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Moving Sewer / Surface Water Pipes On Our Property


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#1 Laudrup1

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 01:09 PM

I've got a question and early indications are I'm not going to like the answer...

We live at no.21 in the picture attached.

We're planning a two story side extension to the property. As the picture shows, there are two points of "interest" at the side of the property.

I always knew there was one manhole cover on the drive that would need dealing with. It turns out that below it is two 12" pipes connecting from the left and bottom of the run to a main 16" pipe leading off to the right for surface water.

Having spoken to Scottish water, they provided the picture above and it flagged up there is more pipework on the property. The red one being a waste line with the same size of pipes connecting and another 16" leading out to the front of the property. It's not got a visible manhole cover but having dug down through the stones on the driveway, I came across a concrete plinth covering that area at the corner of the house. I'm assuming there's a manhole cover below that or the plinth is just covering the chamber that the waste runs through and it's an access point at least

So then, solutions? The width of the driveway is about 5m metres from the side of our property to the boundary at no19. I'm hoping to get a 3m ish wide extension on.

The house itself is about 6m deep and the front extension is another 3m so from front to back of that is 9m if those lengths help give rough ideas of the length of pipework requiring digging up.

Is it possible to move the two sets of pipe work to the boundary line?
How major a job is it? Less so if there was a dig for foundations anyway ?
And most importantly, roughly what costs am I looking at?

There's also a massive tree that'll be having to come away (visible just at the side of that second picture) and I'm wondering how badly the roots might have damaged any of the pipework if they're as long as the tree is tall.


Plot no.5 behind us are doing some extension work just now too. Having spoken to them, they seem quite ameable and having noted the manhole for waste on their property, I'm hoping we could connect at that point if we're moving the run of the red line diagonally to our boundary.

I guess another of the biggest issues would be the two lines coming from no.19 and how we cut them back at the boundary to T them in to any new pipework.

Any thoughts are appreciated...

Attached Files


Edited by Laudrup1, 25 June 2013 - 01:09 PM.


#2 ProDave

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 03:29 PM

Have you spoken to building control and SW?

Would either or both allow you to build OVER the existing pipes with appropriate lintels to bridge over them? If so that might be a much cheaper and simpler solution.

#3 Laudrup1

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 08:41 PM

I spoke with the council planning initially to see what they thought and the attitude was that we submit the plans (a friend is currently drawing them up) for approval and they, as part of the application would speak to SW and get their thoughts on it all.

The guy at the council was fairly upbeat about permission being granted purely in terms of the build based on similar approvals in the neighbourhood and the fact that our house is staggered from no19 which will avoid any issues with the houses beginning to look terraced given we're set back a bit on the plot.

I left that at that stage until the plans were to be completed.

The friend who's doing the plans is an engineer and had looked up the plans for the pipework in the area when he saw the manhole. After that I phoned SW out of interest more than anything and they arranged for an operative to come out and give me some details of the pipe sizes, type and depth etc.

The friend then talked to some of his work colleagues who deal with civils works and explained how it "could" be done if we wanted to reroute things assuming costs were reasonable but that was something he couldn't pin down other than indicating it's approx £2k a manhole cover and we'd be needing either 4 or 6 depending on the rear neighbours set up.

The SW guy who came to the house mentioned that building over the pipes with sufficient load bearing works is sometimes an option but I get the impression he was very much a site inspector rather than someone who has a say in what gets done. He said that the next step would be to submit plans to their office for approval.

I phoned them again and spoke to someone in planning this time who was entirely dismissive (and a bit of a nob to be honest) of the whole thing saying things like "that could be six or seven figures" before correcting himself and saying "well not seven...but a lot"

I think he maybe thought he was speaking to someone with literally no idea of what I was discussing. It might be dear beyond reasonable costs for me but I don't expect it'd hit 3/4 of a million quid.

More concerning was his chat that the pipe work, if it was being diverted, would need a far greater clearance than we'd have space to do so with. He was talking about 6 metre distances between the two pipes...although this seems in direct opposition to the not more than 2 or so metres they sit apart at present. Again, I wonder if his attitude was suspect on the matter.

Building over them (if they granted approval) is an option but I'm not only concerned about having to provide access to the manhole in what'd be the nice new dining room & kitchen but the fact that insurance may be harder to come by. I understand some insurers won't cover a property with this sort of work done to it.

Also, while access could be given to the chambers, what if the pipe bursts two metres away from it? I take it at that point they just come in and dig your entire floor area up to get to the offending point?

I think a CCTV survey is carried out as part of their process of approval. At this stage I was keen to avoid throwing a couple of hundred quid at something which might be entirely unfeasible and I could get that confirmation from people in the know rather than spending the cash at all.

My hope had been that the CCTV survey might decree the pipes in need of repair and if that was happening we could move them at the same time. I mentioned that to the guy on the phone too and he immediately said "No. they'd just be repaired in the same location"

Again, possibly by the letter of their rules this would be true but I thought there might be a touch of scope for that to happen. I doubt I'll have them having to shell out cash towards work that I can piggy back on to to help us out. It's likely wishful thinking that they'd be in need of replacement and that'd form part of the way things pan out right enough.

I guess I'm going to have to bite the bullet at some point and pay the planning fee to the council or the CCTV payment to SW for the investigation. I wonder if going via the council (since they said they'd consult with SW as part of the planning application) would be the better way to go? What's the chances they pick up the tab for the CCTV survey?

#4 ProDave

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 09:12 PM

The trouble here is you have three hurdles to get over.

Planning permission is probably the least of them. the planners only bother with what it looks like. I expect planning to be pretty much a formality.

Building control then have to approve your plans, and be satisfied everything is technically correct, including the details of building over the pipes and foundation details.

Then lastly SW have to give you permission to build over their pipes. My guess is at a very minimum they will want you to pay to move the manhole in the blue pipe so it's not under your living room, but as that's a tee point, that's not trivial and will no doubt need some work under no 19's back garden, which he may not be too impressed with.

I think I am beginning to form the opinion this project is not worth it. it could end up being a very expensive exercise for a fairly modest extension.

Though I hate to say it, given the problems, I think I would seriously look at moving house rather than extending this one. I hope I don't offend you by saying this house is not "special" there are hundreds of similar houses that could be extended without all these complications, even if you just moved next door. Or could you gain the extra space you want by extending at the back of the house instead?

#5 Laudrup1

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 08:02 AM

Nah, no offence taken at all mate. The point actually came up with the wife and I the other day when we noticed the new development half a mile away from us has very similar houses to ours at only slightly more than we paid (and could likely get) for ours.

It's further from the railways station, the schools and the shops all the same so it's very much a pro and con list that's forming...not to mention we like the street we're in and the people about.

An extension at the back likely wouldn't work for a few reasons. No house in the street has had a two storey rear extension built (and I've seen one on the council planning website rejected) and there must be reasons for that.

With our house set back on the plot, it'd only leave us with a very small rear garden which isn't ideal. I think the neighbours at no23 would object to a two storey extension anyway on the grounds of the light it'd take away from their back garden due to the way the sun comes over the houses. It also wouldn't leave us with the layout we'd really want for the plans we're aiming at. I've pretty much ruled that out for all those reasons.

Planning and building control likely wouldn't be a problem like you say if the technical side of it is all correct. I don't really want to start to have to dig up 19s garden either like you say. While the extension wouldn't affect them and having spoken to them I don't think they'd object to it, telling them their patio slabs are coming up might swing that vote.

I've started to think about putting a 1st floor extension on stilts for the new master bedroom and converting the loft for my cinema room. That'd leave the wife without the kitchen diner she wants though.

Another house two doors up might be the very best solution indeed! My mate is actually selling his Dad's house but it's the very first house in the street along the road and doesn't have the same garden layout. As the end plot, it's all at the side with no rear garden at all and faces a forrest of trees at a path rather than being open to the front likes ours is at it sits at the T-junction to the wee lane of houses in front of us or I'd have been thinking about taking that one off him and punting our own.

Bah, of all the places for those two pipes to end up in the neighbourhood, it had to be on our land. It's a real pity they didn't just taken them down the road round the bend at no15 and no28.

I guess I make a few calls and see what prices are levelled at me by builders and their various thoughts on it.

#6 JGordon84

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Posted 28 April 2016 - 02:26 PM

Did you ever find someone to relocated the sewer? I've got a similar issue and I'm having trouble find a contractor approved for doing the work. Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks