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Can you install a water supply pipe above ground?

Discussion in 'Plumbing and Central Heating' started by James Graham, 6 Apr 2021.

  1. James Graham

    James Graham

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    Hi All,

    The title says it all really but i've recently moved into a property that has an old lead supply pipe and horrendous water pressure. Speaking with the neighbours they've had theirs replaced and it has solved the problem however the previous owners had lots of work done on the rear garden where the current supply pipe runs down under a set of steps to the property (around 10 meters) so I would be very reluctant to dig a trench and ruin it all. I had a company out who started drilling and gave up after 10 minutes after discovering lots of concrete in the way and they have ignored me ever since.

    My question is can a supply pipe be run above ground with sufficient insulation such as some ducting? If I could run the pipe above ground down the side of the steps this would make the job so much easier for someone to connect to the main at the top and then from the bottom of the steps into my property.

    Thanks,

    James
     
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  3. bernardgreen

    bernardgreen

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    Insulation does not prevent water in a pipe from freezing. It only reduces the rate of heat loss thus delaying the freeze up. If you are lucky the weather will warm up before the pipe does freeze.
     
  4. just pumps

    just pumps

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    I am of the thinking that building regs or control will not allow it.
    What about using a mole.
     
  5. oldbutnotdead

    oldbutnotdead

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    Short answer is no, water pipe has to be buried below frost line (think minimum depth is 600mm).
    Moling may be an option- might even be worth asking your water supplier for a quote, they'd like the lead gone as well.
    After that its dig it out. Concrete isn't a major barrier- disc cutters will do up to 100mm, a pecker on a minidigger will do much more & they're not ruinous to hire (and good fun to use as well).
    Definitely worth the effort...
     
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  6. denso13

    denso13

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    As above, no, it doesn't comply with any regulations. Some might say you won't get caught anyway, but better to do it properly.
     
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  7. CBW

    CBW

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    No it’s not permissible. Minimum laid depth is 750mm to prevent freezing and iirc undue warming. Might be best as others have said, mole or mini digger if access is ok.
     
  8. James Graham

    James Graham

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    Thanks for the replies.

    The company that came to do it were attempting with a mole but said they had got stuck as there is 3ft of concrete behind our garden wall. The water main goes across the back of our property but the house is downhill from that meaning there is a large set of steps to go down and the original supply pipe must be really deep under there. I get the feeling they were just trying to do a quick job as they were working local and then gave up as soon as they hit an issue. They quoted £800 for the work and I've since had a quote off another company for £3000 so god knows which one is more realistic.

    I have another company coming to look Thursday so will see what they say. Our local water company does not carry out these jobs in house so I am unable to ask them.
     
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  10. oldbutnotdead

    oldbutnotdead

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    The original pipe in your garden won't be deeper than the pipe in the street-not that you need to care. This lump of concrete- is it outside the boundary of your property? If so then not your problem-usual deal is you get the trench to the outside edge of yourboundary (so to the outside face of yr garden wall) and leave enough pipe to get to the street stopcock. Water board come & check the trench and dig from your boundary to stop tap. Used to do that bitfor free, check their website for replacement of lead pipe
     
  11. James Graham

    James Graham

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    No the concrete is part of my property as its part of a retaining wall in my garden. I have had the communication pipe replaced from main to stop tap already to try help but it only improved the flow at the top of the steps and not the house.

    May be easier if i attach pics. The concrete is inbetween the external stop tap & the top of the steps.
    IMG_20210406_171032_edit_761165110143748.jpg IMG_20210406_171022_edit_761223655302594.jpg
     
  12. CBW

    CBW

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    Do the neighbours not have steps? Is it not possible to have a water supply from the front? What’s to the left of the steps (as you look at them)?
     
    Last edited: 6 Apr 2021
  13. oldbutnotdead

    oldbutnotdead

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    Aah. 'Slope' doesn't really describe that..not the most useful bit of front garden. That'll be not a fun job- the concrete may be a retainer for the roadway so attacking it with a pecker wouldn't be wise. Talk to the neighbour, see how they did theirs. As above, find out if there's a main the other side of the house (which way does the foul waste run?) .
     
  14. James Graham

    James Graham

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    Neighbours have steps too unfortunately and to come from the front would be around 30 meters, also not sure if there is a main out front as we are the last on system.

    Left of the steps is in the pic below so the original plan was to drill to the bottom corner and then mole across the flat which is when they found the concrete.

    IMG_20210406_190552.jpg
     
  15. CBW

    CBW

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    Might be worth asking neighbours how they had theirs done then? As an aside, nice view (y)
     
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