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Drain problems... gross but please help!

12 replies

pinkprincess1206 · 17/01/2010 19:01


Any advice on this would be very much appreciated! I know its gross but please help!

We bought our house 6 years ago- its was a brand new build so we have 4 years of NHBC cover remaining. We have recently been having problems with our drains and really awful smells and toilets not flushing properly etc. We have had various plummers etc out to fix the problems, but they could not find anything. We then thought the toilet was leaking and had to take up the brand new floor as we were advise dit could be the flooring going mouldy that was causing the smell... we ripped it up and it was not the flooring! Then we had to call out the emergency drain people, thinking there was a blockage as the smell was sooo bad and sewage was coming back into the toilet. After doing what they do they put a camera down the drain and told us that the drains have not been put n correctly.... there is about 1.5 m or drain pipe with 4 inches of stagnent water in the pipe which doesnt go anywhere- because of how the drain have been put in. The guy told us that is ll raw sewage in this pipe that wont go anywhere and will be causing the smell he also aid there will be germs and all sorts of yuck growing in it...(told you it was gross)... he told me that we should still be covered by wither the builders or nhbc.... e also thinks we will need to move out whilst the work is done and the pipe goes under the toilet floor and the lounge! great!

can anyone help ??? or know anything about this.. i have a feeling i am going to have a fight on my hands.... but its one im not backing down on!

OP posts:
Pannacotta · 17/01/2010 19:23

This should be covered by your guarantee but it is also worth calling your insurers asap.

Whichever way, a report from a drainage specialist will be needed and it sounds very likely that you will have to move out while the work is done (given where the pipes run), unless it can be done while you are away.

I don't see why you would have a fight on your hands though, this is pretty fundamental and your house builder can hardly argue about whose fault it was that the drains were put in wrong, given its a new build...

Good luck.

uglymugly · 17/01/2010 20:04

Pannacotta's advice is excellent and well worth following. But don't get fobbed off by either your insurers or the builder/NHBC - as Pannacotta says, they can't ignore the drainage people's findings.

I would also advise that you get in touch with your sewerage/water company as there can sometimes be a partial blockage further down the line and it depends on where you link in to the public sewer what effect any blockage there might have. The stagnant water might be result of a problem with the drains under your house or might be the result of a problem further along. Problems with sewer pipes can sometimes be solved by going in via the other end, so to speak, and sewerage companies can sometimes come up with creative solutions to this kind of problem.

Also, and I'm really not sure about this, but there is a question in the back of my mind as to where legal responsibility for sewer pipes actually lies. When we had our two-storey extension built back in the '80s and discovered that there was a sewer pipe right under where we were building , we had someone from the sewer company who stipulated a heck of lot of extra protection/reinforcement in the foundations before we were permitted to proceed. Your sewerage/water company should have a lot of detail about how all the drains should have been laid.

pinkprincess1206 · 17/01/2010 20:20

thanks for your repies. I have already contacted the insurance company but they are saying its the builders/ nhbc responsibilty. The drain is bowed (not sure if thats the right term) nd the bloke that came out said that it would have been laid like that- which it shoudnt have been but he was very confident and he seemed to know what he was talking about. He said that there was no way the drain could have developed the "dip" (or what ever its called) as the new pipes are all plastic and it must have been put in like that, whch make me think it should have been noticed during the inspection process!
Anyway the whole thing is a nightmare, the house stinks vile permanantly , we have a small baby- and the house is up for sale- and we are desperate to sell..... not much chance of that now eh! boo hoo

I know the builders for this estate have messed up on allsorts of areas and that others have ahad ob going battles with them.... just a nightmare i could do without.

All your advice is very much appreciated ttho! x

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pinkprincess1206 · 17/01/2010 20:21

apologies for rubbish spelling ;)

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dexter73 · 18/01/2010 08:56

I think this is something that you need to get sorted asap if you are hoping to move. The smell will put buyers off and you are required to tell potential buyers of any problems with the house.

pinkprincess1206 · 18/01/2010 21:17

spoke to nhbc today- thay tolf me it's not their problem, advised me to contact builders but said they would probably laugh in my face!.. i saidthat surely pipework etc shoudl be checked when building. the woman spke t me like i was child and said " everyone knows they don't check all the pipe!" thats good to know! then i called insurance comp again- we are not covered- acidental damage doesn't mean dodgy builders etc! then i contacted the legal dept. they are calling me back but said nhbc isn't really worth the paper it's written on!.... we have been advised to get another independent report with a cd of the images on it- but this will cost around £150- we cant really afford this but will have to find it,

surely somene should be liable???

I am so gutted- i could cry! just don't know where to go next!

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Pannacotta · 18/01/2010 22:10

Sorry but what the NHBC told you sounds like utter bullshit to me.
I'd go to your local CAB and ask them for advice, or post here in the legal section as there are lawyers on MN who might be able to offer some advice.
DOn't give up on this, I really think you should be covered...

Have you looked at your NHBC documents?
Prob better to write rather than call as your next step, much harder for them to fob you off. You could also try threatening them with Watchdog, not sure if that would get you anywhere

pinkprincess1206 · 19/01/2010 20:59

Thanks Pannacotta... am writing letters now!
Will let you know what happens

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Pannacotta · 19/01/2010 21:26

Good luck and keep at it, am sure you will get results.

pinkprincess1206 · 25/01/2010 21:37

Hi- just to update you...
basically your nhbc cover is worth diddly sqwat! no one will conver us for this- not nhbc, builders or house insurance... looks like we will be skint for a while while we have to fund this ourselves- what a joke!

just to say thanks for all suggestions tho, it was worth a try i guess.

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Pannacotta · 26/01/2010 17:32

Sorry to hear that.
What I would say is that while your house insurance may not cover you to get the remedial work done, it shoudl deffo cover you for any damage done to the house and any work needed once you have fixed the drains, so replacement flooring.making good etc.

From our experience of faulty workmanship this is waht we were told.
We had a shower put in wrong and it leaks.
We have to pay to have it taken out and reinstalled but the insurers woulod cover any/all making good.

Are you 100% sure your NHBS guarantee will not cover you?
Did you see the links on the Watchdog page I linked to before?
You could try asking for their help in persuading the builders to rectify the problem, you never know it may work...

pinkprincess1206 · 26/01/2010 21:05

yeah i followed the link n stuff but it seems your right in what you say about making good- thats the cheaper bit! its diggin the bloody living room, hall and toilet floor up to get the underground drain thing sorted that expensive!!! but hey ho- worth a try. really tho- thanks for your advice, these forums are great for finding out stuff.... more useful than he bloody legal advice i paid for! xxx

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