Good Craftsmanship Guide



This Good Craftsmanship Guide
highlights key problems with drainage
and gives guidance on how to avoid
them. The problems are those most
commonly identified during NHBC’s
inspection of homes under construction.
All photographs are of defects and
were taken on real building sites.
The Guide, based on the NHBC
Standards, is intended for use by
NHBC registered builders and
inspection staff.

© NHBC 2004
No reproduction without NHBC prior permission in writing.

Contents Drainage Proximity to foundations 2 Gradients 4 Bedding 6 Laying/jointing pipes 7 Access 8 Backfill 13 Support and movement 15 Protection 17 Soakaways 18 Septic tanks 20 Inspection and testing 22 1 .

Proximity to foundations Problem to avoid: Undermining foundations What to do: where possible keep foundation bottoms lower than drainage trenches where possible keep drainage runs outside the influence of the foundation loading 2 .

lay the drainage first and surround in concrete to a suitable level. concrete drainage trench up to at least the underside of the foundation concrete. 3 . concrete drainage trench up to at least B.if it is necessary for drainage to be located within the zone of influence of the foundation loading. If A is more than 1m. before excavating foundations A less than 1m A more than 1m B is within A-150mm from bottom of foundation B Note: If A is less than 1m.

0L/second: 4 Pipe diameter [mm] Minimum gradient 100 1 : 80 150 1 : 150 .Gradients Problems to avoid: Drains prone to blocking Drains do not self-cleanse if gradients are not adequate What to do: install drainage in accordance with the design. normally at the following minimum gradients: The following gradients may be used where flows exceed 1.

take particular care when laying drainage close to the minimum gradients increase gradients where ground movement is expected (e.g. in clay soils or in made ground) Surface water: – 75mm and 100mm drainage should be laid at a gradient not less than 1:100 – 150mm drainage should be laid at a gradient not less than 1:150 5 .

minimum 100mm deep – directly on trench bottom but only where the bottom can be accurately hand-trimmed but is firm remove any temporary packing from under pipes to avoid hard spots provide adequate support for manholes and inspection chambers in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions soft spots to be removed and replaced with suitable material pipe supported on hand-trimmed trench bottom 6 pipe supported on bed of granular material .Bedding Problem to avoid: Drainage settling due to inadequate bedding What to do: bed pipes: – on granular material.

Laying/jointing pipes Problem to avoid: Dislodged sealing rings What to do: ensure pipes are cut squarely chamfer ends of cut pipe lengths provide lubricant to ease connection and provide seal without dislodging seal 7 .

Access Problem to avoid: Inadequate access for clearing blocked drains What to do: provide access in accordance with the design ensure all pipes can be rodded use correct sized access manholes. inspection chambers and access chambers 8 .

6 or less.2 or less greater than 1. The size is restricted for health and safety reasons to deter entry. except where situated in a chamber 225 x 100 450 x 450 450 x 450 150 x 100 225 x 100 As drain but min 100 Depth to invert Length x Width from cover level (m) (mm x mm) Inspection chamber shallow Access fitting small 150 diam 150 x 100 large 225 x 100 Rodding eye Type 190 2 450 450 150 225 Circular (mm) Internal sizes Minimum dimensions for access fittings and chambers Same size as access fitting Same size as pipework 1 Circular (mm) — 190 1 Min 430 x 430 430 Max 300 x 300 3 Access restricted to max 350 3 150 x 100 1 225 x 100 1 Length x Width (mm x mm) Cover sizes . 3 A larger clear opening cover may be used in conjunction with a restricted access. continued over 9 deep 0.2 0. 2 Drains up to 150mm.Notes: 1 The clear opening may be reduced by 20mm in order to provide proper support for the cover and frame.6 or less 1.

5m deep to soffit greater than 1.450 greater than 450 1050 x 800 1200 x 800 900 x 800 Min internal dimensions 1 Rectangular length and width (mm) Steps 5 Ladder5 Winch6 Minimum dimensions for manholes Type Size of largest pipe (DN) (mm) Manhole less than 1.Access 1000 7 1200 1200 The larger of 1800 or (DN+450) 600 x 600 600 x 600 750 x 675 2 1200 x 675 2 600 600 600 na 3 Circular diameter (mm) 750 x 675 7 1200 x 675 1200 x 750 1800 x (DN+450) 1200 1200 1200 The larger of 1800 or (DN+775) 600 x 600 Min clear opening size 1 Rectangular length and width (mm) equal to or less than 150 225 300 greater than 300 1200 x 1000 1200 x 1075 1350 x 1225 1800 x (DN+775) 1050 1200 900 Circular diameter (mm) equal to or less than 225 300 375 .0m deep to soffit 10 .5m deep to soffit Manhole shaft 4 greater than 3.

Notes: 1 Larger sizes may be required for manholes on bends or where there are junctions.e any drain serving more than one property) should be 1200mm x 675 mm rectangular or 1200mm diameter. access chambers and rodding eyes will be accessible. not under fences make sure the main channel of manholes and inspection chambers is steps or ladders. This will help to avoid the build-up of solids proprietary manhole make connections obliquely with the flow continued over 11 . ensure that manholes. 7 The minimum size of any manhole serving a sewer (i.g. 6 Winch only . subject to a safe system of work being specified. 2 May be reduced to 600 by 600 where required by highway loading considerations. 4 Minimum height of chamber in shafted manhole 2m from benching to underside of reducing slab. Reproduced from Tables 11 and 12 of Approved Document H to the Building Regulations by permission of HMSO. inspection chambers. 5 Min clear space between ladder or steps and the opposite face of the shaft should be approximately 900mm. permanent or removable. e. 3 Not applicable due to working space needed.

Access slow radius bends finish benching neatly with a steel trowel use the appropriate type of cover. aligned with the surrounding ground 12 .

Backfill Problem to avoid: Damage to pipes due to unsuitable backfill What to do: place backfill as soon as the pipes have been bedded. jointed and inspected by NHBC/local authority carry out final visual inspection before backfilling use granular material or selected backfill from the trench excavation free from: – stones larger than 40mm – clay lumps larger than 100mm – timber – frozen material – vegetable matter compact backfill in layers not deeper than 300mm continued over 13 .

Backfill avoid mechanical compaction until fill is at least 450mm above pipework 150mm above pipe 2 layers hand compacted before mechanical compaction provide protection for pipes under roads and drives protected if cover less than 900mm FLEXIBLE PIPES protected if cover less than 1.2m RIGID PIPES provide protection for shallow pipes under garden areas less than 600mm cover 75mm 100mm 14 .

for example. where settlement or clay heave may produce up to 150mm differential movement. the opening should be protected against vermin entry continued over 15 . or – building pipe into wall with flexible joints within 150mm of the wall * a greater allowance may be required.Support and movement Problem to avoid: Damage to pipes due to differential movement What to do: ensure pipework can move where it passes though substructure by: – allowing at least 50mm clearance around pipe* – providing a sleeve.

Support and movement 50mm space around pipe opening masked both sides PIPES PASSING THROUGH LINTELLED OPENING 600mm max 150mm max flexible joint 150mm max 600mm max flexible joint PIPES BEDDED IN WALLS provide concrete under rest bend at base of SVP connection ensure pipes under suspended floors are adequately supported along their length to allow for ground movement in clay subsoils or in made ground ensure an adequate void is left under pipework below suspended floors to allow for clay heave 16 .

Protection Problem to avoid: Damage to access fittings and pipes What to do: provide temporary protection to access fittings clearly identify access points so plant movement can avoid damaging them 17 .

If in doubt carry out a test fill with clean hardcore 10mm . carry out a percolation test unless the ground is free draining and granular.Soakaways Problem to avoid: Ineffective storage and disposal of surface water What to do: lower than the building locate soakaways at least 5m away from building.150mm in size provide PVC sheet or concrete blinding over the fill to prevent topsoil being washed into the soakaway 18 .

PVC sheet or concrete blinding effective depth D diameter D 19 .

Septic tanks Problems to avoid: Ineffective operation Ineffective outfall 20 .

What to do: check approval from: – Environment Agency (England and Wales) – Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sc) – Environment and Heritage Service (NI) carry out percolation test to ensure satisfactory outfall disposal site at least 7m from a dwelling. The tank should be within 30m of a vehicle access for emptying ensure that effluent is drained away from the building 21 . In Scotland they should be at least 5m from a dwelling and a boundary.

with adequate gradients check all debris is removed from pipe runs and chambers check drainage system is in full working order at completion carry out air/water testing 22 .Inspection and testing Problem to avoid: Ineffective operation of drainage What to do: check that pipe runs are straight.

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nhbc. Bucks HP6 5AP Tel: 0870 241 4302 Fax: 01494 735201 Amersham. Chiltern Avenue.NHBC. Buildmark HB1961 03/04 .

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