Everything You Need to Know About Buried Manholes


Manholes are not just ordinary infrastructure components. They are vital channels for accessing and inspecting underground utility networks. Such as a drainage system. Almost all properties contain a manhole. Now, while not the most aesthetically pleasing feature, they are a necessity. Therefore, we always advise homeowners to ensure a manhole is always accessible. Covering these inconspicuous lids renders a drainage system inaccessible. This may seem fine until you encounter a drain problem and the only way to resolve it is with access to the system. In this article, we shed light on the potential risks buried manholes pose. And provide solutions to circumvent these risks.

What are buried manholes exactly?

A buried manhole is essentially a manhole that is no longer accessible. This happens for various reasons. For example, building over the manhole. Or covering the manhole with earth or debris. Either through neglect or on purpose. Burying a manhole on your property may seem inconsequential. However, it can lead to serious issues further down the line. Not to mention, it is not legal to do so.

What are the risks of building over a manhole?

Almost every homeowner has a manhole on their property. This is necessary, however, it can be inconvenient. Especially if you want to build an extension, and the manhole is in the way. This is why many people choose to build over the manhole. However, in our experience, this is a huge mistake. Cutting off a property’s access to the drainage system can cause serious consequences. Firstly, if there is any potential drain issue down the line, you will not have direct access to repair it. So, that means unearthing the manhole. Which is a timely, messy and costly process. Would you really want to dig up your extension? Secondly, building over a manhole means you cannot perform preventative drainage maintenance. For example, a CCTV survey. A yearly survey helps identify small issues within a drainage system. Thus preventing them from turning into larger problems.

Can I extend my property if I have a manhole in the way?

The good news is that yes you can extend, even if you have a manhole. However, you must utilise one of two options. Firstly, you may move the manhole. This means relocating the drain to another area. This can be costly. And you may need permission from the local authority before proceeding with this option. The second option would be to build an inspection chamber within the extension. This option isn’t ideal. It means that if there are any issues, the inspection and resolution of the problem will take place within your home. However, it is a much better scenario than having to dig up a kitchen floor!

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