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Transfer of private sewer regulations 2011

New laws, which came into force in October 2011, have seen many private drains transfer to the ownership of a water authority. This means that a drain crossing your property, which was previously private, may now be a public sewer. Generally, the transfer applies to any drain which serves more than one property.

The advantage to a householder of the change is that the water authority will now be responsible for any repairs or maintenance to that drain. However, the water authority may impose restrictions on you if you are planning building works.

In terms of the building regulations, nothing changes initially because the legal requirement in the regulations refers to drains which are shown on a map of sewers. The newly transferred drains are not yet shown on the water authority map of sewers and so not subject to the regulations, though this may change gradually. We would still advise, however, that you contact the water authority before carrying out any work within three metres of a drain if it has transferred to their ownership.

For further information on the transfer of existing sewers, visit the Water UK website.

Adoption of new drains

A further part of the sewer transfer legislation came into force in October 2012 affecting new drainage installations within Welsh Water’s operational area.

If as part of any new development you are installing drains which meet the criteria for public sewers described above (for example, any drain or part of a drain serving more than one property) then this drainage will in all cases be adopted by Welsh Water when complete.

In these circumstances you must by law enter into a formal adoption agreement with Welsh Water before any part of the drain is installed.

We, therefore, advise developers to engage with Welsh Water at the earliest opportunity to avoid delays and/or enforcement action.

For further information on the new sewer adoption procedures along with contact details, visit Welsh Water’s changes to sewer adoption and connection page.

If your property or site is not within Welsh Water’s operational area then this October 2012 legislation does not yet apply, but is expected to come into force across the rest of England during the first half of 2013.

Implementing the Domestic Fire Safety (Wales) Measure 2011

The Welsh Assembly as launched a consultation on proposed regulations to make sprinklers and fire suppression systems compulsory in new and converted homes.

The consultation ends on the 17th June 2013

In February 2011, the National Assembly for Wales passed the Domestic Fire Safety (Wales) Measure 2011. This Measure enables the assembly to introduce regulations to make automatic fire suppression systems compulsory in all new and converted homes.

Regulations for this will be introduced in September 2013.

What are the assembly proposing?

The proposal to make changes to Part B of the Building Regulations,  and to set out the required technical standards in a revision to Building Regulations Approved Document Part B Volumes 1 and 2.

This consultation contains proposals for:

  • commencing section 1 of the Measure, requiring that each residence (to which the Measure applies) must be provided with an automatic fire suppression system, and that the system is operating effectively
  • changes to the Building Regulations introducing a new regulation to meet the requirement of the Measure
  • changes to volumes 1 and 2 of the Approved Documents Part B

Building Control system and Approved Document supporting regulation 7

The Welsh Assembly as launched a consultation on Building (Approved Inspector etc) Regulations 2010, Warranty Link Rule and amendments to the Approved Document supporting regulation 7 (Materials and workmanship).

The consultation ends on the 21st June 2013

The Building Regulations control certain types of building work and ensure that buildings meet certain standards for:

  • health
  • safety
  • welfare
  • convenience
  • sustainability.

The assembly proposes to:

To make changes to the Approved Inspectors regulations to reduce the burdens associated with them and have identified the following changes that would assist both Approved Inspectors and local authorities:

i. Remove the need for Approved Inspectors to send a copy of their approval certificate and certificate of insurance to the local authority with every Initial Notice. Instead the approval body (the Construction Industry Council) will hold this information on an existing publicly-accessible register

ii. Ensure all the definitions are up-to-date and make a few clarifications for ease of interpretation

Amend Approved Document 7 to clarify that the declarations of performance and CE marking required under the EU Regulation will become the main source of information on the performance characteristics of construction products from July 2013. They will also take this opportunity to change the format of the document and propose other minor changes to the Approved Document. No changes are proposed to Regulation 7 itself.

Other minor changes such as removing the guidance on resistance to moisture and substances in the subsoil as this is now included in Approved Document C and also examples of materials susceptible to changes in their properties as durability testing is now an established element of testing such products.

Its propose to change the format and revise the Approved Document supporting Regulation 7 for Wales to come into force on the * July 2013.

Remove the Warranty Link Rule being applicable to Approved Inspectors in Wales, this is because since the 6th April 2013 in England all Approved Inspectors are no longer required to check if new dwellings are registered with a designated warranty scheme provider before undertaking the building control function on building work involving the creation by new build or conversion of any new dwellings for private sale or renting.


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