Updates

16/03/17

CommercialDW Update – Conveyancers Briefing Note

From April 2017, all non-household customers in England will be able to choose their supplier of water and sewerage retail services. This is a result of a change in the law under the Water Act 2014, designed to introduce competition into the water industry. As a result, CommercialDW providers have had to make a small number of changes to the CommercialDW Enquiry.

Whilst existing water companies will still own and maintain water and sewerage networks, services including billing, handling customer queries and complaints, and meter reading will be provided by a number of different companies (see www.open-water.org.uk/).

This change will have an impact on the Commercial Drainage and Water Enquiry (CommercialDW). This briefing note explains the changes and what commercial property conveyancers need to be aware of.

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04/07/16

The Law Society publish revised CON29 and CON29O forms

The Law Society published the revised CON29 and CON29O forms on 4 July 2016

In support of the roll-out, the Law Society have provided guidance notes, developed in consultation with Land Data, the Local Land Charges Institute and the Local Government Association, to provide guidance to local authorities in replying to CON29 and CON29O enquiries of local authorities. Click here to view these guidance notes.

The Law Society has been working closely with CON29DW providers to develop the updated CON29DW enquiry form for the 4th July 2016 deadline. The updated CON29DW reflects changes in legislation and so provides conveyancers with the most up-to-date information available when advising their clients on the impact of water and waste water networks in relation to property purchases.

A briefing note explaining the changes to the CON29DW enquiry can be found here.

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03/06/16

CON29DW Updates – Conveyancers’ Briefing Note

To support conveyancing professionals, the industry body, DWSN, has developed a briefing note explaining the reasons for the changes to the Law Society’s CON29DW

Working in consultation with The Law Society, The Drainage and Water Searches Network(DWSN) agreed changes to the CON29DW to ensure that the Enquiry provides conveyancers with the most up-to-date information available when advising their clients on the impact of water and waste water networks in relation to property purchases.

In summary the key changes are:

• Inclusion of details on private pumping stations
• Impact of sustainable drainage systems (SUDs) on newly adopted sewerage networks
• Removal of water quality information as this is not property specific; however this information will still be available on individual water companies’ websites
• Provision of water hardness information.

The briefing note explains the changes and what conveyancers need to be aware of. A sample of the updated CON29DW is provided here for you.

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13/05/16

Updating the Law Society’s CON29DW

The content of the Law Society’s CON29DW is being updated to reflect changes to legislation impacting the water industry.

Working in consultation with The Law Society, changes are being made to the CON29DW to ensure that the Enquiry provides conveyancers with the most up-to-date information available when advising their clients on the impact of water and waste water networks in relation to property purchases.

In summary the key changes are:

  • Inclusion of details on private pumping stations
  • Impact of sustainable drainage systems (SUDs) on newly adopted sewerage networks
  • Removal of water quality information as this is not property specific; however this information will still be available on individual water companies’ websites
  • Provision of water hardness information

The updated CON29DW will be implemented by providers over the coming months with a view to all providers using the updated form by 4th July 2016 when the Law Society launch their revised CON29 and CON29O forms.

The following providers have launched the new version:

  • 9 May – Thames Water Property Searches
  • 16 May – Geodesys, SafeMove, Southern Water LandSearch, Source for Searches

The following companies will launch around the dates below:

  • 23 May – Northumbrian Water Property Solutions, United Utilities Property Searches
  • 27 June – Severn Trent Searches
  • 30 June – Wessex Searches
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25/07/15

Flood risk: SuDS consultation set to change existing planning in Spring 2015

Following the Pitt Review into the cause of flooding in 2007, it was concluded that sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) would be the most effective way in preventing the issue happening again. SuDS slow the rate of surface water run-off and improve infiltration, mimicking natural drainage in both rural and urban areas. They are being used more widely in new developments to help improve drainage and avoid flood risk. As such, they reduce the challenges and risks to homebuyers and their professional advisers.

In early September 2014, DEFRA and DCLG launched a consultation to provide the foundation for a long-term approach to delivering effective SuDS. The aim is to develop SuDS that can be maintained for the lifetime of the building developments they serve, protecting the safety of occupants and of building investments.

The consultation states that the implementation of SuDS will begin in Spring 2015 and will be overseen by planning departments. This may result in conditions being attached to planning consents on maintenance and minimum standards of future SuDS. Furthermore, it could have implications for contractors, water companies, local authorities and private firms who will be expected to manage the upkeep of SuDS.

Providers of the Law Society’s CON29DW are now looking at how the search can facilitate the transfer of information regarding the implications for homebuyers and professional advisers for properties benefiting from SuDS.

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