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Why do I need a drainage and water report?

24th May 2023 by John Munro

Categories: What's New?

For house and flat buyers, a drainage and water report is always recommended and it is also usually a requirement of the mortgage lender. We take a look at the information it provides.

If you are buying a property, you will be advised to have a range of searches carried out, checking on a large number of different points. These include a local search, an environmental search and a drainage and water search.

A drainage and water report looks at a range of issues, including:

  • Whether a property is connected to mains water
  • Whether it has foul water drainage
  • Surface water sewer information
  • Whether there is a sewer pipe maintained by the water authority within the boundaries of the property
  • Whether there is a water pipe maintained by the water authority within the boundaries of the property

The increase in available information

Prior to 2002, the local authority was responsible for providing replies to drainage and water enquiries. They held limited information in respect of the location of pipes and mains meaning that buyers were often in the dark about the extent to which the system servicing the property was maintained.

In 2002, a new form known as the CON29DW was created to be completed by the water authorities.

As well as the above information, it is also likely to include:

  • An analysis of the risk of the property having low water pressure and suggested remedial measures
  • An assessment of the water quality
  • The basis on which the authority charges
  • Details of how the services are connected to the public network
  • Where the water meter is located, if the property has one
  • Colour plans giving the available information about the location of water and sewerage pipes and drains
  • Details of the risk of internal sewer flooding
  • Whether any agreements or consents exist which affect the property, such as an easement allowing the authority to run a pipe across the land
  • Where the local sewerage treatment works is situated

To limit liability, authorities may include large amounts of data and drainage and water reports can be 50 pages long or more in some cases.

Incomplete records

Despite the large amount of information provided, in many areas, knowledge of the sewerage system is incomplete. In 2011, the law changed to make private sewers that served more than one property as well as lateral drains that extended beyond the boundary of the property the water company’s responsibility. Prior to this, the local authority was responsible for mapping the sewers and drains.

Because of their incomplete mapping, it is sometimes the case that a sewer runs under a property and no build-over agreement has been made to set this on a formal legal footing. It may be possible to put a retrospective agreement in place in some circumstances.

It can also be the case that sewers simply do not show up when a search is carried out and the drainage authority may infer that a property is connected to the mains drainage system. The buyer will need to try and establish whether the property is indeed connected to a sewer or whether it has a septic tank or cesspit.

The CON29DW replies available from the local water and drainage authority are backed by a minimum of £10 million in indemnity insurance and remain the best source of information available.

If you are thinking of buying or selling a house or you have any other queries relating to buying or selling a property, please contact Kelly Howe on or 01202 377800.


John Munro

Partner — Commercial and Residential Property

Direct dial: 01202 377839


John Munro, head of Property, Laceys Solicitors
  • “John Munro was friendly and very approachable, advising me with a clear depth of knowledge and experience. I have since recommended him and will do so if asked in the future.”

    N. Pitts-Crick

  • “Having dealt with Laceys on many a sale and purchase I’ve always found them to be efficient, knowledgeable and attentive. I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending them to family, friends and clients.”

    Stuart Cockram - Frost and Co

  • “We have always been very happy with the service provided by Laceys Solicitors, in both our business legal requirements and domestic property conveyancing.”

    Mark Edney

  • “You are our solicitor Superhero! Very grateful. ”

    Maria - Tom Frowde Architects

  • “Changing solicitors is not to be undertaken lightly. However really impressed with the way that John Munro and his associates have dealt with us over the last couple of years in a variety of complex property related transactions and on the commercial and personal front as well. We look forward to working with them going forward.”

    Malcolm Tice, Director - Tice & Son Ltd

John joined Laceys in 2001 on a training contract, having completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Law in 2000, and qualified as a solicitor in 2003. He is now the Head of the Commercial and Residential Property Departments.

He is also the firm’s Senior Responsible Officer under the Law Society Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) with overall responsibility for the management of the property team and their delivery of the excellent service that our clients have come to expect.

John acts in his own capacity for a number of commercial property owners, developers and investors, but also allocates time to ensure his team are up to speed with changing law and professional regulations and clients are provided with members of the team who possess the right skills to deal with their individual requirements, delivering projects in the most time and cost-efficient manner.

Outside of work John seems to spend a great deal of time ferrying his children around but occasionally gets to put his feet up and listen to his eclectic collection of vinyl. He is also not averse to a good cheeseboard and a glass of IPA.

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