Shared downpipe problem

2 Nov 2021
Reaction score
United Kingdom
We have a 1950s semi detached house that was built originally with 1 downpipe at the front of the property (my side at the end) and 1 downpipe at the back of the property (in the middle, my side), the front drains into the main sewer, the back drains into my garden (no soak away just literally onto the soil at the back of my property). We and our neighbours have both extended our properties (double storey extensions roughly 50% added onto size of the original house). My builders installed 2 extra downpipes on my property to allow rainwater to drain into new soakaways they dug on the front and back of my property for my new roof. Our next door neighbours have had no downpipes installed at all. To summarise I have 4 downpipes they have zero. My issue is that the extra volume of water now required to be drained when we have any rain now is overwhelming our shared downpipes and resulting in water cascading over my guttering near the downpipe which is roughly in the middle of the two properties (but on my bou dary) and resulting in my patio becoming flooded to the point its threatening to come into the house. Until their extension was built weve never had an issue with this in 6 years. I've raised it with them and they just said they think I've got moss blocking the pipe which we dont as we clean the gutters frequently and had only just done it. My question is at what point are the neighbours required to add a down pipe onto their guttering as the extra roof area is obviously overwhelming the system we have in place currently? I know that the old rules state that the guttering and downpipes were shared and that you have joint responsibility for the maintenance etc and that they have the right to use our downpipe but with them having added such a large extension surely this becomes void at some point or am I wrong? Also if it doesnt actually drain into a soakaway of some description then surely they should have one installed on their side shouldnt they? Any help would be appreciated as I'm trying to contact building control but they take months to respond at the moment as they are overwhelmed.
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Your neighbours should have added drainage capacity when they had their extension built, building control should have ensured they did but obviously that didn't happen.
Are there any detailed plans of the neighbours setup on your planning authority website- you might get lucky, they might be there and show additional downpipes.
Unless their extension was built in the last year, building control won't be that interested- environmental health are your next port of call. Next good rainfall, take pics and video then get onto them
Thanks so much for your reply, their extension was built within the last 12 months and I dont think it's been finally signed off yet as they havent finished all the internal work yet. The trouble is most building control visits arent happening they are just happy to accept photos and if we continue getting really heavy rain then we'll have water ingressing before they actually come to see it. I will have a look on the council website and see whether they put a drainage provision in
Having checked the council website there is nothing showing any guttering or downpipes on the drawings submitted...I think I'll contact building control and see if they will chat to me about it (which I doubt)
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Best off having an email conversation (gives you time and date stamped evidence, phone calls can be denied), keep it brief though, title can be building works at no xx whatever street, body can be extension constructed, no additional provision for rainwater dispersal, existing shared guttering not adequate to cope with the added roof area. Have a look through the approved Documents, somewhere you'll find a requirement for adequate rainwater disposal, quote doc ref and paragraph.
If no response after a week, repeat cc your councillor
If no response after another week, environmental health (statutory nuisance), cc building control, local councillor.
Or speak to the neighbour about the problems that their recent building works have created for you?
Thanks, I did speak to them but they dont accept there is an issue. I asked if they were planning on adding any additional downpipes and got told theres no need and its the leaves and moss building up in our gutter as theyve had a new roof put on so it's obviously not coming from their guttering. The reason I know it's not moss or leaves is that I went up at the weekend (during the horrendous weather!) and the gutters were clear and it's made no difference so it's purely volume of water that the downpipe cant cope with. Weve been here 10 years and never had any issues with water overflowing the guttering so very much a coincidence that its timed with them adding on an enormous section of roof. We have a very large oak tree in our garden so are well used to clearing gutters and downpipes regularly at this time of year. It's a real shame as I thought they would have completely understood but unfortunately not. I'm very surprised their roofers didnt think to put additional downpipes in either.

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