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Drain problems

publication date: Jun 25, 2006
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Although the legal side has always been pretty well secure, the preponderance of Messrs. Bodgit and Scarper and the preference of the average UK male to DIY to save a few bob, has led to some interesting findings after a few weeks in a new home which somehow never showed up on the survey.

And there again, many British buyers don’t actually have a full survey, trusting that the building society would never lend on a place that is falling down. Fair enough, but there is an awful lot of leeway between falling down and in need of repair.

The HIP – love it or hate it, is set to change all that. The vendors who hope that their buyers will not have a full survey, the buyers who wander around with their heads in the clouds, those simply desperate to buy or sell, have all got a big surprise coming.

The HIP will require a proper survey - The Home Condition Report. (HCR) This report has the potential to kill deals in their infancy. It also has the potential to make buying a home a safer, fairer transaction. No hiding place for Messrs. Bodgit and Scarper, no chance for the besotted to convince their partner that ‘It’ll be FINE darling, honestly.’

All the faults in a home will be picked up in the thorough HCR. The leaking roof, the crack in the wall that’s been there since the 1976 drought, the seeping cavity wall insulation that never quite got fixed… the list could be endless in the most ordinary home.

In the lush green countryside of the UK (Well it is at the moment anyway), there is even more potential for trouble. In the country they have things like Calor gas and septic tank drainage, there being an insufficient number of people to interest the mains suppliers.

While Calor gas is rarely a major issue, (although the uninitiated may not know that Calor is much more violent than mains gas and making softly scrambled egg can be a major challenge), drainage can be, well exactly that, a real drain on your sanity and your wallet. We asked UK Drainage, the only drainage solution provider which is approved by the WRc (Water Research Centre) for a case study that illustrated a problem (and a solution) which could have lost a sale before it even got going, under the new HIP regime.

UKDrainage Network is one of those companies that ‘does what it says on the can’. They operate a truly national service through eleven regional bases, with 95 vehicles and 225 staff. They offer a full range of expert technical services, from surveys and investigations, to burst pipe repairs right through to full replacement / installation of linings, drains and whatever else is required to make a drain drain.

“Many drainage problems can be resolved quite quickly and most are covered by household insurance. We are a contracted supplier for managing drainage claims for the majority of UK home insurers. While people go into a lather about the cost of drainage repairs, with our Best Practice approach we eliminate the recommendation of unnecessary works.” Says Roger Bulkeley, Sales and Marketing Director.

This will be of particular importance to vendors hoping to sell their home without having to spend too much to get it on the market in the first place.

In our case study, the property had a septic tank, pipework to a soakaway and – a leak. The leak was in the drive which did not provide a very attractive welcome to the house. Attempts had been made to clear the chamber and even frequent emptying did not alleviate the problem. A new system was feared, large expense at the moving stage was not a popular idea.

The UKDrainage contractors, Drain Tech, were called in and performed a full inspection was carried out, rods, cameras, action. The evidence indicated that the septic tank was in a serviceable condition, as was the downstream pipework to the inspection chamber in the driveway.

The pipework seemed fine too, until a blockage was reached, along the way to the soakaway. The conclusion was that this pipe would need replacement, as would the soakaway, but with the tank and other pipework in good order, the problem was not as seriously expensive as the owners had feared.

The photographs tell the tale; the trench was dug, the new pipe laid in place of the old one, an enormous hole dug for the soakaway and a series of blue chambers was installed in the hole. These large units looked like overgrown milk crates but are, apparently, ‘Pre formed polypropylene modular cell coated in a geo membrane’. A straightforward job, diagnosed by experts and carried out with surgical precision. The most impressive part of the whole process, after the excellent response and service from the organising team, was the professionalism of the DrainTech operatives. They turned up on time, caused no disturbance whatsoever, carried out the task with great care and left each evening having swept up, covered up, roped off and left the site safe and tidy.

Within four days the job was complete to the client’s satisfaction and the garden restored to its former state. `Relaying the lawn did not, to these guys, mean shovelling the earth back and plonking the turf on top. A compactor was used to impressive effect to make sure that the lawn ended up as flat as it was before. A visitor arriving two days after the completion of the works said “Oh, did your drainmen not turn up then?”

No leaks, no smells, no worries about selling the property, and a bill which, set against the potential reduction in a buyers offer, was most acceptable.

The case study demonstrates that problems should be faced, a reliable company instructed to investigate them and a workable solution found, so that the property can be sold on with a clear mind and a clear conscience! Agents who detect problems such as these can resolve them with their clients by using UKDrainage, and there is a Referral Commission Scheme available.

For further information contact Darren Hughes on 0845 408 9382 or email Darren.HughesUKDrainageNetwork.co.uk Drains.