Soakaway Blocked- Who is Responsible (semi)

Discussion in 'Builders' Talk' started by Ironsides, Aug 19, 2005.

  1. Ironsides

    Ironsides New Member

    Soakaway Blocked- Who is Responsible (semi-detached)

    Hello,
    I live in a semi detached house built in 1968 and have just had my soffits and fascias totally replaced with UPVC along with the guttering.
    Before I had this work done the guttering on my side always overflowed every time it rained and poured al over my garden, I just put it down to the fact it was old and leaky.
    When the builder was replacing the down pipe the pipe was full of water about 4ft up the pipe, he told me the soakaway was probably blocked. The outlet pipe on the gutter was blocked solid with silt and debris.

    Since I have had all the work done my neighbour’s gutters now overflow when it rains and is flooding their garden.
    They have asked me to call back the builder and get him to correct the fall on my side as it must be too high which is causing their side to overflow.

    Basically I don’t want to call the builder back as he is not at fault, the fault is with the soakaway but in her eyes it was alright before I had the work done and I have caused the problem.
    The overflowing water has just moved further down the pipe as the original problem is still their.

    OK now what do I do next? And who’s responsible for the costs?

    Could I break into the downpipe and divert the water to the edge of my property and drain into the road sewer?

    Click here for picture of my house:
    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/malcolm.bamford/private/pictures/bisley011.jpg

    Thanks for any replies.
  2. Jimbo

    Jimbo New Member

    I had a similar problem. Although not a semi, the affected soakaway was on my neighbours land (under a concrete path), and water was spilling over the gutters in his side path. This had, over many years (before I moved in) damaged some of the brick work too.

    Personally I got a new soakaway dug on my land, and put a different down pipe in. It cost £125 (day rate) to get the soakaway dug (it's literally a 1m x 1m x 1m hole filled with old bricks etc then covered with plastic to stop it filling up with earth, then recovered with top soil) and the drain pipe bought up to the right place but I had already cleared the land so it was just earth.

    I would suggest you do the same - you shouldn't put it down the drain.

    Basically its a question of whether you want to fall out with your neighbour over it. If you don't like them you could just cap off his gutter so he'll have to do the same! ;)

    I would suggest talking to him tho, explaining what the problem is and you intend to do and if he's half reasonable he should pay his share. Then again its not an expensive job so not worth getting too upset over.

    Cheers
  3. ­

    ­ New Member

    I don't know what area you are in but a soakaway in the South East will cost nearer £350 + vat. Don't forget it's not just the hole, it's the soil removal into a skip plus new pipework run to the downpipe (min 4m from any building).

    Also not every garden has the facility for a soakaway, some are paved over, concreted or whatever.

    With soakaways dug in front gardens you have to be mindful of other services underground (gas, water, electric, telecom, sewer, cable tv etc etc) as the cost of repairing any of these can be high.

    I does seem though that you definately need new soakaways and your neighbour should pay half.

    btw, if you are in clay soil the soakaway will not work very well and will need to be enormous. The cost then escalates too.
  4. Jimbo

    Jimbo New Member

    VCM, I'm an in North Kent...
  5. Ironsides

    Ironsides New Member

    I live in Bisley, Surrey, so i guess it will be double what you quoted.

    My nieghbour is a bit of an old croney and just seems to think that the problem is mine and that she never had a problem before my guttering was replaced.
    A typical responce from someone who doesnt understand how drains work.
    She has a very nice front garden and would probably blame me for any digging work.

    Would the soakaway be on my side or her side or placed in the middle of both houses?
  6. Jimbo

    Jimbo New Member

    stick it on your side, to keep the peace
  7. Jimbo

    Jimbo New Member

    btw have a ring around for a one-man-band builder bloke who's not vat registered, in my experience they tend to have hardcore laying around so you're just be paying for some hard graft with a shovel!
  8. Measure2cut1

    Measure2cut1 New Member

  9. Ironsides

    Ironsides New Member

    Thanks for the link Measure2cut.

    Any ideas how to stop the overflowing gutter to stop nieghbour complaining?

    I did think of disconecting the downpipe about 5ft from the ground and just let it empty out over the garden/driveway, because for the past year that was how it used to flow away before i had my guttering replaced.
  10. Roofer

    Roofer New Member

    Just thinking out loud, isn't it more likely that the pipe is blocked rather than the soakaway? It would probably be worth a go at clearing the pipe by pressure washer or rods
  11. ­

    ­ New Member

    How easy would it be to find the blocked soakaway? This may seem obvious but how about tracking the underground pipe from the downpipe (i.e. dig out over it) until you find the soakaway. You could then empty it of all rubble, silt etc then replace the rubble etc. Make sure to flush out the underground pipe until it is totally clean.

    This is an option but will only work if the soakaway is on your side of the fence. The soakaway may only be 3 metres from the house (depending when the house was built, those were the old regs).

    However on some housing estates a gigantic soakaway is often built which takes the storm water from maybe 8 or 10 houses and if that's your case then this will not be possible. Have any of your other neighbours got blocked soakaways? If not then I'd say you have just your shared one with your immediate neighbour.

    Are you absolutely sure the soakaway IS blocked? It may just be the downpipe? Might be worth a bit of dismantling and trying to jet wash the pipe? If you can get something into the underground pipe such as a drain rod without any attachments (after taking off the downpipe) you may be able to judge where (and how far away) the soakaway is just by the number of rods needed.

    Running the downpipe onto the ground is not a good idea. Long term there will be damage caused by the run off. When you come to sell the house it will be noticed by the surveyor so you'll have to do something about it then so why not fix it now?
  12. ­

    ­ New Member

    Roofer, great minds........... lol
  13. Mr. Handyandy

    Mr. Handyandy Screwfix Select

    The downpipe is NOT blocked. A new one has recently been fitted.

    Your first action should be to relieve the water build-up, so cut the pipe - near the bottom.

    Just the cut will be enough to let the water out and stop it building up and overflowing.

    You could try to find the blockage.
    Remove a bracket or two and move the pipe away. Then get a hose-pipe and shove it down as far as you can get it, and blast it with water.
    You are sure to get some blowback but hopefully, the blockage will break up and all will be well.
    You will know when it does.

    If the blockage is found to be near, shove something flexible down and hopefully break through it. I find rods not flexible enough, so I sometimes use some window trim or similar.

    If that doesn't work, well, the ideas previosly mentioned will maybe have to be utilised.

    Good luck





    Mr. Handyandy - really
  14. Mr. Handyandy

    Mr. Handyandy Screwfix Select

    PS. You can get a pipe-joiner for less than a quid, so no worries about cutting the pipe.



    Mr. Handyandy - really
  15. Ironsides

    Ironsides New Member

    Thank you Handyandy,

    I will try what you say and cut the pipe about 10" from the ground and try rodding it with anything flexible i have available, I have the use of a pressure washer which may help too.
    I had a look around the area to see what was their and plastic downpipe goes into a 15" concrete base and then disapears underground, it looks to be a sealed system if you know what i mean.

    When cutting the downpipe do i use a circular cutting tool or just a handsaw.
  16. Mr. Handyandy

    Mr. Handyandy Screwfix Select

    Just use a handsaw, finer tooth the better. Gently, especially after the first bit and you are into hollow. Can crack easily. Place a bit of board behind the pipe when cutting to protect your bricks(and your sawteeth).


    Back to the original question, it appears from your picture that you share the downpipe. If so, it is shared responsibility. It is both your and your neighbours drain or soakaway that is the problem, not the fact that you have new gutter. If yours wasn't running over, then your neighbour would have the problem anyway.

    If your fence was to blow down and your neighbour benefitted from the new breeze, it would not be your fault if they lost that breeze when you replaced the fence!!!!!!!!




    Mr. Handyandy - really
  17. Jobber Sussex

    Jobber Sussex New Member

    HI, the above posts dont seem to have considered that new/replacement soakaways require Building Regulations Consent, and that in order to achieve that, a percolation test, rainwater volume calculation and possibly soil analysis may well be required.
    Theres a fee of around £250 in 2014 for that Consent.

    Most local authorites insist that soakaways are 5M away from buildings and roads, and will generally try to avoid routing stormwater into foul drains unless that is the only option.

    Typically a 1m x 1m x 1m hole, measuring from below the end of the level of the pipe run, should service a 50-75sqM roof area ( in the South-East, bit different in high rainfall areas) depending on subsoil - if its clay then you have a swimming pool instead!
    There are various methods available including plastic cages to support the hardcore, which ought to be clean of dust and cement so as not to clog.

    Most common blockages in older pre-plastic piperuns underground are tree roots, a hosepipe wont shift that one - dig it up and replace faulty sections is only option.

    Recently I had a downpipe totally blocked - turned out to be a tennis ball!

    Hope that helps, check your local authority website is my advice, as it could prove expensive and void any property insurance if you dont comply.

    Good luck
  18. Phil the Paver

    Phil the Paver Well-Known Member

    this post is nearly 9 years old, I would have hoped the problem has been sorted by now. :)

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