The Cost of Moving a Drain

Last updated 11th November 2019

All you need to know about what's involved if you want to have a drain moved, including costs of materials, labour and time frames.

Cost of Moving a Drain

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A complete guide to moving a drain

Drains and manhole covers are probably not something that we give much thought to. However, if you want to extend your kitchen or build a conservatory, you may have a drain that needs to move before work can get underway. If you are thinking about moving a drain, read this useful guide to learn about what you can expect if you decide to relocate your drain.

What is involved in moving a drain?

It is a surprisingly common problem. You are in the middle of planning your new, exciting kitchen extension or conservatory when you realise that there will be an unsightly drain or manhole cover in the midst of the space. You don’t want a drain or manhole cover in your revamped kitchen or newly-built conservatory so you are now tasked with the challenge of moving the drain to a location outside of the area that you plan to build on.

How do you relocate a drain or manhole cover? Moving a drain can be a little more complicated than it may seem. We are so used to seeing drains and manhole covers that it is easy to forget that drains lead to complex networks of sewers, so moving a drain may need to involve your local water authority.

What should you expect if you are planning to move a drain?

Depending on the type of drain that you have, the process to move your drain could be lengthy, so it will save a lot of hassle to be clear about the steps involved from the start. Moving your drain will mean that your drainage system will need to be rebuilt in the new location. Easy right? Unfortunately not.

We forget that drains are long networks that can run deep underground. It can be surprisingly difficult to get the depth of a new drainage system right. If the new drainage system is not positioned at the right depth, both you and your neighbours could face long-term drainage issues.

Worse still, you will also need to begin the process of seeking permission to do the work all over again. A costly mistake that you will want to avoid.

As a result, any work to move your drain is governed by UK building regulations and your local water authority. In most cases, you will need to seek permission from your local water authority if you want to move a drain. Depending on your location and the size of the drain this itself will be between £200 and up to £1300.

According to UK Building Regulation H4, if you are building within 3m of a public sewer or lateral drain, you will need to get approval from your local water authority before you can carry out the work.

What does this mean for you? It means that the first thing you will need to do is to contact your local water authority to find out what type of drain you have. Many drains are connected to multiple properties, forming a common drain. These common drains are controlled by the local water authority and many more building regulations.

To seek permission from your local water authority to move a drain you will need to make an application in the first instance. Many local water authorities have severe restrictions on the type of work that can be done. If the work is approved under a build over agreement, you will have to adhere to the terms of the agreement. Contact your local water authority for further information.

During the work to move your drain, you will find that you may need further tradesmen, such as a landscaper or gardener to repair any damage. You will want to include these additional jobs when working out the overall price for your project.

This job can get costly and complex. Additionally, there are the potential dangers of flooding from inadequate drainage. It would be advisable to leave this to trained and experienced specialists. Make sure that your drainage specialist is fully equipped to do the work and has a thorough understanding of your drainage system.

Remember that before you can carry out any work, you are very likely to need to seek approval from your local water authority. This process can take many months and you will incur costs that will increase your final budget.

Things can go wrong when you are relocating a drain, so there is a possibility that you may experience higher costs from the approval process or need to employ additional tradesman, Thus, it would be wise to budget for the possibility of these events whilst you are considering the overall price.

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How much does it cost to move a drain?

The average cost of moving a drain is around £1500 - £7500, dependant on the type of drainage system that you have. There are many factors affecting the cost of relocating a drain including the distance, size of the drain and the surrounding land.

Another varying factor of your overall costs will be the fees charged by your local authority. The application fee for building near a drainage system varies a lot depending on your location. How much the application costs depends on the diameter of your sewer pipe. The larger the diameter the more the fee typically. Whether the property is residential or commercial also has an effect on this fee.

You must also consider the costs involved with the project overall. You may need landscaping and gardening work to restore the land where the drain has been moved to and from.

Your drainage specialist will usually work at a cost of around £150 per day.

Below are some estimated prices for hiring a drain specialist to move your drain:

Description Avg. Cost Duration
Drainage survey and mapping £300-£400 3-4 hours
Application to build near drain £200-£1300 Dependant on local authority
Build a soakaway underneath lawn/driveway £700-£1000 1-2 days
Relocating drain from main sewage supply £4000-£5000 5-8 days


Cost Breakdown Calculator For Moving a Drain

Individual costs of relocating a drain from the main supply - Total Cost: £4500

50%

Materials
£2250

40%

Tradesmen
£1800

10%

Waste Removal
£450

FAQ's

Building over a drain cover will require permission from your local water authority. Drains are part of complex sewage networks that involve more than just your home. If you want to build over your drain there will be many building regulations that must be followed. This can be a lengthy process. Contact your local water authority for further information.
Most home insurance does not cover damage to the sewer line unless it is through general wear and tear brought on by the age of the pipes.
PVC is popular because it is so durable. Some PVC pipes may last longer than 100 years. As a general estimate, you can expect the average PVC to last around 50 to 70 years.
Although PVC is a robust material, the constant flow of water through PVC pipes can cause them to deteriorate over time. The water that we use contains chemicals from water treatment and spray foam, different levels of acidity or alkalinity and zinc from metal pipes in other areas of the network.

All of these elements can combine to create Hydrolytic Degradation, ie. the deterioration of your PVC piping. If your PVC piping is damaged, there are epoxy coatings, pipe liners and more that can be used to repair your pipes.

Ultimately, PVC is the most popular material for home waste line pipes and drains, so the possibility of deterioration should be considered within the context of the long life of the material.
A typical soakaway can be built for around £700 - £1000. The size and shape of your soakaway, as well as the characteristics of the soil will affect the cost of the work. Additionally, if you are planning to have the soakaway installed underneath your lawn or a driveway, this will increase your costs further.
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