Understanding problems with underground drains can be very difficult when you can’t see what the cause is. What can initially seem like a simple blocked drain could actually be a partially collapsed drain or a tree root breaking through into the drain.
Although you may be able to clear the blockage temporarily, the damage will continue to worsen, and you may be forced to pay for costly and disruptive excavations to completely repair or replace the drain.
If you are selling or buying a property, the only way to fully know the state of its drains (and your potential costs or liabilities) is to have a CCTV survey conducted.
Rats can cause considerable disruption and problems for both homeowners and business owners, and controlling them can incur considerable time and money. Damaged or redundant drain lines are a common way for rats to enter a property; a CCTV survey can identify any access points and how they can be blocked up.
A professional CCTV survey of drains can give an immediate understanding of what exactly the problem is. A waterproof camera at the end of a flexible rod is sent down the length of the drain, with images sent and recorded live on site by the operator.
The operator can see any immediate damage to, or obstructions blocking the drains and begin planning a response. Surveys typically take up to two hours to conduct from start to finish.
A more detailed study of the footage will then be done off-site and will form part of a recommendations report provided to the customer, along with copies of the footage.
The customer can then commission repairs and renovations based on the survey, with that information making any repairs more efficient and appropriate to the problem.
A basic survey starts at around £180 (generally comprising a full drain survey of a standard domestic property. High pressure water jetting can be done after the survey at extra cost).
Additional surveys can be conducted if necessary (and may be required if the property is particularly large), but typically the initial survey will identify any issues.
As part of the review, additional works and actions will be identified, with the CCTV survey provider being able to recommend and quote for any additional work required to fix the drains.
Having a CCTV survey is particularly valuable when buying or selling a property. A potential buyer could face thousands of pounds worth of repairs in addition to the cost of acquiring the property, so its a good idea to ask the seller if they have had a professional CCTV survey conducted.
Likewise sellers should strongly consider having a survey done in anticipation of the buyer using the condition of drains as a bargaining chip during negotiations.
I personally conducted a CCTV drainage survey for a customer who was in the process of purchasing a property. The survey identified thousands of pounds worth of repairs needed to the drains, information which was used in the customer’s favour when negotiating the final sale price.
If a survey had occurred after the purchase (or indeed, not at all), then the customer could have faced extensive costs and disruption.
CCTV surveys are the most effective and efficient way to identify and address drainage problems. Before their introduction, understanding the conditions of drains was often guesswork, and represented a risk for those buying or selling a property.
Having a survey, combined with cleaning of the drains can provide reassurance to both buyers and sellers, with the survey footage incontrovertible proof of the condition of the drains.
CCTV surveys are fast becoming standard practice, so having one conducted before any sale or purchase of property begins is a wise move.
As the old saying goes; prevention is better than cure, and when it comes to drains, much less expensive. Having an annual CCTV survey allows problems to be identified before they escalate and incur significant expense.
Annual surveys (combined with drain cleaning) are particularly recommended for commercial properties that have heavy usage of their drainage systems (i.e. hotels and restaurants).
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