The Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) Conservatory Association is calling for conservatory installation companies to share their first-hand experiences of the ‘build over’ bureaucracy that it believes is causing ‘serious harm’ to the conservatory sector.
Mark Hanson, chairman of the GGF Conservatory Association, explained: “We need to establish the real impact of ‘build over’ agreements and assess the scale of the issue across the UK. We have plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that installers are battling at a local level with water companies as a result of the transfer of ownership of private sewers from homeowners to water companies. The reality is that we need to put some national figures against the issue before we can make a more robust case to the government.”
The ownership of private sewers and lateral drains was transferred to water and sewerage companies in England and Wales in 2011. Despite there being no legal requirement to do so, many water companies are insisting on ‘build over’ agreements if a conservatory installation is built over, or comes within 3m of an existing sewer or lateral drain.
According to the GGF, the water companies’ insistence on ‘build over’ agreements is leading to delays, costs (often unspecified and unpredictable) and confusion for homeowners. The GGF is extremely concerned that this could lead to a significant decrease in demand for conservatories, extensions or other glass structures, or even to cancellations of existing orders in extreme circumstances.
The GGF says it is fighting on behalf of the industry to remove ‘the unnecessary costs and delays from this bureaucratic process’ and any feedback would be greatly received.
Nigel Rees, GGF group chief executive, commented: “We are seeking feedback in order to provide evidence to the government which shows how our industry is affected. This will also help support the GGF’s campaign to ensure that consumers and businesses aren’t adversely affected as a result of the transfer of ownership of private sewers and lateral drains.”
If you have any direct experience with your local water company, please email email@example.com and share your experiences (you will be emailed a survey which will take a few minutes to complete).