gradient top
The latest
industry news
gradient bottom
30th June 2022

20th Anniversary of the Residential CON29DW

DWSN recently brought together key senior stakeholders from across the lending, conveyancing and property sectors to mark not only the 20th anniversary of the residential CON29DW but also a return to more normal working practices post-COVID.

Read more

DWSN recently brought together key senior stakeholders from across the lending, conveyancing and property sectors to mark not only the 20th anniversary of the residential CON29DW but also a return to more normal working practices post-COVID.

There was lively discussion with topics mainly focused around improving the conveyancing process, including speeding up front-end information, new approaches to addressing risk and the importance of recognised industry standards across sectors and disciplines.

Welcoming guests, Owen Davies said:

“It is an absolute privilege to be able to welcome stakeholders from across the conveyancing, property and lending sectors to join us to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the CON29DW. During the last 20 years there has been significant change to the CON29DW not just in terms of the questions and supporting information provided for homebuyers and their specialist advisers, but in the way that technology has supported the compilation and dissemination of that information. Everyone here today is working towards further change to improve the conveyancing process for the benefit of homebuyers across the country, something that DWSN and all its members are taking an active role in and wholeheartedly support.”

Owen Davies, Chair of DWSN and Business Development Manager, Severn Trent Searches

Read more about DWSN’s thinking around speeding up front-end information in the news piece below from 4 April 2022.

Close
4th April 2022

Speeding up front-end conveyancing information

Timely delivery of front-end information is of paramount importance in ensuring the conveyancing process works smoothly. Owen Davies, Chair of DWSN and Searches Business Development Manager at Severn Trent Services offers his thoughts on the issues around speeding up information, specifically searches.

Read more

Timely delivery of front-end information is of paramount importance in ensuring the conveyancing process works smoothly. Owen Davies, Chair of DWSN and Searches Business Development Manager at Severn Trent Services offers his thoughts on the issues around speeding up information, specifically searches.

There are many challenges in compiling the information needed for homebuyers in the conveyancing process. Even if searches are compiled by one organisation, they are drawing together information from a variety of sources all with individual timelines, reflecting the different types of data coming from organisations with separate operating models, resourcing and investment. There is no one-size fits all – no single timeline.

COVID has seen some of the challenges brought into sharper focus particularly around resourcing – an area that impacts, for example, some local authorities, who tend to have fewer resources than a commercial operator. And, whilst online portals and data streaming have the potential to improve many aspects of the process, not least delivery times, there will always be some data that needs specialist intervention and that takes time.

DWSN’s members provide responses to the Law Society’s CON29DW Residential Enquiry and have made considerable investments in infrastructure and in its people over the last two decades to provide those responses with progressively more improved turnaround times. With an industry average for 2021 of 1.43 days, this is something we are justifiably proud of. Yes, I’d like to see improvements in reducing this still further, but I recognise that this must not be at the expense of quality, and that there are still elements that require specialist review or intervention.

Owen Davies, Chair of DWSN and Searches Business Development Manager, Severn Trent Services

Close
2nd March 2022

Celebrating 20 years of the residential CON29DW

20 years of providing peace of mind – DWSN and the Law Society celebrate the 20th anniversary of the residential CON29DW

Read more

20 years of providing peace of mind – DWSN and the Law Society celebrate the 20th anniversary of the residential CON29DW

Working closely together with industry stakeholders, DWSN and the Law Society have developed the residential CON29DW from the basic questions in 2002 that covered the location of sewer and water mains, the connection status of a property as well as billing information, to the nationally standardised 25 questions in the CON29DW Residential in 2022.

A CON29DW Residential is about more than just pipes, it covers key drainage and water asset information, from connection information to build-over consultation. It provides the essential information needed by homebuyers and their professional advisers, using data that is comprehensive and current. It reflects the latest legislative changes and has indemnity levels specified.

For further information go to The Law Society and www.con29dw.co.uk.

Close
12th May 2021

New Chair of DWSN appointed

Owen Davies, Searches Business Development Manager at Severn Trent Services and a Director of DWSN, has been appointed to Chair of DWSN as of 1st April 2021.

Read more

Owen Davies, Searches Business Development Manager at Severn Trent Services and a Director of DWSN, has been appointed to Chair of DWSN as of 1st April 2021.

Owen Davies, Searches Business Development Manager at Severn Trent Services and a Director of DWSN, has been appointed to Chair of DWSN as of 1st April 2021. Owen replaces Kevin Brown, former DWSN Chair and Director, and Director of Tide Services.

 

On his appointment Owen Davies said:

“I am looking forward to leading the work of DWSN and building on the solid foundations laid by Kevin over the last 5 years and thank him for his hard work, commitment, energy and enthusiasm for DWSN. I am fortunate with the support I have from my fellow Directors, Vicky Farrell at Safemove and Sue Stevens at Thames Water Property Searches. As a Board, we look forward to providing strategic direction for DWSN and supporting the membership. We want to take a proactive role in the broader industry discussions and actions to improve conveyancing in the best interests of consumers and we look forward to supporting homebuyers’ specialist advisers in that.”

Close

18th February 2020

Sewer transfers and impacts

This article looks at the 2011 private sewer transfer, its lasting impact, the benefits and drawbacks, and how the CON29DW can help.

Read more

This article looks at the 2011 private sewer transfer, its lasting impact, the benefits and drawbacks, and how the CON29DW can help.

Did you know that in October 2011 ownership of most private sewers, lateral drains and pumping stations that connect to the public sewer network were transferred to the ownership of the regulated sewerage companies in England and Wales? This meant an estimated doubling of water companies’ sewer network overnight.

Why was this change instigated? Previously homeowners with private sewers were responsible for their maintenance and repair and the associated costs, but many were unaware of this liability until a problem developed. The Government believed that transferring sewers to water companies, so that they are recognised as “public sewers”, would ensure they were properly maintained and alleviate pressure on property owners. Sewerage undertakers have a statutory responsibility to maintain public sewers.

A big change

There has been no historical requirement to record the location of private sewers. Consequently, at the time of transfer, water companies were unaware of the location of many of their new assets. Since the transfer, they have been working hard to map these sewers. This will take a number of years as water companies do not have the financial resources to proactively map these networks without passing these costs onto customers. Most companies are therefore adding sewers to their records as they come across them in the course of their normal operations, as well as utilising whatever historical records are available to them. These sewers are continually added to plans as companies uncover them.

Given the size of this transferred network it is likely that potential buyers will have a public sewer within or close to their boundary. With transferred sewers, not all of these may be shown on public records.

It’s always worth knowing what’s in, around and under a potential new home, especially if there are plans to extend or develop it. The CON29DW will show the location of all known public sewers, providing an invaluable resource in the home buying process.

Access and development problems

Water companies have statutory rights granting them access to private land to inspect and maintain their assets. Sewers under buildings or patios can create problems for access, and property owners have an obligation to ensure any public sewers in their land remain accessible. Whilst ensuring a water company can access private land is inconvenient for the property owner, if the sewer isn’t easily accessible, these problems can be even more troublesome, with water companies ultimately having the right to take all necessary steps to safeguard and access their network.

It’s also important for homeowners and homebuyers to know the location of public sewers if there are plans to undertake any development work. So, it is vital that homebuyers’ professional advisers are clear on their client’s intentions for the property.

Any development near a public sewer requires consent from the water company as part of the planning application, with companies having the right to require their sewers be protected, diverted, or in some case denying permission. Although a survey should always be undertaken to locate underground assets prior to development work, the CON29DW is an invaluable indicator to water company assets – both mapped and unmapped – affecting the property.

Not all sewers transferred – some complexities

With newer developments, there have also been instances where part of a network has been adopted, but other parts have not. Under the legislation, sewers that didn’t discharge into the public network weren’t transferred, so it’s now quite common on developments for foul sewers to have transferred, but surface water sewers, which often drain to watercourses, SUDS or other methods, are still private as they bypass the public sewer network.

There are also occurrences where the sewers directly serving a property have transferred, but some of the downstream sewers remain private – something which didn’t occur prior to the transfer.

Finally, although the sewer transfer was intended to be enacted in two stages, and future sewers to be adopted at the time of connection, the legislation for this has never been enacted. Some sewers were also exempt in the initial transfer. Consequently, in England, a network of private sewers is again building up.

How can DWSN members help?

The CON29DW, compiled by specialist and expert staff, is the best source for locating these sewers and identifying any potential risk.

Overall the transfer of these assets to public ownership is a good thing for homeowners, reducing their liability and removing the burden of maintaining sewers themselves. But it is always worth knowing what is in and around a property prior to purchase. The CON29DW remains the best source of identifying water company assets and making sure there are no hidden surprises.

If you want to find out more, use this postcode look-up to contact the CON29DW provider for the address you need to check.

Close