Purchasing Property

If you are purchasing a property, or acting on behalf of someone who is purchasing a property, then you will be interested in how the property is supplied and whether there are any water pipes crossing the property. We recommend customers request a CON29DW drainage and water search. This can be arranged through your solicitor and/or Wessex Searches.

Access to our pipework

There is legislation to ensure that we can have access to our pipework, so that we can carry out repairs when required. It is the responsibility of the current owner to ensure we have access to our pipes, even if it was the previous owner had had obstructed access. We will normally give you an opportunity to pay for us to divert a water main, if it is feasible to do so. However, we are able to take legal action to remove structures that have been erected over our mains e.g. garages, extension or conservatories.

Joint supplies

The Water Industry Act (1991) has provision to reduce the the number of joint supply pipes, because of the increased demand that was being placed upon them. If the supplies were connected or converted after the Act, Bristol Water can require that all of the following must have an independent supply pipe connected directly to our network:

  • Newly developed properties that are capable of separate occupation.
  • Every part (e.g. flat or commercial unit) of a newly converted property that is capable of separate occupation.
  • Separately occupied parcels of land which have been created by a larger premise being sold in sections. Properties or water fittings (e.g. animal troughs) on either side of the boundary cannot, therefore, remain on the same supply after the sale.

Joint supplies tend to be discovered when the new owner or occupier of a property asks us for a water bill or a meter or reports low or poor pressure.

When an unauthorised connection is discovered, we will serve the owner of developer of the property with a statutory notice to separate the supplies within three months. If the notice is ignored, we can undertake the work required and recover the cost from the owner or developer directly or through the Magistrates’ Court.

Owners may be able to claim the cost of separating the supplies from their conveyancing solicitor, if they failed to undertake the relevant searches.