Building over a sewer

If you're planning any type of development, building something new or extending an existing building, you should check the location of the public sewers to make sure that there's nothing underground that could be affected. Our property searches team will help you with this enquiry.

If you want to build over or close to ('close to' usually means within 3 metres of) one of our public sewers or lateral drains, you need our approval to do this, even if they are located on your land. It's worth noting that there are some pipes which we'll never allow to be built over, such as critical sewers, so it's definately worth finding out what's under the ground before you begin to develop.

Building close to or over a public sewer without getting our approval could also jeapardise the future sale of your property. Even if you've been granted planning permission for your proposed development, this doesn't grant approval for you to build over or close to the public sewer. 

We have to make sure that all of our pipes are protected from any potential damage that development may cause so that they can continue to provide the service they're designed for. It's also really important that we can access our pipes for maintenance and repair.

Building Control Bodies (Local Authority Building Control departments and/or Independent Approved Inspectors) work with us in what we call our 'Building Over Protocol', to let us know when a sewer may be impacted by development.

We hear about most potential 'build overs' through Building Control Bodies, however there are some types of developments that are not covered by building regulations, eg some conservatories.

If you are planning a development that will not fall under building regulations and you think that there may be a public sewer on site, then please complete our Building over enquiry form or Building over enquiry form pdf and email to so that we can advise you on the best way forward.

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