Water Mains Pipes Confusion (13.11.2017)

Water Mains Supply Pipes

Recently we had a large water mains supply pipe burst in the grounds of one of our sites. The first question the client asked is, “Shouldn’t this be down to the water supply company?” Unfortunately not. As soon as the water supply crosses into private land, any breakages, splits or problems are down to the land owner, or leaseholders as in our case.

Please see this helpful diagram as illustrated by Bournemouth Water:

There are several considerations here, firstly it is worth considering how long ago was the site developed, as older sites will have older pipe work which could cause a problem. Secondly do you have any pump stations or other non-standard waterworks? All of these questions and resultant answers should dictate the amounts in your budget and more importantly what you may need in a reserve fund to cater for any problems in the future.

It is worth noting that most modern sites use flexible pipework, whereas older sites used cast iron pipes which are susceptible to fracture by root damage or a shift in the ground.

Payment of Repairs

OK who pays? Well that depends on what is in your lease but generally it will be the service charge or reserve fund which has to cover the cost of repairs. What about Insurance I hear you say? This is certainly an option as well but it is worth reminding you that with any insurance cover, you need to make sure these sorts of things are covered, which typically they are. In relation to any claim, you will need to prove a specific peril, such as root damage, ground shift or other incident which has taken place to cause this problem as wear and tear is not always covered in respect to underground water pipes.

The first stage of any claim is to meet with the loss adjuster on-site, who may well authorise exploratory excavations to ascertain the cause of the breakage. The results of that will dictate the next steps.

We provide a complimentary claims management service for all of our clients, working closely with our aligned brokers and underwriters to take the pressure off the client and leaseholders in the event of any insurance claim both big and small. If you have any questions about private water mains or insurance questions, please Contact Us at any time.