Options for Communal Rainwater Soakaways

6 September 2021
by Debabrata Paul

We are considering buying a new build property with a communal rainwater soakaway in the back garden that connects 3 other properties. A couple of questions...
1. What is the maintenance requirements for soakaways?
2. How to get into an agreement with the neighbours for shared maintenance to avoid issues in future? Note, this is a new build and other plots are yet to be sold.
3. Would it be illegal to disallow discharge from other properties in future if maintenance of the soakaway become difficult.

One Answer

  1. Andy Butchers says:


    To answer your questions:

    1. Under the Building Regulations, no maintenance is required as, theoretically, these are normally a “sealed” or covered system and by their very nature, will need no maintenance

    2. A lawyer should be able to draft up “maintenance” covenant for each property. I suggest if the soakaway is too small given the number of properties attached to it, then it would flood back though the gullies and then worthy of investigation.

    3. Difficult question to answer here bearing in mind 2. The soakaway would have been sized for the current properties (percolation testing etc ). So, any new additions would have to be justified and that will be very difficult so it always ends up being a new soakaway.

    Andy Butchers (Building Surveyor, Build-Zone Survey Services)

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