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When Should I Arrange a drainage survey

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  • 23-09-2021
When Should I Arrange a drainage survey

Have you recently asked: When should I arrange a drainage survey? Do you want to find out if you need a drain survey for your property? We look at how a drain survey will benefit you.

What does a drain survey look for?

CCTV drainage surveys are not undertaken as a standard part of a building survey, especially when you are a home buyer or vendor. Therefore, you will need to arrange a drain survey yourself when you are considering purchasing a property. 

Of course, if you notice any major issues with your drainage system, such as blockages or backed up water, you will need to arrange for a professional CCTV drain survey. 

What Does A Drainage Survey Cost?

A specialist drain engineer or surveyor will use waterproof or crawler cameras to search your drainage systems and pipes during a CCTV drainage survey. These surveys are done to discover what issues might be affecting the operation of your drainage system, such as:

  • Waste blockages in your drains or sewer pipes.  
  • Structural damage, such as hairline fractures, holes or collapsed sections of the drain.  
  • Tree roots breaking their way into your drainage or pipes. 
  • Cracks forming in the walls of your pipework.  
  • Pitch fibre pipes that are weak and must be replaced. 

When Should I Arrange A Drainage Survey

Once the engineer or surveyor has inspected your drainage system through remote CCTV drain surveys, they will give you a report detailing any issues they have found. 

They will then propose solutions to the issues that are present in your drainage systems. These suggestions can range from simply unclogging blockages or relining your pipes to large scale excavations and repairs.

Do I Need a Drainage Survey? 

Given how useful CCTV drain surveys can be, it is important to know when your property might need one. Along with checking for issues or damage, these surveys can also produce maps of your drainage system to know what you are dealing with when purchasing a new house or simply surveying your property. 

However, there are some warning signs when a CCTV drain survey might be necessary rather than a practical and useful service. These warning signs could include:

  • Noticing water backing up through your system in sinks, toilets, showers or baths.
  • Noticing that your drains are blocked or that something could be clogging your drainage system. 
  • Bubbles appearing around your drains. 
  • Your toilets not flushing properly. 
  • Noticing significant corrosion on your drains or pipes. 
  • Evidence of animal infestations, such as rodents or insects. 

New Homebuyers

Again, you do not need to have noticed anything wrong with your drainage systems to arrange for a CCTV drain survey to be carried out. Those seeking to purchase a new property can benefit from the peace of mind a professional drain survey service can provide. 

The typical homebuyer's CCTV survey, conducted by a surveyor when someone wishes to sell a property, does not consider that property's drainage system. Therefore, arranging for a drainage survey to be conducted on the property can warn you of any issues it has and save you from potential future repair costs. 

Another option might be to use this to negotiate the property's price if issues are found within the property's drainage system. Additionally, if you are thinking of extending the property once you buy it, having a drain survey already conducted will help significantly. 


When planning an extension to your home, you must bear your drainage system in mind. You must make sure that your proposed extensions plans adhere to the necessary building regulations. Part of this pertains to lateral drains that flow from your home to public sewer lines. 

These regulations are more likely to apply to terraced housing, and if you wish to extend your property into an area where these lateral and public lines join, you have a couple of options. The first is to get ahold of a build over agreement, and the second is to divert your extension around the disputed site or location. 

drain survey for Extensions

Build over agreements are a specific assurance you give to your local water authority. Essentially, these agreements ensure that no matter what you build, the water authority will be able to access the pipes or drainage systems that your extension will stand on. This access is primarily for cleaning and maintenance purposes, so your extension will have to accommodate this necessity. 

This demonstrates the importance of CCTV drain surveys. Without mapping the pipes and drainage that runs from your home, you will be unable to agree with the water authority that they will have continued access to the water lines. Drain surveys can then help you to design your extension so that it adheres to the necessary regulations. 

Regarding the internal plumbing of your home and your proposed extension plans, locating where the existing drains and pipes are located will be essential. Finding where your drainage and pipework connects to public waterworks or sewer lines is vital when connecting kitchen or toilet appliances in your extension. 

These drainage surveys will also help you get a good idea of what your extension will cost you. When planning and designing your extension, working out the plumbing logistics and the scale of complexity of the system you will need can guide you on what prices you can expect to pay. 

Reactive CCTV drain surveys

Reactive CCTV drain surveys are needed when an issue has already made itself apparent, and you need to discover what has happened. If you notice a change in the normal operation of your drainage system, get in touch and contact your local professional drainage engineering company to arrange for a drain survey.

Domestic and commercial properties can suffer from these drain issues, such as blocked toilet lines, foul smells, overflowing, backed up water or sinks not draining properly. 

Initially, the plumber or drain engineer will jet the system to flush any loose blockages and free the way for the camera. These state of the art remote or crawler cameras will then be inserted into your drainage system. The professional engineer will then assess the system's condition and what caused the issue in the first place. 

It is not always necessary to record the footage captured by the remote or crawler cameras, as the drain engineer will diagnose the issue there and then. Drain survey reports are available, especially for those who own commercial properties or landlords. 

Reactive CCTV drain surveys

These will often need to be requested by the property owner. The drainage engineer will also offer advice on how to maintain your drains and pipes better. 

Proactive CCTV drain surveys

Proactive CCTV drain surveys are conducted before an issue has had the chance to rear its ugly head. Preventing an issue before it can form is the best way to look after your drainage system and pipework. 

Of course, you can wait for your system to show signs of distress before doing anything about it. But as part of responsible drain ownership, regular maintenance and inspection is often the best course of action. After all, why take the risk?

Are you looking for a CCTV drain survey in the Ipswich and Suffolk area? Find out more about our local services below.