Hi there I'm new to this Forum and would really appreciate any help/advise you can give on this dilemma.
I've very recently bought an old cottage ( built 1880) and was told that it had no building regs on the single storey extension that housed a downstairs bathroom and a kitchen. The extension was built in 1984/85. I was given an Indemnity insurance by the seller to cover me incase the Council found out about the extension and took proceedings against me for the lack of building regs.
I'm having the kitchen and bathroom resited within the extension and new stairs put in. When I pulled up the old floor covering in the bathroom I found a manhole cover that was level with the concrete floor and screeded over..... so the extension has been built over a sewer pipe. I can't understand why the searches made by my solicitor did not pick up the drains at the rear of the property and why questions weren't asked ?? It appears that no building regs or consent from the water utility company was given for this' build over'. The HomeBuyer's Survey confirmed that the extension was solid and well built but queried the drains as he couldn't find a manhole cover to check the condition of the pipe work. Do I leave the manhole where it is but make sure that it's accessible? Moving the sewer drain will be expensive I would of thought and I am on a limited budget. (The drains are private drains). Should building regs have been obtained for both the extension and the drains 32 years ago and what are my options now realistically. I'm getting conflicting advice from people and getting very confused as to what to do for the best.
There are many questions here and I will try to answer as many as possible:- An extension would have required b regs in 1985 ish I would suggest you leave the man hole in place. Hopefully it is a double seal screw down cover, if not I would change it. If the sewer is on the water authorities map of sewers they would have required a build over agreement as part of the b regs application. At this time called a section 18 agreement. Private sewers and most shared sewers (which are now the responsibility of the water authority) are not always mapped, so the search would not help. Hence the solicitor did not pick this up. The indemnity insurance only covers you against enforcement from the local authority which will not happen now so don't worry. Many extensions are built over sewers and it would be reasonable after 30 years to consider that as the drains have not been adversely effected to date the foundations and protection to the drain were ok? Otherwise you have been extremely lucky.
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