line of the drain?
    No free lunch, and no free laptop ;)
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