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Extension built over a sealed drain - indemnity insurance ???

(15 Posts)
Bookaboo Mon 28-Oct-13 08:43:52

just thought i should update this thread in case anyone looks up a similar issue in the future. turned out the original company had got it wrong (apparently they have a bad reputation anwe yway). got a second opinion; the drains are fine and there is access to unblock if ever needed. so we decided to go ahead.
it turns out we may have been barking up the wrong tree. now in the property we found the roof leaks! it's just one thing after another.

icravecheese Wed 09-Oct-13 20:11:11

can they not go from the access point on your driveway/street/ pavement out front? I recall our drain people put a camera down the access point on our patio and fed it all the way under the extension, through to access point on our driveway.
I guess they already considered that tho', so sorry, I'm not much help other than to say I'm really sorry to hear you're having such a nightmare at such a late stage in proceedings shock

Bookaboo Wed 09-Oct-13 18:47:27

Ok. So i decided to go with the drain survey. drain company has been round today - they couldn't access the drain. There is only one access point when there should be two. Vendor has requested a quote to see how much it would be to access the inspection hatch underneath the kitchen floor (presumably through the slate floor they have, through the chipboard, through the floorboard... Then whatever else is beneath that ) Aaaargh! My panic station has now gone into overdrive. we have definitely delayed completion now.

Bookaboo Mon 07-Oct-13 19:49:47

So, i tried GCS as recommended by icravecheese. They only take business direct from solicitors, so i have passed details on.
Is askasurveyor around to talk some more about drains?
Do i have to get a survey done to find out what the drains are made of? (To establish that they are not pitch fibre?)
Will the solicitors drainage report show the exact location of the drains?
I never knew i could think so much about drains!
Unfortunately it looks like i've now delayed the exchange date and buggered up everyone's plans.

Bookaboo Sun 06-Oct-13 20:40:29

Thanks. I've had a look at some insurance policies. they do cover costs of unblocking drains, which isn't really what i'm worried about as this doesn't seem it will be a problem. if the drain fails at some point, I imagine they will say it's not covered because it would be classed as wear and tear ( but who on earth ever decides to replace their drains??!)
plus it's a sixties house and I read that a material called pitch fibre was sometimes used in drain construction at that time, apparently it's poor so i hope it's not that either!
Then again, i've also read some magical things they can do with drain repair that doesn't involve excavation either .

askasurveyor Fri 04-Oct-13 22:25:17

Current, not curent! Fat fingers syndrome!

askasurveyor Fri 04-Oct-13 22:24:01

Hello bookaboo. Im a surveyor. This really is not a problem. It is perfectly normal for drains to run under an extension. Indemnity insurance is a waste of time; your normal buildings insurance should cover you if there is a problem with the drains in the future. As long as access has been provided to clear blockages there shouldnt be any problem but if you are concerned about the curent condition a drains test (usually no more that £200) will give you a definitive answer. The surveyor is indeed covering himself and one of many that give us a bad name!

Talkinpeace Fri 04-Oct-13 21:27:33

sorry, I must be thick
your house drain runs under part of your house
well no shit sherlock, so do the drains in every Victorian terrace or semi whose back bathrooms have been connected to the street drain ....

we had our drains turned from front to back in the 90's
but were in a house with access to a rear drain

my current house only has access to one drain and part of my extension sits over part of the house pipe

icravecheese Fri 04-Oct-13 20:57:37

Ok, have had a rummage in our filing drawers (which DD3 has completely rearranged and re-filed in only the way a 2yr old can do!) and have managed to dig out our indemnity insurance paperwork. Its with a company called 'Guaranteed Conveyancing Solutions' and it cost £240 (one off cost) for the planning permission and building regs (couldnt work out quite what wasn't covered by these 2 things, but we have a side extension that has been built over the mains drains - which also feed in from our neighbours house, built 8yrs before we moved in, so something to do with this).

The website for the company is:

I think we were initially concerned when this came up on our survey 8 yrs ago, but solicitor was really reassuring and said it was nothing to worry about & indemnity insurance was cheap & readily available & would cover it no probs. I fear, however, that things have changed massively since then - housing crash / surveyors covering their a**ses with crazy surveys (I've read friends house purchase surveys in the last few yrs and they're so mental, covering every possible eventuality), that people panic about these things.

Look up the company - they might be able to help....and don't panic! GOod luck.

Bookaboo Fri 04-Oct-13 19:27:48

Thanks icravecheese, I am reassured by what you say. I think what actually concerns me more though is how much it may deter other potential buyers if we want to sell in the future.
Still waiting for solicitors to get back to me and have spoken to other insurers in the meantime, even a specialist indemnity broker who had never heard of such a thing!

icravecheese Thu 03-Oct-13 09:29:57

We had exactly this when we moved into our house in 2005 - we had to take out indemnity insurance because (a) side extension had been built over drains and (b) they'd knocked lounge through to dining room and not gotten proper something-or-other. Indemnity insurance cost virtually nothing - £35 for each point (from memory) and I believe our solicitor sorted it all.

Whats more, the drain thing has never been much of an issue in the 8 years we've lived in our house - drains have actually blocked twice (due to neighbour, not us) and we had a company put camera down the drain (from access point in back garden, all the way under extension and up through access point in front drive). Turns out we just have VERY old drains (house built in 1910) and pipes just needed a flush through.

I would press back onto solicitor, ours sorted it all out. Although whole insurance / cover your arse environment is very different today to what it was just 8yrs ago. But don't fret - it honestly sounds fine and pretty normal to me.

Bookaboo Wed 02-Oct-13 23:16:27

Solicitor's view was that it's all fine because the extension has building regs and it's not a public sewer. Seemed to think that surveyor was just really covering his arse. Suggested I go back to surveyor to query some more. Surveyor told me that indemnity insurance was something my solicitor should advise on! Aaaargh!
Spoken to two more major insurance companies and still no joy.
Anyone else?

Many thanks

WhatWillSantaBring Tue 01-Oct-13 21:20:23

This is worrying me as this is what all three builders have said we have to do, as the fall isn't enough to route the drain around the extension. They're happy as long as the drain is plastic (not clay? I think?)

Bookaboo - what about speaking to some builders and see if they have concerns. maybe its your surveyor worrying unnecessarily? Wonder what pigletjohn has to say?

fiorentina Tue 01-Oct-13 20:01:58

Usually your solicitor can recommend the company to offer the relevant indemnity insurance, perhaps ask them if they can?

Bookaboo Tue 01-Oct-13 19:27:16

The surveyor recommended that we take out indemnity insurance on the property we're buying in case of any damage to a drain that the extension is built over. the drain is sealed and there are two access points in case of any blockages.
the surveyor didn't seem to think this was a major issue,but it's causing me some worry because i'm struggling to find an insurance company that will provide this cover.
have told solicitor about it to see if they can advise, but in the meantime while i fret about whether this might turn out to be a dealbreaker, does anyone have any experience of this?
just as i thought we were smoothly approaching exchange!
husband is no help - i reckon he thinks i'm always looking for stuff to worry about!
thanks in advance.

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