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Guttering issue in a terraced property


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My daughter has just bought a terraced house within a row of ten properties. Each "pair" of houses has shared drainage and sewage piping as was common in many terraced houses. I was rather amazed to discover today when I visited her house for the first time, that she has THREE houses connecting onto her own single guttering down pipe in a "waterfall" like series of connections along the roof line. All of the other houses have shared downpipes between two houses. My daughter strongly believes that what she thought was damp walls caused by rising ground water might actually be caused by overloaded guttering. Is it legal to "discharge" rainwater like this.? I am sure that neighbours will not want to know but who should she approach once the neighbours walk away. Is there any point contacting the local authority planning office.? Who else might be able to assist.? Any help or suggestions would be much appreciated.

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Contact the local building inspector as it is possible the diam of the guttering and dau's downpipe is insufficient to cope with run-off from 3 roofs in heavy rain. It will be the owner's resp to replace, but she may be able recover some share from each neighbour, as the rule (for underground pipes) is each linked neighbour shares cost from point at which their pipe connects.

Also suggest she contacts her Insurer for on site inspection.

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How old is the building ? I'm assuming early 1900s

 

As "mariner51" states this is incorrect, because the volume of water can not be coped with.

 

You may also find that as the rain water down pipe discharges into your daughters soak away. (Large hole in the ground full of broken bricks).

That the soak away is blocked and may require re digging.

 

The reason I say this is because you mention "damp".

Is there rain water leaking out of the down pipe on to the wall ?

That would indicate a blocked soak away.

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Unless the gutters have been altered, they should have passed building control when it was built. Have you tried simply having a look during heavy rain to see if the guttering, rainwater pipe and drainage system can handle it? Not very scientific, but it gives you an answer. If it's not adequate, approach others to share cost of increasing the size of the rainwater pipe. @f16, why are you assuming the rainwater goes into a soak away?

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How old is the building ? I'm assuming early 1900s

 

As "mariner51" states this is incorrect, because the volume of water can not be coped with.

 

You may also find that as the rain water down pipe discharges into your daughters soak away. (Large hole in the ground full of broken bricks).

That the soak away is blocked and may require re digging.

 

The reason I say this is because you mention "damp".

Is there rain water leaking out of the down pipe on to the wall ?

That would indicate a blocked soak away.

 

Hello F16 - It is a complictaed set up and I am nearly 250 miles away.

I am probably going to look into the lay out of drains and soak away

when I visit again in about a weeks time. My main concern is thast there

are a total of 4 roofs plus a single level extension all discharging rain water

into a single 70mm diameter pipe. My worry is that the standard profile

guttering cannot simply cope with a heavy downpour of rain. I have noted areas

of damp on the inner face of external walls. My worry is that the ground water

level is raised and that water pouring down the rear brick wall may be causing

damp at just above ground level. The wall cavity may also be affected as damp

is showing at just above ground floor level internally..

Yes the property is early 1900's .

On the legal front can two neighbouring properties simply divert their rain

water onto a third party property. Unfortunately my daughter is at the end

of the run of guttering.

Thankyou for your reply.

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Unless the gutters have been altered, they should have passed building control when it was built. Have you tried simply having a look during heavy rain to see if the guttering, rainwater pipe and drainage system can handle it? Not very scientific, but it gives you an answer. If it's not adequate, approach others to share cost of increasing the size of the rainwater pipe. @f16, why are you assuming the rainwater goes into a soak away?

 

Hello - I will pass this info on to my daughter - she just wants to know some options for addressing the issue

and trying to eliminate any damp problems in the building without creating bad feelings with her neighbours.

Quite rightly she doesnt want to move into her new house and start off on the wrong foot - but it will need

a "solution" before the bad weather hits us.

 

Thankyou for your reply.

OH nearly forgot I am not 100% sure if the single downpipe goes into a soakaway or a gulley/drain.

Some digging should clarify that.

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Unless the gutters have been altered, they should have passed building control when it was built.

 

Hello - Its an early 1900's house - one "pair" of gutters does not go into a downpipe - it is simply

connected via a short piece of pipe with an elbow onto the next "pair" of houses which has my daughter's

downpipe as the only outlet - its a 70mm diameter pipe. While increasing the diameter of the downpipe

would improve "flow rate" I do not think the actual guttering will cope with heavy downpours. One end section

of guttering is currently sagging where water enters probably due to the excessive weight of rainwater.

 

I do not think the guttering as currently configured woiuld pass any building control scrutiny.

 

Regards Vintageboy

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@f16, why are you assuming the rainwater goes into a soak away?

 

Because I'm a Builder with 35 years under my belt. .....

"If you can dream it ..... I've seen it " !!!

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vintageboy

 

Early 1900s was the start of cavity walls.

Are you sure it's cavity (stretcher bond)....

Or 9" work, solid. (Flemish bond or English garden wall bond)

 

You can tell because on "stretcher bond" you will only see the full length of a brick.

Thus cavity or "single skin".

 

On Solid 9" work you will see the end of a brick or "Header".

So on "Flemish bond". It will be "Stretcher, stretcher, stretcher,header".... (repeated)

On "English garden wall bond". It will be a course of "stretchers" then a course of "headers".

 

When you go there take photos of similar buildings and the gutters.

Also the "damp course" will most likely be slate. Take a photo of the ground level in relation to it.

 

If it's not raining get the hose out and put it in the "Down pipe".

 

Dig up a round the bottom of the "down pipe" and see where it goes. ....

 

My "bet" blocked soak away and yes "Over loaded" with volume of water.

 

Post up the photos and good luck.

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I do not think the guttering as currently configured woiuld pass any building control scrutiny.

 

Regards Vintageboy

 

Building Control will be unable to assist.

 

There will be little or no records.

 

Post up the photos. .... Take care.

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Building Control will be unable to assist.

 

There will be little or no records.

 

Post up the photos. .... Take care.

 

Hello - Thankyou for the information on the different building methods. I have only seen the house once and I had thought it was a cavity wall construction but I could well be wrong. My next visit is next weekend so I will examine the brick bond pattern and let you know.

If Building control cannot help with regards to the guttering who should my daughter contact if the neighbour refuses to take any action.? Is there a department within the local council that it would be worth approaching.?

Once I have visited I will take some pictures of the guttering of my daughter's neighbour and her own so you can see the problem. I am thinking of digging a new soakaway but that would not deal with the gutters being overloaded. The existing down pipes are approx 70mm diameter.

 

Regards Vintageboy

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Hello - Thankyou for the information on the different building methods. I have only seen the house once and I had thought it was a cavity wall construction but I could well be wrong. My next visit is next weekend so I will examine the brick bond pattern and let you know.

 

If Building control cannot help with regards to the guttering who should my daughter contact if the neighbour refuses to take any action.? Is there a department within the local council that it would be worth approaching.?

 

Once I have visited I will take some pictures of the guttering of my daughter's neighbour and her own so you can see the problem. I am thinking of digging a new soakaway but that would not deal with the gutters being overloaded. The existing down pipes are approx 70mm diameter.

 

 

 

Regards Vintageboy

 

 

 

 

If it comes to it, you could ask Environmental Health to take a look. If there is inadequate or defective drainage from a property, they have powers to get the responsible party to act.

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have a peek at the rest of the street, there will be a symmetry to it all if the terrace was built by a single developer. Pay particular notice to the front of the third house you mention, has the roof been replaced recently compared to the houses either side? Are there signs of a downpie being present in the past such as screw holes for the brackets or an area of altered brickwork at the bottom or a relatively recently altered paving/blockwork on the ground?

If so then someone has saved themselves a few bob and done a naughty alteration. This should be taken up with buildings control as it should have been inspected if alterations have been done in say, the last 30 years.

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have a peek at the rest of the street, there will be a symmetry to it all if the terrace was built by a single developer. Pay particular notice to the front of the third house you mention, has the roof been replaced recently compared to the houses either side? Are there signs of a downpie being present in the past such as screw holes for the brackets or an area of altered brickwork at the bottom or a relatively recently altered paving/blockwork on the ground?

If so then someone has saved themselves a few bob and done a naughty alteration. This should be taken up with buildings control as it should have been inspected if alterations have been done in say, the last 30 years.

 

Hello I think you are correct - one house further up the terrace shgould have a downpipe and drain/soakaway and there is none. I will have a good look next time I am there to see if there are screwholes. Looks like it might be down to Building control or Environmental health. Am I correct in assuming that both of these bodies have "enforcement" powers.?

 

Regards Vintageboy

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thankyou for your input - I think I will maybe excavate the soakaway/drain

and ask my daughter to contact some of the building/environmental people

in the local council. I feel much more informed and prepared for the next

step in the process - thankyou.

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Buildings control can enforce on alteration done in last 6 years but unless someone asked for permission to redo roof or the like it will be difficult to pin down as a simple denial of knowing anything about it will bat away the questioning. If permission was sought for works on that house then the inspector should have signed off and that makes the council liable if the work was inspected. All difficult to prove unless it is recent.

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I just contacted the local "Building Control" office at my daughter's local council

they say that they will not be interested in looking at issues involving guttering.

Apparently it is a civil matter and might be investigated by the Environmental

Health Department but only if there are two boxes ticked:

1. The guttering issue is a direct and identified "nuisance" to my daughter's property

2. That damp problems are directly related to issues connected with the neighbours

guttering.

 

The person I spoke to at building control said that I should maybe invest in larger (110mm) downpipes to cope with the larger volume of water. However it does not address the issue of illegality on the behalf of the neighbour. Also why should I have to replace fairly new guttering to suit someone else's selfish/nasty behaviour.?

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king12345.

 

110mm guttering /down pipes are normally specified for 3 storey buildings ..... Such as "blocks of flats" (introduced circa 1960)

 

In the OPs case. We are talking about a "turn of the century" (1900s) .

At this point in time everything was cast iron.

3" for rainwater and 6" for soil. (external dim's).

 

The "old" guttering" has been removed and replaced. ... Other neighbors have done the same but "dumped" their rainwater to the neighbor (because their soak away was blocked).

 

vintageboy,

 

You either have a blocked soak away OR the pipe leading from the "down pipe" too the soak a way.

I think you will find 2 houses to a "shared" soak a way.

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vintageboy,

 

Your post # 5. Is correct.

 

Others have "diverted" their "problem" to your daughters house.

There is NO way the existing system can cope.

 

Post up the photos. ....... Lots of "digging"

Good Luck.

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110mm downpipes?

They won't fit the standard gutter discharge and I've never seen a 110mm downpipe.

The 110mm pipes are for sewage discharge.

They're talking out of their derrière

 

I am not really that worried about the size of the gutter or the sewage.........

Really all I wanted to do was to canvas the members of the forum

on how to approach the issue of a neighbour of my daughter discharging

rainwater from their own guttering onto my daughter's guttering.

From my scant legal knowledge and research the issue is covered by the

Party Wall Act of 1996 and would have to be taken up as a civil matter

which might be aided by the local Environmental Health Department.

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