Leaking pipes are no fun but finding out that the damage lies on your turf, and is therefore your responsibility can be a huge shock. It’s useful to understand the ins and outs of the pipe system so if you encounter a leak (touch wood you don’t), you aren’t caught out!
There are three different kinds of pipes; water mains, communication pipes, and supply pipes.
Water mains are the large pipes that distribute the water supply around the system. These mains are often laid under roads and land under your property and the surrounding area.
Communication pipes (the clue is in the name) carry supply from the water mains to the boundaries of properties. The communication pipe ends at your stop tap. All pipe work up to the stop tap is the responsibility of the water wholesaler. So if there is a leak on the mains or communication pipes, then you can contact us or your water wholesaler to report this.
Supply pipes are the smaller pipes that carry water supply from the main system into your property. These pipes run from your external stop tap directly to your property and are your responsibility. So if there’s a leak on the supply pipes – this means it is on your property and you will need to contact a plumber to come and have a look at it, you can find a trusted local plumber here – www.watersafe.org.uk.
Just to complicate matters, there are also shared pipes. These are more common in older properties and are shared with your neighbours. Because these pipes are shared, they can reduce water flow if both parties are using pipes at the same time and may need replacing with separate service pipes. If you have a leak on your shared supply pipe, the responsibility for getting it fixed depends on where the leak is located along the pipe – you can see our diagram below for more information on this!
So all in all, there are a lot of different pipes that fall under the responsibilities of different parties! Our diagram below should help you clarify which pipes fall under the responsibility of the water company and which pipes fall under the responsibility of the property owner. If you do suspect a water leak, turn off all the taps and if you can still hear running water or your meter dial is still spinning round quickly, then it’s likely that you have a leak and it is time to call out a plumber. If you need any help or advice on your pipes then feel free to get in touch.
This shows a simple individual supply pipe, any leak on here is your responsibility.
If the leak is as shown then it is both yours and Business A’s responsibility.
This is a shared supply pipe, if the leak is in the position indicated it would be your responsibility.
Finally if the leak is as shown here it is all three businesses responsibility.