Water Main replacement at boundary

  Admiral Allstar 17:18 21 Aug 2010


A question for the forum. I have a shared water supply with my neighbour. I am going to replace my pipework up to the boundary and wish to connect to the water pipe supplied at the boundary. However, the pipe is an old steel pipe which is rusty and will (in my plumbers opinion) not be suitable for connecting into.

Given that the water company is responsible for the provision of the pipe to my mains and I wish to connect to their pipe at my boundary, who will have to pay for a new pipe to be provided at my boundary on the street side?

My water company are claiming it is my responsibility to pay. I dispute this as they are not providing a suitable pipe for me to connect to. Who would the forum members agree with?


  zzzz999 17:34 21 Aug 2010

Given its the mains supply does it need to be the water company that does the connecting? And, if it isn't it might still be worthwhile (given the supposed state of the pipe) asking and paying them to do it rather than a private plumber

  octal 17:38 21 Aug 2010

It sounds like this can get complicated, what about having a word with Ofwat and see what their take is on it?
click here

  spuds 17:40 21 Aug 2010

A tricky one, but the water company is usually responsible from the 'boundary line' stop cock. Any connections to that, from the property (private land) would be your or property owners responsibility.

Its a wonder that the water company hasn't tried to recommend fitting a water meter, in which case they may usually fit the meter for free!.

Be warned that fitting old, especially if its pre 1960's, to new may have its headaches, so make sure you have the correct fittings. If its really old property, then it may still have lead piping with solder joints.

  Forum Editor 18:34 21 Aug 2010

it is the water company's job to provide a supply to your boundary, the main from that point to the house is your liability.

Different areas have different conventions, but in the London area most people are finding that the water companies are installing meters on the pavement outside their houses. Some of the supplies are already metered, and some of the meters are simply installed, waiting for the day when metered charging starts. That's the case for me - there's a meter in the street, but we don't yet pay for our water on a metered basis.

Where a meter is in place the connection to it is via a plastic connecting stub, and the water company is responsible for making the connection between your main and the meter. If you replace your main you must pay for the connection. Whether it's done by your water company or by your own contractor is for you to decide, but if you do it the water company will usually want to come and inspect the connection before you close the trench - this is to ensure that there's no possibility of a leak, and a consequential loss of water.

It's extremely unusual to run an underground water main in iron piping, it's almost always in lead if it's an old main, or blue polypropylene if it's a modern pipe. Your new pipe should be in blue polypropylene, and you should instruct your contractor to run 25mm pipe - you'll get a better flow rate. There are special push-fit connectors for making couplings between lead pipe and plastic meter stubs, and between two lengths of plastic pipe. Make sure you know which diameter lead pipe you're connecting to/from - they vary in size, and you need the right fitting.

  jakimo 19:01 21 Aug 2010

If you share a water pipe with a neighbour you are jointly responsible for that pipe. If you then want your own connection to the main you may have to pay for this.

  spuds 12:50 22 Aug 2010

Regarding the metal pipe, watch out for this around the house, because it can be a previous diy job or as used in many properties a metal 'gas pipe'. Metal pipes (wrought or copper) are still used externally in many buildings for gas.

We have had an area replacement project for the gas mains, and the piping consisted of wrought iron or cast iron pipes. Some of it was on its last legs, so the replacement project was not before time!.

In the above, the utility company contractor's did the replacement pipes to the meter, whether the meter was inside or outside the property. Before the meter theirs, after the meter the property owners. In my case they repositioned the meter to an exterior location "because they had trouble with the old underground pipes".The extension was copper pipe and now a possibly safety hazard!. Nothing like a bonus scheme for faster work.

  Admiral Allstar 16:24 22 Aug 2010

Thanks for all the responses.

I have dug out the pipe coming into my property and it is rusty all along. I am hoping the water company change their mind about them footing the bill for providing me with a suitable pipe to connect to - if i simply connect at my boundary and their pipe fails then I am definately not paying to get them to replace their pipe. A call to ofwat is in order in the morning i think.

I will let you know how I get on.

  ronalddonald 17:33 22 Aug 2010

Even if the water company decides to do the plumbing, they will include the cost in your water bill.

  Forum Editor 18:17 22 Aug 2010

It's normal procedure to put gas meters in external locations when any replacement work is done, and normal for pipework from the meter to be run in copper pipe.

It is not normal however, to run copper pipe to the meter - nowadays underground gas mains must be in yellow polypropylene pipe as far as the meter.

  Forum Editor 18:23 22 Aug 2010

it is very unusual, and should certainly be replaced. The problem will arise when you come to connect to the boundary stopcock - if it has a connection to an iron pipe this will be a threaded union, and you will not be able to make a suitable connection from your new polypropylene pipe. The water company will need to replace the stopcock - you must not attempt to do this, as the stopcock isn't your property, and you are not permitted to work beyond your side of it.

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