An engineer carrying out a CCTV Drain survey inspection on a residential property.


It’s always a thrill, isn’t it? The anticipation of embarking on a new construction project. The thrill of breaking ground, of seeing your vision take shape. But before you rush in, there’s a crucial step you need to take – a build-over survey.
Why so? What is it? Think of it as a safety net. A way to avoid potential pitfalls and complications. It’s particularly important if your project is near a local authority sewer. This is about not just your property, but also about safeguarding the public infrastructure.
This blog is your guide, your compass. It’ll help you navigate the tricky waters of a build-over survey. We’ll delve into the what, the why, and the how. So, sit back, read on, and equip yourself with knowledge. After all, knowledge is power.


What is a ‘Build Over’ Survey?

Let’s start from the beginning. A ‘build over’ survey – what is it? It’s an examination, a check. It seeks to establish the presence, condition, and exact position of any sewer lines or drains that lie within your proposed construction site.
It matters. You might think, I’ve done my due diligence, I’ve checked the plans. But here’s the catch – plans can be outdated, inaccurate. A build-over survey gives you certainty, an accurate picture.
Don’t underestimate it. This survey serves to protect you, the sewer, and ultimately, the local community. It provides vital information needed to ensure that your building project does not negatively impact the safety, function, and accessibility of the sewer.


What are the Potential Risks of Building Near a Sewer?

Now, why so much fuss about building near sewers? The concern lies in three chief risks.

  1. First, there’s the risk of damaging the sewer during construction. Heavy machinery, digging – these could cause unintended harm.

  2. Second, there’s the risk to the stability of your building. If not properly accounted for, sewers could undermine your foundation.

  3. Finally, there’s the risk to the functionality of the sewer. Your construction could restrict access, hamper the sewer’s performance.
But wait, there’s more. If any damage occurs, you could be held legally responsible. You might have to bear the drain repair costs. In extreme cases, you might even face legal action.
The risks are real. They are significant. But don’t worry. A build-over survey is your safeguard, your defence.


What Are the Legal Requirements for a Build Over Survey?


Understanding the Law

The legalities surrounding a build-over survey are clear cut. The survey is mandated by the Water Industry Act 1991. This act states that no construction should take place within 3 meters of a public sewer without the consent of the local water authority.

Consent and Approval

Getting the consent involves conducting the build-over survey. The survey results must then be submitted to the local water authority for approval. Only after obtaining this approval, you proceed with your building project.


Penalties for Non-compliance

Failing to comply with these legal requirements can result in hefty fines. It can also lead to a ceased construction and even a court-ordered demolition.


What Does a Build Over Survey Include?

The build-over survey – what goes into it? It’s a thorough process. It involves a ground survey, a drain inspection, and a sewer examination.
The ground survey maps the area, locates the sewer lines. The drain inspection looks at the condition, functionality of the drains. The sewer examination delves deeper, checks the structure, the stability.
All these inspections – they come together in a detailed report. This report becomes the basis for your construction planning. It’s the document you submit for approval.


How Long Does a Build Over Survey Take?

The duration depends on three variables.

  1. First, the size of your property. Bigger property, more time. It’s as simple as that.

  2. Second, the complexity of the sewer network. If the network is intricate, the survey takes longer.

  3. Lastly, the condition of the sewer and drains. If they’re in poor condition, expect a longer survey.
To give you a ballpark figure, it usually takes a day. But, it’s always good to allow for some contingency.
Remember, the timeline is crucial. Plan ahead. Build it into your project schedule.


How Much Does a Build Over Survey Cost?

The cost of a build-over survey is an essential consideration. But, it’s not straightforward. It varies depending on multiple factors.
The scope of the survey is a key determinant. Are you looking at a small portion of the sewer or the entire network? The broader the scope, the higher the cost.
But consider this – it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind. It’s a worthy investment to avoid potential setbacks, expensive repairs, and legal hassles.


What Are the Benefits of Completing a Build Over Survey?

The benefits of a build-over survey are manifold. It gives you certainty. It gives you legal clearance. It gives you a clearer picture of your construction project.
The survey helps you plan better. It helps you avoid potential pitfalls. It might even help you save costs in the long run.
So, don’t look at it as a hurdle, an inconvenience. See it as an opportunity. An opportunity to build smarter, safer.


What Happens if a Build Over Survey Is Not Completed?

Skipping the build-over survey – it’s a risk. You’re opening yourself up to potential liabilities. Damages, legal action, even demolition.
Ignorance is not bliss, not in this case. You might think, I’ll take my chances. But trust me, it’s not worth it.
So, be wise. Make the build-over survey a part of your initial planning. Make it a priority.



And there you have it, a comprehensive guide to navigating a build-over survey. Knowledge is your first step. The next step is action.
Find a reputable surveyor. Conduct the survey. Get the approval. Then, and only then, embark on your construction project.
Building is an exciting journey. But like any journey, it’s important to start on the right foot. The build-over survey is that right start.
So, embrace it, leverage it. Here’s to a successful, hassle-free construction project!

Important Notice
Avoid Court Proceedings, Fines & Possible Prosecution

Get A CCTV Drain Survey Before & After Your Building Project and Remember, Obtain The Correct Permissions For Build Over.