Drain repair and maintenance Back to Blog

Drain repair and maintenance

Drain repair and maintenance

If you need to carry out work on your drains, then you will be pleased to know that in general you do not need planning permission for any minor repairs or maintenance. Drains are classed as permitted development and therefore homeowners are free to carry out work within certain boundaries.

The different types of drain

There are two types of drainage system that form part of a home: ‘foul’ drainage and ‘surface water’ drainage. These two types of drain are usually kept apart for environmental reasons. Both of these types of drain feature over-ground and underground elements which in order to function correctly, may require maintenance yearly.

You are free to carry out maintenance and repair work on your drainage system without planning permission, so long as your property is not listed and the drain does not form part of a private sewer.

Drains differ to sewers: drains usually serve one property, whereas private sewers serve several properties. Private sewers are owned by the properties they serve. Public sewers are owned by the sewage undertaker.

Drains in listed buildings

When a building is listed, it is listed in its entirety, and therefore drains are protected. We recommend that you contact your Local Planning Authority to establish whether you will need listed building consent to carry out any work planned.

It is highly likely that if work involves general maintenance and repair that listed building consent will not be needed, so long as like for like materials are used. If however your proposed work involves the moving of drains or creating a new drain, then you will likely need listed building consent.

Drains that are not part of your home

We strongly recommend that prior to carrying out any work on drains that do not form part of your home you seek the approval of the drain owner. Clarifying ownership and responsibility should be done before carrying out any maintenance along with establishing any standards and legislation. This is to safeguard yourself from any legal and remedial action against you.

For more information on drains and planning permission, please visit The Planning Portal.


The information contained within this article is strictly for guidance only.  Cost2Build recommends that you always check current sources of information in case regulations have changed. Cost2Build cannot accept any liability for miscommunication of the law in the case of a change in regulation or any action done to a property based on the information held in this article.

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