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What is a Pre-Purchase Drain Survey?

What is a Pre-Purchase Drain Survey?

If you are planning on buying a property, there are a few things that are advisable to have surveyed prior to the completion of the sale. Roof inspections, plumbing surveys, electrical testing and central heating checks are all quite commonplace, but one type of inspection often overlooked is a pre-purchase drain survey.

If you are a first-time buyer you may never have considered a pre-purchase drain survey, and it isn’t a requirement for normal home-buying surveys, but without one, you may be unaware of problems that aren’t noticeable from a visual inspection or from above ground, and a fault in your drainage system can be expensive to sort out after a purchase goes through.

Commercial property drainage systems, as well as domestic dwellings, should undergo a pre-purchase CCTV drain survey as unexpected problems will not only be an added expense to your business account but may mean downtime for your staff too.

Equally, if you are purchasing a property on a buy to let basis, a pre-purchase drain survey will allow you to keep a record for the future. This could be invaluable if a problem or dispute occurs after your tenants have moved in.


Managing Problems

Sometimes problems with drains are relatively simple to resolve, perhaps a build-up of debris simply needs a rod pushed into the drain to clear it.

Other problems are more difficult to manage. Cracked drains, or ones that have been damaged by root growth underground, may need to be replaced entirely or in sections, meaning you’ll require a full excavation. Old fat that has been poured down the sink can congeal and need specialist high pressure water jets inserted into the drain to clear it away.

The trouble with many of these measures is the cost involved. Therefore, any problems with the drainage system should be known by the buyer so that they are reflected in the price which is being offered.

A pre-purchase survey of the drains may identify a potential problem area which will mean that the property has been overvalued by the seller. This is valuable knowledge for any potential buyer as it could save thousands of pounds and a lot of hassle in the future.



It is worth remembering that a pre-purchase drain survey could not only save you money with the asking price of a property, but with mortgage repayments as well. It is not in a mortgage lender’s interests to lend money for the purchase of a home that is overvalued, including an overvaluation that is down to an uninspected drain.

Because of this, some mortgage lenders will insist upon a pre-purchase drain survey ahead of confirming their offer.

Conducting one could mean you are able to get a more competitive mortgage deal, on the basis of less risk, with the result that your repayments are less.


How to book a pre-purchase drain survey

To book a pre-purchase drain survey contact Express Clear, and they will be able to arrange a time and date suitable for your estate agents. Remember that a potential buyer usually needs to bear the cost, unless the seller has a recent independent survey that they can provide for you.

You will need to arrange proper access with the seller, but this is usually little more than permission to access the drain via an inspection hole.

Surveys do not take a long time to carry out. The operative uses a non-invasive technique of passing a specialist CCTV drain survey camera into the drainage system. The inside of the drain can then be viewed in real-time to identify the signs of damage, such as cracks, soil ingress and debris build-up.

A recording is usually made to a DVD or computer file. This means a permanent record can be kept to back up any adjustment in the price you offer to the seller following the survey.


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