Keens Keens Keens



Recently we had a call from a person who moved into a newish house out in the country. It was not connected to mains drainage and had a treatment plant installed when built. During the building the site should have been examined by both the local area building inspector and the NHBC who take over the builders insurance after two years. Also the Environmental Authority who would issue a Certificate of Exemption for the right to discharge the outfall from the treatment plant.

This person’s concern was that the treatment plant was ‘sinking’ into the ground and was afraid that it would damage the surrounding pipe connections. Obviously this would be the case, it would seem that the plant had not been set on or surrounded by concrete and required. After some discussions it was also established that the outfall was being discharge into a concrete ring soakaway which has been illegal since 1983. It should have been directed to a land drain in the absence of a ditch or water course.

It would appear that we cannot rely on the knowledge of our inspectorate, which in many ways is understandable as there are so many new rules and regulation appearing daily. They can’t be expected to be aware of them in all areas of expertise that they have to cover.

This property will have to be referred to all the persons concerned and could take several months to resolve. In the mean time just think of the disruption and the cost, both mentally and physically, to the home buyer who thought that they had purchased a recently built property and therefore would have no problems.

A structural survey that most of us have done before purchasing a new home does not normally include a full CCTV inspection of the drain lines. The surveyor will just lift the covers and check visually for any signs of defects.

When purchasing a home do have a survey of the drain lines and ancillary services,  it could save you money and heart ache.