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Water mains running through garden - would you buy?

(34 Posts)
B1rdinthebush Sat 14-Nov-20 06:59:24

We've just received searches back on the property we are buying and have discovered that there's a whacking great water main running down the left hand side of the house and garden.

This poses a problem as we were planning to put a large side extension on the property which we now can't do. We're now looking at how we can extend to the front and rear (though nothing can be within 5m of the pipe) instead.

But even if we can extend, are we mad to buy a property with a water main running through the garden? My MIL lives around the corner so I know they haven't had to dig up any gardens to access the mains in the 40+ years she's lived there's so I'm not hugely worried in that respect. But part of me just worries it's a burden having it on the property and might put off future buyers?

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Ifailed Sat 14-Nov-20 07:13:24

* we were planning to put a large side extension on the property which we now can't do*
Presumably water mains run under other properties, so have you been told you cannot build on it? What size is it & how deep?

B1rdinthebush Sat 14-Nov-20 07:21:38

@Ifailed The estate has been built around the water mains so no other structures are built on top. If you look at the attached diagram, you'll see what I mean.

The water main was laid in 1955 and the houses were built in 1970 so this makes sense. It's a 15inch pipe and, having looked on the water company's website, this means we can't build within 5m of the pipe and all foundations need to be hand dug confused

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CutCopyPastedLikeYou Sat 14-Nov-20 07:52:46

I wouldn't be worried about the water main itself but the fact it means I couldn't have the extension I want means I would walk away.

ILoveYoga Sat 14-Nov-20 07:55:01

If it concerns you and you know someone nearby MIL) who says she knows there’s been no problem in 40 years, how do you think potential future buyer (from you) would feel about the water main?

The house is already restricted on what van be done with it as nothing can be done within 5 meters of the pipe. This would mean if you extend as you say you need to, you will only be able to have a long marrow house. Would you be happy with that?

Unless the house is priced significantly less than those around it and you plan to stay there forever, don’t mind about losing money or not making any on the hiuse, then go ahead with the sale

Personally, as I believe your house is your greatest investment, I wouldn’t buy a house that is blighted - the water main is a blight on this house.

DefinitelyPossiblyMaybe Sat 14-Nov-20 07:57:43

I would walk away in those circumstances. The house doesn't have the potential you thought it did. Keeping any extention 5m away from the pipe looks incredibly limiting looking at the plans.

FTEngineerM Sat 14-Nov-20 07:59:48

We have a main sewer running through our garden and one day our entire garden was covered in actual shit.

Some arseholes upstream we’re flushing wet wipes. Water board came and unblocked without charge but we were left with the shitty garden to deal with.

If I were to move it wouldn’t be anywhere near anything like this again.

wowfudge Sat 14-Nov-20 08:02:35

The fact you can't extend as you planned would make it a no go as far as I'm concerned. You often cannot extend at the front as you can't go beyond the building line. I'd be looking for somewhere else.

Cdl84 Sat 14-Nov-20 08:02:52

We have access points to the sewer in our garden. Only once in 10 years have the water company requested access which was just to remove the hatch and look inside so wasn't disruptive. However it did mean we couldn't extend either. I would only be bothered about it in terms of it preventing extending if that's what you want to do.

B1rdinthebush Sat 14-Nov-20 08:20:59

Thanks everyone for your feedback, much appreciated.

I think the main thing that is bothering me is that we are now restricted on the extension. We could get what we need out of the house by putting a rear and small front extension on which would see us through probably another five years. But it won't be the forever home we'd planned.

The reason I haven't discounted it completely for the above reasons is because, even without the extension, the house still ticks a lot of boxes. We live on a main road with no off street parking at the moment and the new house is on a quiet cul-de-sac with a big drive (which I now see is to accommodate the bloody water pipe sad). These don't come up often in our area very much unless you spend another £100k. So I'm thinking it might still be a good purchase for us as it gives us the really key things we want and with some not too expensive extension works we could get a house which would suit us until the kids move to secondary school.

In terms of price, we'd just be moving the equity from this house and the mortgage would be £200 a month more than we're paying now.

I'm rambling a bit because I've barely slept thinking about our options. I love the house and the location and wondering if I take off the forever home hat if it could still be a good buy for us.

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fourmonthstogo Sat 14-Nov-20 09:20:40

I feel your pain B1rdinthebush We've also just had our con29dw searches back and our new house has both foul water and surface water running through the back garden. We don't think we'd extend out, so that's not such a problem, but I am really concerned about things putting off buyers in the future. I don't want a property we'd struggle to sell!

fourmonthstogo Sat 14-Nov-20 09:21:53

And @FTEngineerM your post fills me with dread! How on earth do you clean that up??

PresentingPercy Sat 14-Nov-20 10:06:47

Water mains are not sewage pipes so don’t worry about that.

However, water mains can leak and they can require maintenance. The one in our village was lined after repeated leaks. A huge plastic pipe pulled through it. What access will the water company require if work is necessary? Leaks will cause flooding of course. There is a reason why water mains are usually in roads and not in properties.

If you cannot make this property what you want and have to sell, won’t other buyers think the same as you? You would be lucky to extend at the front as well. Unless others have done this, it’s often not permitted beyond the building line. You might not get much. I would be very wary.

B1rdinthebush Sat 14-Nov-20 10:52:11

@PresentingPercy Luckily my husband is an HVAC project manager so is up to speed on building near mains water and access requirements etc. That part doesn't bother us too much, but it might someone else in future, I just don't know.

We think we could extend out the front to meet the front of the converted garage which protrudes from the main building (next door have done this so there's precedence). If we did that we could have a kitchen diner, snug, downstairs WC, utility and separate lounge. They wouldn't be the really big rooms we initially envisaged but they'd be a decent enough size and ample space for 2 adults and two kids.

We're going up tomorrow to take a look around and measure up potential room sizes as I'm rubbish at envisaging stuff just from drawings.

This is the third house we've tried to buy in the last eight months so I'm feeling pretty deflated about it all if I'm honest.

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B1rdinthebush Sat 14-Nov-20 10:53:27

@fourmonthstogo We have sewage pipes under our garden in this house and it's never been an issue. Our buyer hasn't been put off so hopefully any future buyers of your property wouldn't be either. My understanding js you can apply for a build over on sewage pipes so there is a bit more wiggle room.

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FTEngineerM Sat 14-Nov-20 19:33:19

@fourmonthstogo whilst 3.5 months pregnant with a shovel and some PPE (before that’s was a thinggrin) and lots of bleach. Some grass needed to be reincarnated as wood chip but that’s a minor fall out.

@PresentingPercy I realise water mains is not sewerage BUT I was using it to explain to OP why I would never buy a house (again) with any utility on the property. It DOES have the potential to go awfully wrong.

How many water pipes do you see dug up on roads, loads where I am. It’s never ending. If the pipe has been down for a looooong time it’s only getting closer to needing repair/replacement work.

mumwon Sat 14-Nov-20 19:50:52

can I say one thing op? where the pipe is shown on the property is usually approximate - could you visit & check? there may be some evidence of drain covers ect at certain points which could help you figure out exactly where it is. Actually in this house we were trying to put up a whirly clothes line (as you do) & digging a small hole & found something metal-panic phone call to water board where the kind man used his metal detector & dug out old building scrap (panic thoughts "have we found a ww2 uxb!!! grin) !
When we had a house extension a few houses ago & several years back our builders stated that the developers plans had no bearing on where the pipes where or where they led to - ( some colourful language followed when they dug small holes in our garden trying to find the pipes)

PresentingPercy Sat 14-Nov-20 20:57:43

Few properties have the mains water supply in the garden. You normally have an individual supply to your property but nothing else. These, and drainage pipes, are often not accurately laid by builders and hardly anyone checks. This is generally because they work. They are not the same as a 15 inch water main though.

I would find out about access in case of maintenance and emergency. Be aware that a future buyer might not be happy so potential buyers might be reduced.

I can see you probably would get pp for the front development. Is this good enough or are you spending money on a less than desirable property?

fourmonthstogo Sat 14-Nov-20 21:01:59

@B1rdinthebush Hope things are a little clearer when you've seen the property again tomorrow. It must be so stressful being on your third try!

@FTEngineerM poor you, that sounds hideous. I'm hoping it's pretty rare though - although I have the dubious joy of both surface water drains and foul sewer running through the new garden, I'm more concerned about the significant risk of surface water flooding in the future.

Sickoffamilydrama Sun 15-Nov-20 15:47:03

We have a sewer pipe running down the side of our property effectively at the boundary we got a build over agreement to build near it although took the decision to narrow the extension rather than actually build on it so that if the worst happened we wouldn't have them digging up the extension.

Not sure with the position of the pipe if that's an option for you OP?

PresentingPercy Sun 15-Nov-20 16:27:34

Water mains are different. Water authorities don’t allow building over. They might be 3.5m both sides though. Not 5m both sides. Could this mean 2.5m for your side op? You can ask for a diversion. But you would pay and from your diagram - where could it divert to? Difficult to see any answer. I’m not sure I would spend money on this house.

Sickoffamilydrama Sun 15-Nov-20 17:41:51

Good to know Percy

OnTheBenchOfDoom Sun 15-Nov-20 18:27:51

I think the fact that you are looking to spend a lot of money on extensions both front and rear to make this sort of what you want and that you would be looking to move again in 5 years and all the costs involved in all of the above, I would walk away.

Is your MIL living just round the corner a bonus or a future issue? grin

B1rdinthebush Sun 15-Nov-20 20:25:35

@PresentingPercy Some water boards say it's 5m clearance total (so 2.5m from the centre of the pipe either side) but ours specify that it is 5m either side.

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B1rdinthebush Sun 15-Nov-20 20:26:18

@fourmonthstogo It was actually really helpful going today! I was able to much better visualise the space and we were able to measure up our options which we now feel much more positive about.

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