Drain mapping, or also referred to as ‘asset mapping’, is the process of creating an accurate map of the underground drainage system in a given area or under a property. Accurately plotting the exact locations of the pipes, gullies, and manholes of the drainage system is now much easier and more reliable due to innovations in GPS technology. In addition to creating an entire map of a drainage system, it can also accurately identify depth levels, sizes, the direction flow of pipes, and which pipes are carrying foul water drains.
In order to carry out accurate drain mapping, we use specialist software that has been designed to provide pinpoint accuracy when mapping. We use GNSS equipment which provides mapping accuracy of up to 2cm. In addition to this, our experienced engineers can also track coordinates using OSGM15. One thing to note is that the cost of drain mapping can vary and this will depend on a few factors, such as the size of the area that requires mapping.
At RWB Group UK, our thorough investigations help many industries to understand their underground drainage system. Our comprehensive reports include a wide range of information, including details about the pipes, manholes, gully locations, depth levels, and the direction flow of water.
Why is Drain Mapping an Essential Service?
Drain mapping services are usually sought after before any construction project goes underway. This is because you need to know the layout and scope of the existing drainage systems underneath a property or area in order to avoid damaging the drains. Once this vital information has been clearly established, you can then make informed decisions about whether a drainage system will need to be modified, upgraded, and how you can connect your new build property to this existing drainage system. Before you take on a building project, it’s important to conduct drain mapping so that you can avoid causing damage to existing drainage systems which may be costly to repair.
The great thing about drain mapping is that a wide variety of industries and sectors can benefit from drain mapping and it isn’t restricted to one purpose. You’ll usually find surveyors, architects, highway authorities, local councils, and construction companies requesting drain mapping services. Wherever there is a need to fully understand how a drainage system is laid out beneath the surface, drain mapping provides a very useful and convenient way of identifying the underground services.
In addition, drain mapping is an important part of buying a property. Homebuyers drain mapping enables potential home buyers to map out the existing drainage systems under the new property and it can help identify if there are causes for concern in the drainage networks. The property surveyor may also insist on getting one.
When there is significant damage to the drains, they are usually very expensive to repair. Having the right understanding and knowledge of the drainage systems means that you will be aware of all of the drainage points underneath the ground so you can avoid damaging them when building.
When there are issues with the drainage system such as a severe blockage or a major leak, drain mapping can be used to determine the layout of the drains which makes fault finding and repair work easier, more convenient, and safer. In cases where there are recurring drainage problems, drain mapping can help reveal what the cause of these deep issues is.
Another core use for drain mapping is to help with planning for flood risk management and pollution prevention. Gaining a greater understanding of the layout of the drainage systems enables you to make informed plans for fast response services in events where there may be chemical spillages, fire accidents, or other emergencies. Drain mapping is also an essential part of site compliance for many commercial sites, such as Control of Major Accident Hazards and the Environmental Permitting Regulations regulated sites. At RWB Group UK, our drain mapping team can help ensure that your drainage map and plans are fully compliant and meet the legal requirements.
What are the Drain Mapping Methods?
At RWB Group UK, our mapping team utilises a variety of techniques to carry out innovative drain mapping services. Our methodologies, techniques, and equipment support us in locating culverts, sewers, underground streams, and more.
Water Flow Tracing
The most straightforward way of identifying the water flow is by checking it at various stages throughout its route in and out of the property. This method can be done by running the water tap or pouring water down the drain and checking where the water is flowing to. You can check this by revealing a nearby manhole cover to see if the water from the tap is running through.
Another way of identifying the water flow is by simply flushing a piece of tissue paper down the toilet and then following where it goes in the drainage route. You check this by lifting a manhole cover and keeping an eye out for the tissue paper which will give you a rough estimate of how the drains are connected.
Water tests enable you to see whether the water contains elements of sewage, waste, or if it’s clear. This helps you identify where the water is flowing through which will make it easier to assess the routes.
Dye tracing is a similar process to ‘Water Flow Tracing’, but it utilises a different procedure to identify the flow of water and where it’s going. This method requires adding different colours dyes to the water which will help to make tracing it much easier. The dye can be added through the toilet, sink, or even directly into a drain.
However, it’s important to use specially designed dyes as this type of dye comes in tablet form and is not damaging to the environment in any way. It does not stain or mark the drains, sinks, or toilets.
Compared to all of the above, CCTV drain surveys are by far the most advanced and comprehensive way of identifying the locations and layouts of a drainage system. Utilising a specialised camera which is lowered into the drains, the camera moves along the drainage system and records video footage of the whole process.
At RWB Group UK, we use CCTV Pipeline Inspection vehicles to capture high-resolution footage of the drainage systems and it also gives us the ability to enhance visibility in the drains by tilting, panning, and zooming the camera.
Due to the innovative technologies that we use at RWB Group, such as GNSS, GIS, GPS, and Sonar technology, we do not require any digging or excavation in order to access your drainage systems. Our cameras can be easily lowered via a manhole cover and our engineers can take care of the rest above ground. Any faults, problems, or defects detected in your drainage system will be picked up on the high-resolution cameras. Our engineers can record the entire drainage network back to the connection point through the public main sewer or to the point of the outfall. This enables us to trace a single line or scan and map the entire network.
Keeping Permanent Records
At RWB Group, our drain mapping services provide in-depth drainage plans and reports which can be bespoke to your needs. Our report includes three key elements:
- A map of the entire drainage system with schematic drawings which detail the locations, sizes, depth levels, and access points of the drainage network.
- Information showing the manhole records and access points.
- A fully interactive Google Maps overlay allows you to look around each drain section with granular levels of detail and photos.
If required, we can also provide a .DXF file which you can import into your CAD system and use with an OS tile background.
Our comprehensive reports are produced to your exact specifications and are quickly delivered. In addition, our onsite engineers always work swiftly whilst minimising disruption in order to maintain our high level of customer service and provide you with a highly accurate drain map.
To summarise, RWB Group UK has the expertise and capability to take on all of your drain mapping and CCTV drain survey requirements.
Contact RWB Group UK for Drain Mapping
Drain mapping is essential to a wide range of industries and it’s also a vital part of drainage surveys. Surveyors, architects, highway authorities, local councils, and construction companies can all benefit from drain mapping services.
At RWB Group UK, we have a team of experienced engineers who provide drain mapping to all of these industries and can help them with planning, pollution prevention, and flood management.