A Section 104 agreement (under the Water Industry Act 1991) is an agreement between a developer and a sewerage company for the adoption of sewer systems for development. There are strict rules for getting an agreement that can be a minefield for developers. The process is often on the critical path of a project and decisions related to it can have a huge impact on costs. In Wales, mandatory building standards require that an agreement be in place under Section 104 before development can progress. Since this legislation is likely to be implemented in England, it is essential that all stakeholders in housing projects understand the process. A smooth design and submission process often means that sewers are easier to accept and that attachment to the developer can be reduced – often leading to a faster and more cost-effective construction program. For water management strategies to be successfully approved and for an agreement to be reached under Section 104, it is important to assess the needs of each site in order to provide the optimal solution. The path to an agreement under Section 104 begins with an initial flood risk assessment and takes into account drainage requirements for the entire area to ensure that local surface water sanitation and drainage systems are taken into account and not overburdened. The newly elected Conservative government has committed to creating 275,000 affordable housing units by 2020. In this context, the volume of applications for section 104 agreements is expected to increase exponentially.

To avoid delays and additional costs for their projects, developers need to consider drainage planning and make important decisions – including material selection – as soon as possible. Home / Features / Getting to Grips With… Section 104-Agreements All section 104 agreements last several years before being concluded. In recent years, however, there has been a situation where Malenic sewers have been accepted, but not surface water. This is because, for some developments, the rotten assets were transferred to public ownership when the canal was transmitted in 2011, but the associated surface water facilities remained under an S104 agreement. This is generally the case when surface water is discharged into a stream and not into the public system, meaning that it is not eligible for automatic transmission in 2011.

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