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My skinflint neighbour has taken a pneumatic drill

(44 Posts)
Pawprint Thu 01-Aug-13 18:14:19

My neighbour had a burst pipe that caused water to rub out of the front of his house. I live in the adjoining house.

Instead of calling a plumber, he took it upon himself to drill a large hole in the road outside his house. This is the road where children play and adults park their cars.

The hole is three feet square in size and about five feet deep. Over the last two nights, he has covered the hole with an old door.

I am angry because I'm sure what he has done is illegal and I am worried that he might cut a pipe and flood the street.


Pawprint Thu 01-Aug-13 18:14:56

"Run" not rub!shock

Montybojangles Thu 01-Aug-13 18:15:54

Is it a public or private road?

IceNoSlice Thu 01-Aug-13 18:16:22

No YANBU, people can't go around digging five foot holes in the street!! Call the police?

Montybojangles Thu 01-Aug-13 18:16:49

And YANBU by the way. He sounds a bit of a liability.

northernlurker Thu 01-Aug-13 18:18:50

Dear Lord! Call the council, call the police (non emergency number) what he's done is really dangerous and needs sorting out. How come he's got a drill like that anyway?

edlyu Thu 01-Aug-13 18:22:31

Im sure the council would be very interested. From our council website;

Apply for a licence to dig up the highway
Service level: The normal time from making an application to receiving a licence is 28 days
Before digging up the public highway to repair or place new service apparatus, the land or home owner must have a licence.

This licence is commonly referred to as a "Road opening licence" or "Section 50 licence" as licences are issued under Section 50 of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 (as amended).

Plus the police would need to know about the accident potential.

cozietoesie Thu 01-Aug-13 18:38:28

Why on earth - if he's a skinflint - would he dig a large hole in the road for a burst pipe in his house? If his toby has been covered over and he can't stop the water any other way (the only reason I can think of) then that's the water board's responsibility and their cost.

BikeRunSki Thu 01-Aug-13 18:55:26

The old door is not a suitable cover. Regardless of anything else, he should be using proper trench plates and fencing the area off. Ask to see his Public Safety Risk Assessment and then ring the highway authority ( probably the local authority if it is an ordinary residential street) and the water company.

cozietoesie Thu 01-Aug-13 19:00:47

Sorry - had to go off for a bit.

Have you spoken to him about this ? I think he's telling you a load of bull. I'd go and have a word and tell him to contact the water board emergency number and tell them there's a problem - and if he doesn't (or won't) then do it yourself.

You'll be able to tell if he's done it himself because they'll go ape at the thought of a potential mains burst in a residential area. (And even more so at the thought of Joe Public interfering with their mains supply.) They'll be round as an emergency matter to secure the situation.

BikeRunSki Thu 01-Aug-13 19:01:46

Is water still running into the hole ? Are there any other services exposed in the hole? If so, what about support to them , has the water undermined the ground around them ?

BikeRunSki Thu 01-Aug-13 19:09:08

Is water still running into the hole ? Are there any other services exposed in the hole? If so, what about support to them , has the water undermined the ground around them ?

cozietoesie Thu 01-Aug-13 19:12:43

Well if he's cut or fatally weakened the mains supply, anything could happen - and at any moment.

I'd fill up your bath, OP.

cozietoesie Thu 01-Aug-13 19:19:38

Sorry - ignore that 'cut or' - you'd know about that by now.

BatwingsAndButterflies Thu 01-Aug-13 20:30:48

What a bellend, call the council/101 immediately.

Pawprint Thu 01-Aug-13 20:32:43

Thanks all - I called the police tonight. I should have called the non emergency line, but the police still sent round a car with officers and they are going to inform the water board.

I'm so cross - some yearseer back, this man's house had a back wall that was weak and bulging out. It was at the top part of his house and was a very bad accident waiting to happen. It looked down on a busy street where people walked, cars were parked and children walked to and from school. He only had it repaired after two warnings from the council.

Oh, and he is stinking rich, just mean and selfish.

TweedWasSoLastYear Thu 01-Aug-13 20:51:32

You need to ring the water board asap.
Explain to them what this idiot is doing and they will come out , probably this evening to do a tempory repair.
The Water Board do not like to take any chances with contamination from splits in pipes , and amateurs attempting to repair them.
They will also have insurance ( which he wont ) be trained ( which he wont be ) and know what they are doing , ( which he doesnt) . They will put up barriers and usea road plate to cover the hole to stop kiddies and old ladies disappearing down it.
Please do it this evening as it needs fixing

cozietoesie Thu 01-Aug-13 21:00:01

Do your houses have water meters, OP?

cozietoesie Fri 02-Aug-13 08:01:39

Is your road back in good order, OP?

Pawprint Sat 03-Aug-13 13:04:19

Hi all - thanks for the messages.

I don't have a water meter - I guess it's the same for the rest of the street.

The site where this man drilled the hole in the road hasn't yet been dealt with by the water board. The guy has just filled the hole up with earth. No Tarmac or anything to provide structure.

I am going to contact the water board directly. The guy told someone that he just bought some pipe and hooked it up to a water hydrant.

Another thing - the man used to live in our house as well as his. He knocked through the wall and put a door in.

Recently, he told me that he had found an electric cable in his house that was coming through to my house. The cable needed to be capped off and he said he would get an electrician in. I have since discovered that he mended the wire himself... Grrr

cozietoesie Sat 03-Aug-13 14:04:28

Oh Dear Goodness.

I had thought that maybe he was 'circumventing' a water meter by digging in the road.

I've lived next to ......idiosyncratic.... neighbours as well. If he lived in your house before you, I would be really concerned about all the services - and also be hoping that the wall he knocked through (to put the door in) wasn't supporting.

Do you and he rent your houses or own them? (I'm thinking of responsibility for safety here.)

wheredidiputit Sat 03-Aug-13 14:43:29

Get your electric checked ASAP. At worse you could have a fire, at best you could be paying for some of his electric.

llittleyello Sat 03-Aug-13 14:49:35

He sounds unwell

LessMissAbs Sat 03-Aug-13 16:19:57

Its a bit unclear from your post what has actually happened, or who owns the road, the houses or the pipes. If he owns the road and you have a right of access over it, then he might be entitled to dig it up. Is it possible he is fixing other leaks in other pipes at the same time?

There is too much nonsense in this country about being scared of fixing simple things yourself. Presumably everything would be all right if he stuck a sign outside his house proclaiming that he was a "plumber", yet he would still be the same person with the same experience. Electrical safety regulations were changed recently and now prevent anyone from changing the facing on your sockets yourself in your own home! The only reason for this is I think to increase business for electricians. Yet my DH who has an degree in electronics engineering would be barred from changing his own sockets!

I speak also as someone who has a door covering a hole in the ground which will be our soakaway once we have dug a channel for it across our shared driveway and then covered it up. Its an easy job in terms of skill, and fortunately our neighbours are sensible and won't object. No way are we paying someone else to do it when we can do it ourselves.

I suggest you speak to your neighbour, instead of relying on Chinese whispers, and find out what he is actually doing. I'm not sure why you called the police instead of the water board.

Pawprint Sat 03-Aug-13 17:12:42

Hi "LessMissAbs"

The road is not owned by him, it is a public road owned by the council. One of the problems is that (a) it is illegal for him to dig up the road without a licence and (b) he isn't qualified to do work on the mains pipes. I'm not sure a plumber would be allowed to do it either, but I could be wrong.

The guy's 'work' could cause flooding or an accident. He says he bought some pipe from a scrap yard and 'rigged it up' to a water hydrant under the road. He claims that 'cowboys' put in the pipes 30 years ago and that now they have burst.

Putting an old door over the hole was dangerous - a car could have driven over it and gone into it, a child or animal could fall in and the sides of the hole could have collapsed on them.

You're right - the police weren't the right people to call. Should have contacted the water board.

Several people have expressed concerns to this man about the fact he has taken a pneumatic drill to the road and dug a hole five feet deep and four feet wide. He has also just filled the hole with soil and not put tarmac etc on it.

My h has spoken to him and so have at least three other neighbours.

What you are doing is different - you are digging on your own land and not a busy lane where people pick up/drop off children on the school run and where neighbours park their cars.

I'm all for people mending things themselves but this is a dangerous situation and shouldn't have happened.

Some time back, the council demanded he get the top of his back wall mended as it was bulging out and would have, eventually, would have collapsed onto the road.

Anyway, I hope the water board sorts it out.

I am not being an interfering busy body or nosey neighbour - I just don't want the houses on the street flooded! I live in a town where two severe episodes of flooding caused several hundred residents to be re-homed for an average of two years so I know the damage it can do.

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