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walkereng, Consultant
Category: Structural Engineering
Satisfied Customers: 2741
Experience:  Structural Engineer with over 30 years of experience.
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I am buying a house and the water sewer search map shows that

Customer Question

I am buying a house and the water sewer search map shows that an abandoned waste sewer pipe runs through under the front corner of the property. The solicitor advised that this is an old pipe and hence why the property was built over in 1960, but could not confirm this either so he has written to Severn Trent for some answers. The solicitor did not commit or state any risks when asked and said i need to refer to a surveyor or plumber who is experienced with abandoned sewer pipes and the risks associated for the property. Please can you answer what risks are associated with an abandoned sewer pipe for the property and its inhabitants? Thank you
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Structural Engineering
Expert:  walkereng replied 2 years ago.
It all depends on the size of the pipe.
Is it a small 6" sewer lateral or is it some kind of sewer main?
If it is old and abandoned, then you would just have it filled Low Strength Mortar (LSM), which which is a type of concrete. This will ensure that the pipe does not collapse.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi thanks the pipe is abandoned main public sewer pipe so they are pretty large, how would one know please if it has been filled with LSM?
Expert:  walkereng replied 2 years ago.

You should be able to excavate down to the top of the pipe and then sound the pipe (tap on it with a hammer) to see if it is solid or hollow. There will be distinctly different sounds made when you tap on the pipe.

You can also use a core drill and actually drill into the pipe as well to see.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi thank you, ***** ***** I buy this property I would need to carry out this work test, would any builder be able to do this ? If planning permission was obtained in 1960 to build over this pipe would the council have made it mandatory for the builder to to fill the pipe, and if so would there be a record of this with the planning department? Or am I going back too far in dates for them to store any records? Your help with this is great as I will then know what my options are to confirm the pipe had been filled or not, thank you so much and look forward to your response.
Expert:  walkereng replied 2 years ago.
1. A contractor should be able to do this for you. I would make the successful completion of this test a condition of the sale.
2. I would hope they received approval before they built on top of the sewer line. Records all depend on the Jurisdiction, you would have to check with them.
3. Were I work in the U.S. we keep pretty good records of things like that. Again, you will need to check with them.
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Expert:  walkereng replied 2 years ago.
Good Luck with your purchase!

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