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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10915
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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over the last couple of years our drains have backed up as

Resolved Question:

over the last couple of years our drains have backed up as far as our kitchen, which is in our basement. i contacted the water company each time and they sent out a company who managed to clear the blockage. at the third visit they decided to do a cctv inspection, they confirmed there main sewer had collapsed. the company informed me they would return and fix the main sewer, they did not get back in touch. eventually i contacted the water company, following a further blockage, and they informed me that the old company they used had lost their contract.

a new company came out and unblocked the drain. following this latest incident a manager from the water company and their engineers came out and inspected the situation. they indicated that the problem was obviously on the drain on my property prior to the connection to the main sewer. at the same time we all observed that water must have been escaping from the sewer for many years as the area surrounding their main sewer had dropped considerably, there are also settlement cracks in the garden walls. the garden path (concrete) seems to be hollow underneath in certain places. i have a large triple garage with a solid concrete floor which also seems to be hollow underneath.

environmental health has also become involved as it has been proven that dirty water is entering their road gulleys to behind my garage.

i then excavated my garden where we believed the connection to the main sewer may be. it transpired that the connection was not on my property. in fact there was an interceptor on my land which joined a lateral drain and joined their sewer further down the line and more importantly on neighbours land. i contacted the water company again who did not believe me! they came out and confirmed the lateral drain had collapsed. i was also informed that several years previous the water company had lined the main sewer. they showed me the cctv footage and the main sewer looked perfect. i queried the lateral drain and asked for a tracing dye to be flushed from my house and the camera to pick up the dye entering the main sewer. after 5 minutes a very small quantity of dye was seen entering the main. it was obvious that the lateral drain had collapsed and the water was in fact simply dropping through the pipes and washing away. it was also evident that the main sewer in the past had collapsed on every joint as it was plain to see the new lining through the old broken joints.

the water company quickly arranged for a new connection to be made for my drains. the problem they had was that the drains next to their main were in fact lower that theirs so it was agreed they would dig back towards my house to get enough fall to make the connection. they carried out their works and reinstated their trench. i then had to replace my drains because the water company could not find the line for the downpipes as they became combined somewhere!

i was advised to notify my insurance company of the problems. they sent out a surveyor who confirmed the damage but as there was no damage to the main house, i was not covered for the other damage due to the escape of water. i contacted the water company and they are due to inspect the situation next week. they are sending out a manager and a 'compensation' chap!

what is my best course of action to rectify the situation?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.

Alex Watts : Hello my name is XXXXX XXXXX I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return You do not need to wait here as you will get an email when I reply.
Alex Watts : What is it you want to achieve please ?
Customer:

hi

Customer:

what i want to achieve is ultimately all of the problems that have occurred as a result of the leaking water are put right and there is no further chance of damage.

Alex Watts : Ok. What is that cost please?
Customer:

hi

Customer:

the cost has not yet been quantified. who decides on the extent of the damage that has occurred? as i said before the water company are attending next week with their 'compensation' man. the work to rectify the problems including any underpinning will run into the thousands possibly 4k-8k.

Alex Watts : Do you have an idea whether it is more or less than £10,000?
Customer:

i imagine less than £10,000 unless there are concealed defects which are yet to be discovered.

Alex Watts : Do you have an engineers report please?
Customer:

no not yet. i was going to wait until the water companies inspection next week. i have contacted a engineer re an initial inspection and this is going to cost me £350 + vat. i will bring this up in our meeting. is there anything else i should do? cheers

Alex Watts :

You need to write to the Water Company and make a formal complaint.

Alex Watts :

Raise this under their complaints procedure and it will be investigated.

Alex Watts :

If you are unhappy with that response then you can go to the Ombudsman

Alex Watts :

They can investigate your complaint for free

Alex Watts :

Their website is located at:

Alex Watts :

http://www.ccwater.org.uk/

Alex Watts :

If they do not uphold your complaint you may consider going to the Regulator.

Alex Watts :

They may investigate your complaint and their website is:

Alex Watts :

http://www.ofwat.gov.uk/

Alex Watts :

If they do not uphold your complaint then you can instruct the expert to produce the report

Alex Watts :

Then you may be able to go to Court and use the expert report

Alex Watts :

But the difficulty you have is if the Ombudsman and Regulator have found against you, then you need to convince a Court it is wrong

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer:

hi

Customer:

as i explained it has already been raised as a complaint maybe 5 times. they have investigated and have fixed the ongoing problem. what they haven't settled is the damage caused by their leaking drains. this is the question i have asked you i.e. what are they liable for?

Alex Watts :

They are liable for nuisance caused and putting any work right

Alex Watts :

That is what they are liable for.

Alex Watts :

Does that clarify for you/

Customer:

hi thanks for that. who decides the extent of the works?

Alex Watts :

An independent surveyor.

Alex Watts :

They will set out what needs to be done and rectified

Alex Watts :

Does that help?

Customer:

i have my meeting this week with the water company, should i see what they propose. if i'm not happy shall i simply indicate that we are getting nowhere and the only option is to appoint a surveyor? who pays his costs? cheers

Alex Watts : You split the surveyor costs.
Alex Watts : They should have a list of court approved surveyors which is who you should use.
Alex Watts : Can I clarify anything else?
Customer:

many thanks for your help with this, i will see what they say this week!!!

Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10915
Experience: Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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