Build Close Agreement with Water Company

11 Feb 2008
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United Kingdom

I am on the verge of starting my single storey extension. I have a party wall agreement with both neighbours and have marked out the necessary area. The foundations are going to be within 1 metre of the a public sewer which runs between mine and a neighbours house.

I have been advised because the foundations are within 1 metre of a public sewer i need to obtain a build close agreement with the water comapany that owns the sewer. I have also been told that this can take up to 8 weeks as they are painfully slow.

What i would like to know is what happens if i just ignore and dig the foundations and then get poured with concrete. The soil is very hard and clay so im sure it will not affect the sewer.

Thanks in advance

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Building control should not let you start (ie will not register the application, and will not check plans or do their inspections) until you have the water authorities permission.

The water authority can [will] get an injunction to stop your work until they have agreed the foundation design - they may not agree it, in which case you will have to remove the work and wont be able to build near the sewer. You will pay all their legal costs.

You will be taking a massive risk if you start without permission
Thanks Woody. I will get on the case and fill in the application.

How can i tell if the sewer is private or public? If its private then i dont require an agreement?


Have you submitted your building regs application yet? The BCO will normally do the check with the water company when you submit.

Or you can ask the water company - the council does not hold the maps anymore, but may have some limited information
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You can pay a fee online to receive the plans from your water company.
If the sewers are private then no permission reqd.

Yes building regs submitted and approved.

The warter company says the drains are public but they were very vague and i'm not sure they are as they dont run where they eplained to me they run.

I will pay the £315 to the company and if they are private i will get the money back anyway.

Thanks for all your help
You may get your fee back, but not the cost of the CCTV survey!

The water company gets a freebie and can then update their records thanks to you !

The number of times these surveys come back with the drain not where the water company thinks they are is amazing. And you don't get compensated for lost time or expense either

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