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Quick Guide – Construction Section Agreements

Updated: Jun 8, 2020

Needing to refresh your knowledge on the legal agreements associated with developers and drainage?  You’re at the right place.

There are Specific sections within the Water Industry act 1991 and the Highways Act 1980 which allows waste drainage systems to be ‘adopted’ by a wastewater undertaker.  Details of all the UK’s undertakers can be found here.

Section 38 Agreement – S38 (Highways Act 1980)

The S38 agreement applies to the adoption of highways and the reason you find it here is because it includes some drainage systems too.

Under a S38 agreement, the only drainage that can be adopted under the highways act is the drainage that is responsible for draining the highway.  Any other drainage network that has been installed under the road including rising mains, must be adopted under a Section 104 agreement.

Section 104 Agreement – S104 (Water Industry Act 1991)

This agreement, commonly referred to as a S104, provides a way for drainage that has been constructed or is to be constructed to be managed and maintained at the expense of the local adopting authority.

This agreement is between the developer/owner and the sewerage undertaker and permits the sewerage undertaker to adopt the sewer or drainage network.  From time to time the government may pass regulation for sewerage undertakers to carry out a mandatory adoption of particular drainage aspects as seen in September 2011 with the Private Sewers Transfer Regulations.

TIP: for a new development, do not construct the drainage prior to approval as this can lead to long delays at adoption stage costing you £££ in associated maintenance costs.

Section 106 Agreement – S106 (Water Industry Act 1991)

This agreements, commonly referred to as a S106, permits a developer/owner to make a new connection to an existing adopted sewer.

These agreements have to be submitted in the form of an application to the local council or Sewerage Undertaker which, when approved allows the connection of the proposed system onto the existing system generally at a monetary cost.  These works are carried out by the developer/owner and must comply with Sewers for Adoption regulation to ensure consistency of workmanship across drainage networks.


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