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Discuss A Nightmare - Confusion Between Homeserve & Thames Water - Advice & Help Needed! in the Water Regulations area at

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  1. Bazzy

    Bazzy Guest

    Hi All,

    This is a bit of a convoluted issue so please bear with me as I am not a trade professional & apologies for the length. If this in the wrong section, will the mods please kindly re-direct to the correct one!

    We have been suffering an infestation of rats in our house (semi detached with garage conversion built in the 1920/30's) over the last few months & got screwed over by the first pest controller who was supposed to take care of things. The second one identified that they were coming in from the drains.

    The manhole at the front had two feeds from our house & a straight run that leads to next doors house.

    1) We called Homeserve to check the drains & upon their first visit, they too saw the rats in our front manhole & said we have to call our water company (Affinity) as the manhole in our front garden is a shared drain.

    2) Affinity came round - did a pipe check & found a large pipe that was badly broken - said we have to get Homeserve to deal with as it was on our side of the house.

    3) Homeserve came round & unblocked the drain but could not fix the pipe as their engineer was not given full notes & did not have the equipment. He ran a camera to record damage to pipe - said it was the rainwater one from the rainwater gully.

    4) A few days later another Homeserve engineer comes round & again he has no info about the job but also ran a camera to find the broken/collapsed pipe & found that water from rainwater gully was not coming out of one of the exits in the manhole so concluded that it must be the broken one as viewed on the camera.

    5) Another Homeserve engineer visits & again - no notes about job & did not have the right equipment - made appointment to come back a few days later as it was a two man job.

    6) He arrives two days later but alone as his colleague had to be called out to another job. He ran test & again found that the water from the rainwater gully was not draining into one of the exits in the manhole & concluded that it must be a dead/unused pipe so concreted it up as far down as he could to help stop rat ingress. When asked, about where the rainwater would then go to, he said, it will just drain into the ground.

    7) I was later told that rainwater should not just drain to the ground as that can cause serious issues later over time & informed Homeserve.

    8) Another Homeserve engineer arrived & he to had no information about the issue. After explaining everything in detail, he went about doing a number of tests. He also found the broken pipe & that rainwater was not emanating from one of the exits in the manhole as it normally would.

    He then concluded that the exit in the manhole that had been concreted up was done so in error by the previous engineer. Informed me that the entire manhole and and all pipework leading to it will have to be dug up and re-layed. He said that this was a big job that requires the use of subcontractors. He called two of his seniors and explained the situation in detail to them.

    After running some more tests, he found that the rainwater gully had a blockage which he removed. He then passed water through the gully for about 15-20 minutes to see where it's exited. He stated, that as it was not rising to the surface, it must not then flow to the assumed & broken rain water pipe which leads from the rainwater gully to the manhole. At that point, he also felt that the broken pipe was a dead/unused one which originally ran to the exit (now concreted up) in the manhole.

    He wanted to see where the water was draining to from the rainwater gully so he put a water hose down as far as he could with water flowing, again for about 15-20 minutes. To him, it seemed that rainwater gully had its own piping as the hose seemed to travel from the gully out towards the road in a straight path and away from the direction of the manhole. He passed this hose out to a distance of about 6m or so.

    He was nice guy & did thorough checks to ensure that all the water from the various taps, toilet, showers etc in the house exited from the remaining drain exit on our side of the manhole. We thought that the problem have now been solved once and for all.

    9). Today, out of the blue, there was a Thames Water truck outside our house working on the manhole in front of our house. I enquired with them why they were there as we had not called them and the engineer told me that he had a job order to deal with potential tree root damage to our drains - I found this very odd as there are no trees directly outside our house and the nearest one is about 15 feet away!

    As it is a shared drain, they used the camera to inspect both my my neighbours and our drain run all the way back to our rear manhole in the garden and found no damage or issues. I explained in detail to the Thames Water engineer all of the above and after doing some preliminary inspections, he was of the very strong opinion that the rainwater gully would not have its own pipework directly out to the main road sewer. He stated that this does not make sense, would create more issues in future and that the drains for our type of house almost always have the rain water pipe running from the rainwater gully directly to the manhole and then from there to the nearest road sewer point and explained this is why most drain runs are angled as there are more houses on the road then there are road sewer points - or something like that.

    I am at a loss now what to do - I am assuming that as a Thames water engineer, this guy would probably know more than the Homeserve guys and I'm concerned that what the Thames Water engineer has told me might be right after all. This would mean, that the manhole would need to be broken down, rebuilt and have new piping laid after all. Unfortunately, Thames water does not have any drain mapping information for our area they could refer to exactly identify which pipes ran to which drains.

    Dealing with Homeserve customer services is an absolute hell experience and I would like to know how best to deal with this issue so that it is sorted once & for all? I am assuming that the Thames Water engineers are more qualified and experienced and that their assessments/opinions are higher than that of Homeserves? If this is the case, will/should Homeserve accept the opinion of the Thames Water engineer? I assume that it is still Homeserves responsibility to put things right if need be?

    Any advice & help on how I should proceed, what ask for as well as what should be properly done would be greatly appreciated as I am at the end of my tether. I have attached a number of pics to show the drain in its original state as well as after it was concreted up and that of the broken pipe & the general area.

    Many kind thanks,

    IMG_0593.jpg IMG_0592.jpg IMG_0595.jpg IMG_0598.jpg IMG_0611.jpg IMG_0628.jpg IMG_0629.jpg IMG_0633.jpg IMG_0709.jpg IMG_0711.jpg
  2. stevetheplumber

    stevetheplumber Plumber GSR

    i would assume the vilage idiot has more knowledge than the average homeserve operative from what i can see you have already exsposed the broken drain from rainwater to manhole
    looks like the drive has been paved and they broke the top of the drain then covered it up with poly you need to dig it out and replace it possible a bit lower than it was if that isnt possible you will have to suffer a bit of concrete bulging up out of the drive to protect the drain
    there is very little chance it goes direct to the main sewer run unless the house is very old
  3. albatross

    albatross Guest

    This seems fairly easy to me to remedy. You have dug a hold to see the pipe damaged by the person that laid the drive, make the hole bigger and trace the pipe back to the rainwater gully to prove exactly where it goes, my suspicions are it goes to the manhole.
    If it goes to the manhole, repair it and chip the cement plug out of the manhole, no need for a new manhole.
    If it goes separately to the main just relay the drive.
    Either way I'm not convinced this will solve your rat problem. Are they suggesting rats are crawling up the drains and out of your toilet into the house? Unlikely. Or have you an open gully in the house?
  4. Masood

    Masood Guest

    My first course of action would be to sack Homeserve and get a local independent plumber / drain expert in. The cost may be partly covered by your home insurance.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Bazzy

    Bazzy Guest

    Hi All,


    So you also feel the broken pipe is the one that leads to the exit concreted in? In order to dig out & replace the broken pipe, as it is clay, will the whole run of pipe need to be replaced all the way from the rainwater gully to the manhole? If it does then lead to the exit that has been cemented in, then I was told there was no way to now get the cement out with damaging the clay pipe? Even if they could replace just the broken section, it would mean the exit would still be blocked up with cement or am I missing what you mean?


    OK, I will try & get someone in to dig up the front a bit more to expose things better. Again, I was told, there is no way to get the cement out of the pipe - he put in quite a large amount as far as his arm would allow - about 2 bags+ to a distance of about 2 feet or more inside the clay pipe - do you feel it can still be removed then?

    As for the rats, they were seen entering & leaving both of drain exits - they were making their way through the broken pipe & had dug a hole at the house front wall (see pics 5 & 6) & from there, burrowed a channel to the hall & under the cupboard in the stairs. From there they were able to penetrate the rest of the rooms in the ground floor.

    I believe they also went down my neighbours run all the way to the back & out of the neighbours exit on the garden manhole & jumped straight into ours - I believe they were able to get into the conservatory roof this way. I have not seem any coming up via the toilets though.

    It seems you also believe that the drain cemented up also leads to the rainwater gully as well then? We do not have an open gully as far as I know - the pest controller checked all drains etc & did not report such a thing.


    I would to love to sack Homeserve but as they have created this situation, I would like for them to take care of it if at all possible as I do not want to incur massive expense if the whole thing needs rebuilding & my home insurance premiums will go up massively if I claim. I pay Homeserve for their cover & feel it is their job to put things right if need be - I just want to be armed with the correct info/data with which they then cannot deny.

    After all this is over, I will probably look to go to another company for cover if possible.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 21, 2015
  6. Bazzy

    Bazzy Guest

    Hi All,

    Another thing I have been told on which I need opinion - if you look at the manhole in picture 3, the benching on one side is much bigger/wider than the other.

    It was mentioned to me that due to one side being wider, this could mean that the rainwater pipe runs underground from the rainwater gully to below the manhole & under the wider part of the benching out to the road sewer - is this likely?

  7. village idiot

    village idiot Plumber GSR

    Steve, it wasn't me who went there, HONEST. Besides, with a trade name like: Village Idiot Plumbing Services, I doubt they'd have let me in through the door. Most customers don't???
    • Like Like x 2
  8. stevetheplumber

    stevetheplumber Plumber GSR

    you normally only get one pipe passing under the benching if you have seperate drainage for rainwater easy way to check would be to look at a neighbours manhole see if a bucket down their rainwater shows in the manhole break out the bit that home serve have concreted over and pour a bucket down the exposed broken bit up near the rainwater
    where in the country are you ?
  9. Bazzy

    Bazzy Guest


    Thanks for that - I will pour some water in the neighbours drain as you suggested & see if it appears in our manhole (if I ahem understood you correctly?).

    It is next to impossible for me to break out just a "bit" of the concrete they Homeserve guy filled in the 1st exit in the manhole - it is rock solid & is about 2 feet or more deep inside the piping.

    I am in NW London - used to be a nice place!

  10. Bazzy

    Bazzy Guest

    Hi All,

    I was looking through some of the pics I took & noticed something that might shed some light (hopefully). When one of the Homeserve guys was digging up the front to expose the broken pipe, I think there is also a another drain pipe close by that also seems to be between the nearest rainwater gully & the Manhole. Could this possibly the the one that drains rainwater away either to the 1st exit in the manhole that has been concreted in or under the benching?

    I have enclosed pics of it (marked "B") as well as an aerial rough layout of our front area where etch rainwater drains & gullies are. Maybe this might shed some light (good or bad!)


    Attached Files:

  11. HomeServe UK

    HomeServe UK Guest

    Hi Bazzy,

    I'm sorry to read about the experience you've had with us so far and understand that it must be quite confusing. Please see my follow-on post.
  12. HomeServe UK

    HomeServe UK Guest

    Would you be able to send us an email at here2help"at"homeserve"dot"com where we can get a member of the team here to take a look and try and get this sorted for you?


    HomeServe Here2Help
  13. Ray Stafford

    Ray Stafford Guest

    Good for Homeserve for coming on to try to help.

    OP - let us know how it all ends?
    • Like Like x 2
  14. village idiot

    village idiot Plumber GSR

    Who says this forum is not a top forum? Even he 'big boys' are watching
    • Like Like x 1
  15. jonnyswamp

    jonnyswamp Plumber GSR

    Any news ?
    Did the issue get sorted?
  16. village idiot

    village idiot Plumber GSR

    I think Bazzy is on holidays? It would be good to know if Homeserve kept their promise and resolved the issue
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