For some people, having an extension built on their home is an exciting project. For others, it is a necessity to meet the needs of their day-to-day lives. People have an extension built to create more space in their house or to have a room that serves a particular purpose. Although it can be exciting, it is essential that every aspect of the extension is done properly to prevent problems in the future. One element that you must take particular care with is the drainage.
Planning your drainage system at the initial stages of building an extension is essential. It will manage the water effectively and avoid problems further down the line. Above ground drainage is fairly simple to work out. It is the underground drainage that can cause a problem. There are usually three options.
- The first is to attempt to work out the current underground drainage system yourself by lifting manhole covers. Unless you have experience and are reasonably confident, this is probably not the best method to use.
- The second option is to apply for plans from the council. The main disadvantage of doing this is that the plans are usually from when the house was built and may have changed.
- The final option is to use a surveyor. Although this is the most expensive option, it is the one that is likely to get you the best results.
There are two main types of water management systems. The first is for surface water and the second is for foul water. Surface water drainage takes surface water, such as rainwater, away from your home to the nearest canal or river. Foul water drainage removes dirty, used water from your home. This takes water from your shower, washing machine and toilet to the nearest sewer. In modern properties, the systems are always separate but in some old properties this is not the case. While it is acceptable for surface water to run into the foul water drainage system, it should never happen the other way around.
There is an increased interest in using what is known as greywater. This involves a system that reuses water that has already been used for activities that do not necessarily need fresh, clean, drinking water. After being used, the water is stored in tanks and is then available for tasks such as flushing the toilet or watering the garden. This method cuts the use of expensive, and increasingly precious, drinking water. If you are interested in ecological systems and saving water, then this is an option you should consider.
Regulations and planning
It is important to seek professional advice if you need to make changes to the current underground drainage system as in some circumstances you may need permission to do so. It is likely that a building inspector will pay a visit to make sure you are adhering to the regulations outlined in Part H of schedule 1 in the Building Regulations.
Sometimes you will not always need an entirely new drainage system. Modifications to the current guttering, pipes and underground drainage will suffice. The easiest modifications are to surface water drainage, as you can easily link new sections to the existing ones. Underground drainage is little trickier and there are two important rules to follow. The first is that drains must always run downhill and the second is that it must be possible to unblock the drains. If your modifications are drastic enough that they require additional junctions and chambers, then it is best to get a professional to take a look and give you advice.
If you are planning on building an extension, then planning and seeking the appropriate professional advice is essential. You will need to consider both surface water drainage and underground drainage in your plans. Make sure you are adhering to regulations and consider using a grey water system to reduce your consumption of treated water.