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building a shed over sewer pipes

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  1. #1
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    Default building a shed over sewer pipes

    Hi all,
    As every man needs I am looking at having a 7 x 7m shed built in the back yard. Problem is Ive looked at a site diagram of the property and there is a main sewer pipe running about one metre underground pretty much under the location I am intending on building. Ive looked into the prospect of council approval, and pretty much know I will be knocked back, so am therefore not heading in that direction. I understand building over a main pipe like this would probably be a no no, however it is the only location I can build. What are the odds of ever having to dig under here to get to the pipes. Would I be taking a big risk by going ahead? If Ive okayed the building with all the neighbours what are the chances of council finding out? Im looking at an overall price of $10K, slab and all, and would hate the thought of ever having to demolish it. Any thoughts on this dilemma?
    Regards,
    Mickem
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  2. #2
    A Member of the Holy Trinity echnidna's Avatar
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    If (when) you get sprung you will be made to demolish it.

    You might have to settle for a little shed.
    Regards
    Bob Thomas

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by mickem View Post
    Any thoughts on this dilemma?
    Regards,
    Mickem
    If there is a problem with the sewerage pipe and you have built over it without their permission the sewerage authority, without notice to you, can and will demolish it for you and then sent you the bill.

    This could happen whilst you are not there and the thought of a big machine going through your precious tools doesn't bear thinking about so get the necessary permits.


    Peter.

  4. #4
    almost a woodworker orraloon's Avatar
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    At the least I would check on what is allowed. The main sewer is probably a water board responsability and if they send round a team to clear it and find a shed in the way you will have them and council on you'r case. I think most councils will allow a shed of up to 10m2 without approval.

  5. #5
    Dust Maker Geoff Dean's Avatar
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    I was able to build over main sewer line at back of my property. Spoke to Council and they had no problem, but did advise that local water board may have.

    Spoke to them, they issued a permit after I submitted plans but the only proviso was that if they needed to access pipe then they would come thru shed if needed.

    However, I also spoke to one of the water board maintenance blokes and he told me they had never had to dig up a shed yet, they have all sorts of tools that allow them to work from the access points. My shed is about 2 metres from one of these manholes so should never have a problem.

    I would suggest that you speak to council/water board because when they find your shed it will have to come down, but if you get the necessary permits (cost me about $180) you are totally covered.
    Last edited by Geoff Dean; 9th Feb 2008 at 08:52 PM. Reason: Just remembered there is a manhole 2 metres from shed, I forgot I had covered it with lawn.
    Regards,
    Geoff

  6. #6
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    Thanks Geoff,
    I didnt really think that council would ever allow it. I suppose it may be best to go through the right avenues.
    Regards,
    Mick

  7. #7
    89 is square enough bulldog's Avatar
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    Default sewer pipes

    Mate,
    hope my reply isnt too late, I have just been down the same road with my application to council this week. The draftsman/serveyour (sp) that did my plans up advised that if there was a sewer pipe running through the property where I wanted to place the shed the rules were as follows:
    a. as stated before they can pull your shed down if it is not approved by council
    b. if there is a pipe running through the rules are for every meter the pipe is underground then the edge of the structure needs to be double the distance. So in your case 1 meter under ground the nearest you can build to the pipe is 2 meters
    c. you can have the pipe incased in concrete/protected by whatever material the council wants to be used, however this could cost upto 8k more than the shed would have been worth.

    Hope this is helpful, by the way these are the rules for Blacktown council what your council rules are maybe different.

  8. #8
    Senior Member munruben's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bulldog View Post
    c. you can have the pipe incased in concrete/protected by whatever material the council wants to be used, however this could cost upto 8k more than the shed would have been worth.

    Hope this is helpful, by the way these are the rules for Blacktown council what your council rules are maybe different.
    This is correct, I had an investmetn property built in Rouse Hill and part of the structure of the home was over the sewer pipe and it had to be encased in concrete and believe me it was no cheap project.
    You don't even have to be building directly over the sewer pipe for it to be encased. The sewer pipe has an "area of influence" that has to be kept away from unless you want to encase the pipe. I can't remember the formula for working out the "area of influence" but you local water authority or council will tell you.
    A 7meter X 7meter shed will need council approval anyway.
    Cheers, John
    Just a thought: If you borrow money from a pessimist, do they expect to get it back?
    I intend to live forever. So far, so good.

    .

  9. #9
    pest manager bugsy's Avatar
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    i have seen this happen in other sheds that have been built over easements .

    It is common is to use pavers instead of concrete floor for the section that the pipes go under.
    so if anything happens, the pavers can be lifted up easily

  10. #10
    Starter boban's Avatar
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    Dont worry about the council just yet. Talk to Sydney Water first. You might be pleasantly surprised, or not.

    There is usually a way around things if you talk to them. One thing is for sure, it will cost more to build but if you really want it, well, you want it.

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    thanks for the post mickem

    this has been good reading - not sure if i can help but i'm going back to check with Council as we've just had our DA approved and it includes a slab for a car port and guess what ... it's over the sewer pipes down the back of the yard (it'll be for rear access) - there main concern wasn't the sewer but that we access the yard at 90degrees from the road (apparently an RTA reg)

    will be interested to know what water board / councils says

    you can also ring anonymously but in saying that i agree with the other posts in that you should check first - if you have to get creative after that cause of restrictions it'd be a better option

  12. #12
    Old Goat
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    Buried piping is usually designed for an acceptable surface load, such as when placed under an unpaved driveway. From a structural standpoint, a reinforced concrete slab (vs pavers) will better span across the pipe's zone of influence, provided the edges of the slab are beyond the zone. Consult your water authority, with an accurately-drawn plan and details. Council should generally follow their guidance, unless other conditions govern. As stated, equipment is available to maintain piping from the inside. You may, however, be assessed any extra cost in excess of ordinary excavation. The water authority should also be consulted on this aspect.

    Joe
    Of course truth is stranger than fiction.
    Fiction has to make sense. - Mark Twain

  13. #13
    Member les88's Avatar
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    I build a shed over a sewer line.. went to the water board with the plans they OKed them.
    les
    wood knot be dead for a quid

  14. #14
    Senior Member munruben's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by les88 View Post
    I build a shed over a sewer line.. went to the water board with the plans they OKed them.
    les
    Thats great if you get away with it but in Sydney things work a little differently. A company building duplex for me in Quakers Hill a few years ago had to demolish a garage attached to the main house and rebuild it because it was half a meter short of councils requirements. I guess it all depends on the local council and how lax they are with their rules. Its like building approvals, some councils take a couple of months to get approval and others push the plans through in less than 3 weeks. In this instance I would certainly not be building anything over or within the zone of influence of the pipe without prior approval of the council and the water authority. It can be a very costly exercise if you go ahead and build without council approval.
    A shed that size also requires council approval anyway and if you don't have approval, when and if you try to sell your property, there can be problems with having a building on the property that is not approved by council and hold up settlement to say the least.
    Cheers, John
    Just a thought: If you borrow money from a pessimist, do they expect to get it back?
    I intend to live forever. So far, so good.

    .

  15. #15
    Senior Member munruben's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bugsy View Post
    i have seen this happen in other sheds that have been built over easements .It is common is to use pavers instead of concrete floor for the section that the pipes go under. so if anything happens, the pavers can be lifted up easily
    Pavers are okay on a small area but on a larger area for a successful job, they are usually laid on sand over a concrete base otherwise they will not stay level .
    Cheers, John
    Just a thought: If you borrow money from a pessimist, do they expect to get it back?
    I intend to live forever. So far, so good.

    .

  16. #16
    Member les88's Avatar
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    Munruben that was Sydney with the MWSDB oked plans went to the council and had no trouble
    les
    wood knot be dead for a quid

  17. #17
    Senior Member munruben's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by les88 View Post
    Munruben that was Sydney with the MWSDB oked plans went to the council and had no trouble
    les
    Sorry les, thought you were talking about Cooma Authorities. Yes, I agree, chances are there will not be a problem if you submit plans to local Authorities but I have experienced the wrath of the Authorities on a few occasions when property developing in Sydney suburbs and they can be quite unbending when they want to be.
    Having said that, most Councils and Water Authorities are helpful and try to resolve the issue to everyones satisfaction. I have never been knocked back with building applications but have been made to adhere to Authorities requirements when building outside usual procedures, over easements etc and believe me, these added requirements are quite costly in some instances but not as costly as they can be if you go ahead and build without approval of the Authorities in which case a heavy fine can and sometimes is, imposed on the offending builder or developer, or both and in extreme cases result in work having to be demolished and reconstructed if construction doesn't comply with regulations.
    Cheers, John
    Just a thought: If you borrow money from a pessimist, do they expect to get it back?
    I intend to live forever. So far, so good.

    .

  18. #18
    Member blak's Avatar
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    I am currently caught in this cycle. My proposed garage is over a sewer pipe.

    The DA for my 6x6 garage has been approved, but they wont issue me with the Construction Certificate until I prove that my design will not put any load on the sewer pipe.

    The sewer pipe is 4.6m below ground level and the water authority has 2 inspection plates on either side of my property, so they are not too concerned with my DA. But the council is doing an ass covering exercise and asking me to get it all signed off by an engineer. Such a dick around.

  19. #19
    Golden Member autogenous's Avatar
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    With permission, you will be asked to put in pylons

    Wonder how people would go with a stumped framed structure? No concreto. Light weight with independent supports?
    Currently obsessed with non-hydraulic mortars

    http://brickandstoneart.blogspot.com.au/

  20. #20
    Member blak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by autogenous View Post
    With permission, you will be asked to put in pylons
    My sewer pipe is 4.6m deep to invert.

    After speaking with a few engineers this week, the consensus seems to be steel screw pilings. http://www.piling.com.au/applications/residential.php
    I can see this little chestnut will blow my budget ...

  21. #21
    Tool Addict TimberNut's Avatar
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    Angry what a PITA!

    How did you go?

    I am in the planning stages of builing a colourbond shed at my place (near Bankstown in Sydney), and want to build over a sewer, and went through all this BS too. Here's where I ended up.

    The council doesn't give a toss as long as you conform to building regs (ie no walls within of the boundary 900mm if they have windows etc etc). They will however need to site approval from Sydney Water.
    So... I contacted Sydney Water. They won't discuss it with you. They have outsourced it all to "water services coordinators". They gave me a list of them and told me to contact them. So I did.

    They told me that building on/in the zone of influence requires that you concrete encase the sewer - no exceptions. I tried to argue it was a light weight structure, and would even sign an indemnity allowing Sydney Water to rip up the slab at my cost if there was ever a problem. No go. Rules are rules....blah blah blah.

    Considering I wanted a shed/carport 14m long running parallel to the sewerline, and you have to encase 1m beyond the end of the slab thats 16m of encasing I have to do. (The sewer is 1.6m down 150 Vitreous China if you care). I was quoted $650 per meter to encase it.

    That's over $10,000 just to encase the damn sewer. Believe me, I argued the point. The water services co-ordinators will only go 'by the book' which means no exceptions, and no discussion. The council won't approve the plans without a certificate from Sydney Water approving it first.

    Needless to say I gave up in frustration. It's not as if I'm trying to build the Tahj Mahal or anything!!! $10K extra for that is a joke.
    so no shed for me.

    Please tell me you are in Sydney, and have had more luck than me.
    TN.
    My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.

  22. #22
    Member blak's Avatar
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    TN: Ahh glad Im not the only poor bugger going through this bull@@@@.
    Im in Newcastle and dealing with Newcastle City Council and Hunter Water Corporation. By the sounds of it Im getting out of it a bit easier than you as HWC have not specified concrete encasement of the sewer as a requirement for my development.

    I have now sought opinions from two different engineers and steel screw piering is going to be my cheapest option to get compliance. Will need 8 screw piers to a depth of 5m (4 on either side of the pipe). I have been quoted for supply and install of the piers ~ $2500.

    Still enquiring with the engineer how this will change my slab design too, as I dare say the slab will need to be thickened through the areas where the pier tops will pop up out of the grouond. Depending on how this pans out I may also @@@@-can the project as the costs have just got out of control.

  23. #23
    Tool Addict TimberNut's Avatar
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    blak, let us know how you get on, cause right now all my plans are stalled. I would dearly love to replace the shed, but at 10 Grand extra, they can kiss my...

    I'm hoping there are alternatives out there, cause the guys I got quotes from for the shed are all chasing me wanting the job (guess work must be slow) and I ended up telling them that if THEY want to change Sydney Waters mind, they can build me a shed, but they won't get involved. So I'm stuck.

    all help appreciated.

    And if anyone is in Sydney and manages to work around this problem can you tell me how you managed it?

    Cheers

    TN.
    My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.

  24. #24
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    I had the same problem with my shed...had to move it 'out of the sphere of influence'. Even so, Sydney Water required a survey 'less than 12 months old' in any case to confirm the actual location of the sewer line - which only their contractors can undertake, at a cost of $450.00!! - before they would give the necessary sign off to allow Council to consider the Building Consent application.

    So even though there has been no work on the sewer line for 40 years, and none since I had the $450 survey undertaken, I have to pay for another one if I want to do any further works more than 12 months in the future....nice earner for them. You would think it could at least be just a file search to confirm no works undertaken in the meantime.

    PS the 'survey' was a bloke probing the ground with a long piece of reo till he got a 'clunk' which he certified as coming from the sewer line and marking the location on a site drawing....amazing....
    If it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing

  25. #25
    Tool Addict TimberNut's Avatar
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    Ronaldo, what you've described, from my investigations is called a 'Peg-Out' and is part of their procedure to determine if their sewers have somehow mysteriously drifted a couple of feet without their knowledge . Maybe tectonic plate movement or something??

    I don't mind paying for a peg-out at my place, and even piering either side of the sewer (as I can't build a 14 x 7m shed on a small suburban block outside the zone of influence. Its gotta go right over the sewer - there's nowhere else to put it). BUT if I were to pay for a pegout and the guy turns up and just pokes reo in the dirt and asks me for $450 he'd better plan on using that reo to forcibly extract the money, because that's a joke. I thought they'd use something like an ultraound type device.

    maybe i should flog some reo from a building site, and go into business.
    Tell you what, call me next time and I'll bring me new poker and do it for $400

    TN.
    My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.

  26. #26
    Member blak's Avatar
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    All they do up here is run a string line between the two inspection plates closest to my property, and mark out the approximate pipe position with spray paint.

    They assume that the pipe runs in a straight line between the inspection plates.

    My steel screw piers will be placed 1.5 m either side of the pipe, so there is next to no chance of the pipe being damaged.

  27. #27
    Golden Member autogenous's Avatar
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    hat's over $10,000 just to encase the damn sewer. Believe me, I argued the point. The water services co-ordinators will only go 'by the book' which means no exceptions, and no discussion. The council won't approve the plans without a certificate from Sydney Water approving it first.
    How much is it to have you dig a trench and have a plumber shift the sewer line?
    Currently obsessed with non-hydraulic mortars

    http://brickandstoneart.blogspot.com.au/

  28. #28
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    I have built lots of structures over pipes & sewers, I have had to encase in every situation & I would be very suprised if piles were the full remedy, some authorities like to dribble feed info to non proffessionals, I would ask the question " do I have to encase the sewer pipe " & if its a yes then ask for it in writing.
    Depending on the sewer grade, re-routing of the sewer may be possible but 10K would be cheap compared to another 4 manholes with pipework & working on a "live" line
    regards inter

  29. #29
    Mr Sexy Beast dazzler's Avatar
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    couple of points.

    If You buy a house with an easement then you accept the conditions of purchase. No point whining about it later on when you choose to build across it. The problem you may be missing is when the council has to repair damage caused by people building across the pipes someone has gotta pay and it ends up the ratepayer. They then need to sue the owner for recompense and this costs money, once again paid for by the ratepayers. So its not unreasonable to expect any granting to come with conditions that make it utterly impossible for the ratepayer owned property to be damaged.

    Dont be too keen to build an unapproved stucture that cant easily be moved. Many councils use google maps and streetview to store info on properties and are auditing suburbs and sending demolish demands. If you dont demolish it they will arrange a contractor and then charge you. Not nice.
    I just love sheepies!

  30. #30
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    Unhappy Sewerage Peg Out

    I am looking at putting an extension to the back of my house which will come within 1.6m of the sewerage easment in my backyard. The depth to invert is only 1.6m but given we are on sand this means we are in the zone of influence (ZOI). I am getting someone to come and peg out the sewerage this week even thought I could easily do it myself.

    The thing is there is an existing deck that was already attached to the house when we bought it (not approved by council). One of its footings is directly over the sewerage easement however I dont thing it has had any impact as the sewerage line seems to be flowing ok. Also some of the other footings are within the ZOI and are definately not down to the depth they should be for the ZOI.

    Does anyone know if council will make me move the existing footing that is over the sewerage and dig new footings for the existing deck????

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