Leaking Drains

Until relatively recently, the method of constructing drainage around domestic buildings had changed very little since the Roman era. It involved the connection of short lengths of glazed stoneware pipes using organic seals covered with lime or cement. Because out of sight is very often out of mind, deterioration of the joints can lead to leaks.

The presence of leaking drains and the improper discharge of rainwater is the second most common cause of subsidence related damage to property. The degree of damage can vary enormously and will depend upon the geophysical property of the ground upon which the house is sited.
The most common occurrence is usually on sandy or silty ground when the water from the leak washes out the fine particles beneath the foundation causing voids which results in collapse or subsidence.
Alternatively, the continual leaking softens the ground in the area around the pipe, usually close to the house, and renders the ground incapable of supporting the weight of the house resulting in subsidence.

Although the age of the drain is usually indicative of susceptibility to leaking and that more modern methods using flexible joints are better it is by no means certain that leaks are likely … broken pipes or bad drain laying can be the cause.
Testing for leaks in drainage or proof of watertight operation is advisable if the pattern of superstructure damage suggests that leaks are occurring. This can either be done by applying a suitable pressure test or by observation from close circuit t.v. inspection.



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Subsidence Claims Advisory Bureau
9 Clevedon Road, Bexhill on Sea, East Sussex
TN39 4EL