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Property Surveying Blog

November 5, 2015

Drains Vs Houses!

Written by Beau Davies

Party Wall Drain

We were carrying out a Schedule of Condition inspection this week in Islington and noticed that the property had a subsidence problem.

This is surprisingly common for the area given the majority of the properties were built in the Georgian or Victorian era. We therefore decided to write a short blog post on the topic to hopefully to help inform owners of similar properties who may have similar issues.

The property we were inspecting had suffered from subsidence, in this case the cause of the movement were the drains running to and from the property.

 With drains being as old as the properties themselves it isn’t uncommon at this point of their life cycle, for them to crack, rupture or collapse. This means the surrounding soil becomes saturated with water and is therefore a lot softer than it would usually be. It is here that the property begins to move.

There is a number of different reasons that the soil becomes saturated however we are going to focus on the drains!

The drain’s joints can deteriorate due to age, vegetation can penetrate the pipes, however generally speaking older drains weren’t designed to take the strain that modern day living places upon them.

Once the drain has a leak it will have a number of different adverse affects on your property that in turn result in movement.

Some tell tale signs to keep an eye out for, could be diagonal cracking usually to doors or windows, drains becoming blocked or the patio surface suffering movement.

Here at Berry Lodge we have put together a number of suggestions to spot the issue!

Firstly, keep a watchful eye over the drains to ensure there aren’t any leaks or blockages. Where feasible you should have a professional check them for you, he will likely undertake a CCTV survey which involves running a camera through the drain run to check on the condition.

If you are planning on garden renovations always ensure that new trees are planted well away from the drains. The trees may be small now, but give it a few years growth and the roots could become an issue.

If your neighbour is planning on undertaking works to their property which may interfere with the drains, such as foundations for an extension, always ensure that the drains are considered in the plans as this will ensure the contractor has a full understanding of where not to dig!

Here at Berry Lodge we are Party Wall specialists, ensuring drains are unaffected by Party Wall works is just one of the many things we do when agreeing a Party Wall Award.

If you have a Party Wall Agreement enquiry, call our experienced Party Wall team now and one of our surveyors would be happy to assist you.