What does drainage have to do with a house purchase?
WCI receives daily calls from people purchasing a property with off-mains drainage, sometimes only days away from exchange. In most cases, the caller has been told by their solicitors that they should get an expert to inspect the property’s septic tank. The problem is that most people search Google, find a lot of conflicting information and become confused about what a foul drainage system is, whether it complies with the necessary regulations and who to call for assistance.
Purchasing a property with a septic tank need not be stressful but it can make the purchase more complicated than it needs to be!
Why do you need a Home Buyers Drainage Survey?
Most people wouldn’t think of purchasing a property without a building survey (sometimes called a RICS survey) but the survey rarely investigates the property’s drainage fully. Most home owners with off-mains drainage systems such as septic tanks and drainage fields know very little about their septic tank and few hold records of the date of its installation, design or location. Septic tank systems can be expensive to replace and so a drainage survey makes sense to ensure you know what you are inheriting and to avoid any costly problems after the purchase.
Over 60% of the properties WCI surveyed in 2019 were found to have illegal or defective foul drainage systems.
Here’s an example of how a Home Buyers Drainage Survey can help complete a property transaction
WCI were recently called to undertake a drainage survey of a property that was due to be exchanged that week. The survey found that the septic tank discharged septic effluent directly to a road drain without UK Highways consent and was illegal. The owner had always presumed the septic tank discharged into a drainage field / soakaway and had no idea that his discharge was not allowed by UK Highways and illegal under Environmental Permitting Regulations.
Fortunately, WCI are able to assist with the necessary percolation tests to enable us to design a drainage field to which the septic tank can legally drain. The owner of the property was happy to pay for the new drainage field and the purchasers are relieved that the problem was found before the property was purchased as the cost of the drainage field was more than £6,000. Everyone was happy that the sale could progress and the chain was not broken!
If you are purchasing a property with off-mains drainage, you need a Home Buyers Drainage Survey
With such little information available about existing systems and such a high cost of replacement, it is imperative that you understand whether the property you are purchasing has functional and compliant drainage.
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If you have any questions or just need some clarification on the regulations and how they apply to your property, please call us on 01984 623404