What does 'Drainage Survey' mean when buying a property?
Find out what Drainage Survey means when you are buying a property. 'What does Drainage Survey mean?' plus over 150 other property related terms and jargon in plain English
When we're talking drainage we mean any waste liquid, water and sewerage.
With so much of the UK's housing stock over 100 years old it stands to reason that much of the drainage is also the same age, or older! The conditions of drains is not covered in any standard survey and yet a future collapsed drain may be expensive.
It is also possible that your drains pass underneath another property before connecting with the mains sewerage which would add an extra complication if repairs or replacement work were needed.
In older properties (Victorian, Georgian, etc.) the drains were usually constructed using ceramic sections which slotted into each other. While this works perfectly well it does allow plant and tree roots to infiltrate. Where these cause excessive pressure they can crack the ceramic pipes and in some cases cause them to collapse.
For those purchasing period freehold properties a drainage survey can be a prudent move to assess the condition, and likelihood of failure.
Drain surveys work by moving specialized cameras down and along the drain taking periodic images or video and highlighting faults (such as cracking or excessive scaling) and possible issues such as large roots.
Note that at present there is no restriction as to who can set up a drainage survey company which has lead to a large number of cowboy firms who either last very short periods of time or produce poor quality reports which will not provide a clear picture of the pipe's condition. So take advice from your solicitor or the estate agent to get a reputable firm or use the National Association of Drainage Contractors.
There is a charge for this but as with all checks I carry out on older properties I prefer to pay for an inspection that get a free service which is really just someone punting for work. The former gets you a clear picture.
To find out more about drainage surveys and other inspections you might need when purchasing a property pick up a copy of my ebook How to Really Buy a Property.