FAQs

Looking for more information?

If have a query about any aspect of our service, our FAQs should provide the answer.

 

Accounts

How do I get a Property Searches account?

Go to register for an account. You can choose from a personal account or a company account. If you need any help registering please take a look at our helpful video on registering for an account.

I’ve got an account but I haven’t used it in a while. Can I still place an order?

Yes, if you’re an account holder you can order online or via the PISCES compliant XML channel. For more information about this system, please contact us.

What if I want the option to pay as I go and also on account?

That’s fine. If you register for a company account you can set up a credit facility but you’ll also be able to pay for orders via a payment card as you go.

I’ve forgotten my password, what should I do?

No problem. You can reset your password anytime at log in  using the forgotten password link.

How do I set up a secondary contact account if I am a primary user?

The primary user will set the new user up. They will set up an initial password and provide it to the secondary user so this can be used along with the e-mail activation link sent to them to log into their account the first time. They will be prompted to change their password immediately.

Products & services

What type of searches do you provide?

We offer domestic searches including Con29DW drainage and water search and a domestic water plan and connection check

Commercial searches including:

  • Standard A4 drainage and water search
  • Non-standard A1 drainage and A3 water search
  • Commercial mixed and small (e.g. shop & flat)
  • Commercial water plan and connection check

We can also provide additional products for A1 plans for larger commercial sites. We offer plans covering larger areas and extra connection checks if needed (additional charges apply).

What types of plans do you provide?

We provide sewer and clean water plans in the following sizes:

Sewer plan

  • A1 – scale at 1:1250

  • A3 – scale at 1:1250 , 1:2500 or 1:5000

  • A4 – standard scale at 1:1250 but will increase or decrease the scale to fit as appropriate. Where the scale is changed then the correct scale will be shown on the plan.

Please note that A1 sewer plans only show cover and invert levels, where available

Clean water plan

  • A1 – scale at 1:1250

  • A3 – scale at 1:1250 , 1:2500 or 1:5000 

  • A4 – standard scale at 1:1250 but will increase or decrease the scale to fit as appropriate. Where the scale is changed then the correct scale will be shown on the plan. 

Do your plans show private pipes?

The position of the underground apparatus shown on our plans is approximate only and is given in accordance with the best information currently available.  The actual positions may be different from those shown on the plan and private pipes, sewers or drains may not be recorded.  Private service pipes may be shown where a known record is available but it may be in your best interest making an appointment with either your local council to view the sewer records for free or with ourselves to view the water and sewer records at our Lingley Mere office in Warrington for free before purchasing a plan from ourselves.

In addition, prior to 1st October 2011 private sewers were the responsibility of the home owner and United Utilities had no obligation to hold records of these assets.  Since 1st October 2011 private sewers serving more than 1 property that are located within the curtilage of a property and sewers serving a single property from the main sewers in the road to the property curtilage became the responsibility of United Utilities within its operational area.  The current stance on recording these assets is on a reactive basis e.g. should the sewer fail in anyway.

Where can I find an up-to-date price list for all searches including connection checks?

Our website includes an automatically updated price list which can be found under the product and services tab at the bottom of the page.

Do you still offer expedited/fast track searches?

We no longer provide expedited searches. This is because with the new system we have in place, all searches benefit from the same level of comprehensive checks but now have an accelerated turnaround time, so in most cases results will be returned within two working days, no matter how complex the search. While we appreciate that some of our clients enjoyed our fast track service, we hope that you find the new system an overall improvement.

I want to view the sewer and water records free of charge

The regulated business United Utilities Water Ltd has to make both water and sewer records available to view for free. You can view the sewer records at your local authority (you’ll need to contact them direct to arrange this). If you wish to view both the water and the sewer records you can do so at United Utilities’ Lingley Mere offices based in Warrington. Property Searches manages the appointment diary on behalf of UU Water Ltd so please contact us on 03707 510101 to book an appointment.

Please note that due to the public sewer transfer, not all sewers are currently shown on the statutory sewer records and we do not always show private pipes on our plans.

I want to find out more information regarding building over your assets

If you are planning works anywhere in the North West then before you start work you'll need to check if it will affect our network. You’ll find more information on the United Utilities website here.

For information regarding building over a public sewer please take a look here

 

Placing an order

How do I know if my property is in your area?

Please use our postcode checker.

What if I haven’t got a postcode for the property or if the property is a new development or a plot of land?

When invited to enter the property details, select ‘pick the location using a map’ and enter either the street name or postcode (you may need to enter a nearby road name or postcode if it is a plot of land). Once you have selected the relevant address/postcode, use the map features to pan around, zoom in etc. until you have found the required property/area, then pick the location.

How do I log in to the ordering system?

You will need to register for an account. Once you’ve done this complete the account set up by activating the link in the registration email within 24 hours of receipt. Don't worry if you forget your password, you can request a new one from the forgotten password page. 

How do I place an order?

Log into your account and got to place an order and follow the steps.  If you want help check out our visual guide on placing an order

Enter the postcode or street name (or nearby alternatives if you don’t yet have these details). Draw the boundary around the property or site that you want the search completing on. Confirm this is the correct address or site. Create your own reference (this way you can track your searches easily). Select the search type and add it to your basket. Depending on your account type you’ll either be asked to pay up front by credit card or the order will be added to the monthly invoice. You'll receive your completed searches in PDF format (unless other format specified) within two to three working days.

Can I place more than one order at a time?

Once you have submitted an order for a particular property, you will then have the option of placing another order or finishing the session and logging out.

How do I select the area or property I want a search carried out for?

By drawing a polygon around the property and the boundary. Take a look at our visual guide to ordering

Can I order multiple searches?

It is one search per domestic property. However you can order additional connection checks for commercial properties.

Can I change an existing order?

Orders in your basket can be amended or cancelled prior to submission. Once an order has been submitted you will not be able to amend or cancel it. However, if you would like to add another product to this order please contact us (quoting the order reference).

What do I do if I made a mistake when placing an order but haven’t submitted it yet?

No problem, you can edit your order right up to the point you select to submit it. If you’ve already submitted an order but need to change some information, you’ll need to contact us so we can amend it.

How do I cancel an order?

If your order is pending you can cancel it, however if we have started processing your order we may not be able to cancel it. If you want to check please contact us and have your reference number to hand.

Please also refer to our cancellation policy.

What information do you need in order to ensure my order goes through first time?

When submitting your domestic, commercial or plan only search requests please ensure you provide full address details for single and /or multiple units/flats to avoid delays. If a search request has multiple connections such as a piece of land, or land and buildings you will be made aware of this at the time of placing the order. If you choose not to select an additional connection check your search will be completed on the address provided only, we will not query the search with you. This will prevent any delays and unwanted contacts when trying to confirm the connection details you require. 

What is a residential or domestic property?

A residential property is defined as a single dwelling-house together with any associated land, e.g. a garden that is, or is meant to be sold with the dwelling.

Advice for searching an apartment / flat

If the property you wish to search is an apartment or flat, the search will be completed on the apartment building as a whole, not the area of the building in which the flat is located (i.e. the left corner). When drawing the boundary, please select the whole property boundary for the apartment block as we will be checking if there is a sewer or water main within this boundary.

What is classed as a commercial property?

Commercial properties include plots of land up to 100 hectares, working farms, and more. For a full list of what falls within a domestic or commercial category, please see our products and services page

What if my commercial property has more than one connection?

We can provide extra connection checks as part of the standard or non-standard commercial searches, (not mixed and small) for industrial units, flats or shopping centers.

What if the site is very large (i.e. over 1square km)?

We can provide maps for additional areas. Our pricing structure for the A1 products is based on square km’s. The first square km is included in the product price, additional square km’s will incur additional charges, rounded to the nearest square km. When a polygon is drawn whilst placing the order, if the area is of a significant size, you will be advised that charges may be applicable. If these charges are applied then they will be clearly stated in the order summary. For more information on additional charges please check our price list.

The property I’m interested in is a small business/high street shop. Do I need to purchase a full price commercial search?

No, we provide a commercial mixed and small search, which provides the same details as a standard commercial search but for a smaller business. It can also include one extra connection check (for a domestic connection related to a small business).

Examples are a small single business i.e. corner shop; a small single business with a residential element attached i.e. shop/pub with flat; a small plot of land up to 100m2 with a single small building or no building.

What information do I need to ensure my search goes through first time?

When submitting your commercial search requests please ensure you provide full address details for single and/or multiple units/flats to avoid delays. For any search requests that do not require connection checks such as a piece of land please clearly confirm this when placing your orders.

We no longer query searches if “land at” has been submitted within the address details. They will be completed as a “plot of land” which means no connection details will be included. If you or your client requires the connection details, you will need to submit the request as the postal address or the occupier in the first instance. Once we have issued the report as “land at” we are not able to revise the report with connection details. This will result in you having place a new order if a commercial search is required with connection checks.

Who do I contact if I have an issue or complaint?

We strive to give you the best service possible, but if you found that things didn’t go quite to plan with your property search, please give us the chance to put things right by getting in touch with us - we take any issues or complaints seriously. Please contact us with details of your complaint. 

Search results

Who do I contact if I would like to discuss the range of reports available?

If you can’t find the information you need on our website, or you want to discuss search and report options with someone, please feel free to contact us. Our opening hours are 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday.

How long will it take to receive my search results?

We aim to return completed searches to within our standard SLA of 48 hours. Once ordered, you can track each search to find out what stage it’s at.

What’s the quickest I can get my results?

We aim to deliver results electronically within two working days. There may be cases where searches are particularly complex but, in these circumstances, we would still aim to get results back to you within two to three working days.

Can I cancel a search that I’ve ordered?

If your order is pending you can cancel it, however if we have started processing your order we may not be able to cancel it. If you want to check please contact us and have your reference number to hand.

Please also refer to our cancellation policy.

Do you still offer expedited/fast track searches?

We no longer provide expedited searches. This is because with the new system we have in place all searches will benefit from the same level of comprehensive checks but now have an accelerated turnaround time, so in most cases results will be returned within two working days, no matter how complex the search. While we appreciate that some of our clients enjoyed our fast track service, we hope that you find the new system an overall improvement.

What’s included in the domestic drainage and water search?

The CON29DW drainage and water search covers everything from water pressure to the risk of internal flooding from overloaded public sewers.

For commercial properties, our drainage and water searches include everything that the residential CON29DW offers, plus more complex details of easements, wayleaves, and trade effluent consents.

For details of what is included please take a look at the sample searches on the domestic page and the commercial page.

Do you cover searches for new builds or plots of land?

Yes. And because we use the up-to-the-minute Ordnance Survey Mastermap technology, most new builds already feature in our mapping tool. If not you can just upload a plan.

Which reports are available electronically?

All reports (including maps) are available electronically. Users will receive a link to their search report via email or they can go straight to the ‘my orders’ section of the website to download it. Reports will be available and accessible for 3 months on-line. 

Queries

How can I obtain updates regarding outstanding orders/overdue orders?

You will not be able get specific updates i.e. ‘search is with another water company’ but you will be able to check the status which is a good indicator of the progress. To get specific updates, you will need to call or raise a query.

Can I search for an order to query using my own reference ID?

Yes you can.  When you log into ‘my orders’ on the web site you will be presented with a full list of searches in date/time order with the oldest first. You can search for a particular query using one a number of filters;

  • PS order number (Property Searches)
  • Order status filter including pending – in progress – completed – awaiting customer instruction in – cancelled
  • Customer reference number
  • Date ordered
  • Search address

How do I raise a query?

If you wish to raise an order query, then go to ‘my orders’ section of your account and select the order that your query relates to. Within the order click on ‘raise a new query’, this will pre-populate all your details and enables you to raise a query specifically against that order.

If your query does not relate to an order then go to contact us and here you can enter all the details about your query

Can we get query responses sent to a specific email address?

This is a function that you can set up when creating your account. You have the following options to set up the following e-mail address

  • Group e-mail address
  • Query e-mail address
  • Report e-mail address
  • Invoice e mail address

Will I have easy access to a query history?

There will be a full query trail available including PS query reference, status, customer reference date and time submitted. . You can also attach documents to the website when raising a query via the website.

How can I check if I have received a response to a particular order query?

If you log into ‘my messages’ on the web site you will be presented with a full list of queries in date/time order with the oldest first. You can search for a particular order using one a number of filters;

  • PS query reference
  • Query status filter including pending – open – closed – awaiting customer instruction in
  • PS order number
  • Customer reference number
  • Date submitted

Will the mailbox still be covered if we send an email?

We will still be monitoring the mailbox so you can send an email.  However if you include our reference within that email it will create a task on the website where it will be dealt with.

What is the turnaround time for queries raised via the website?

We aim to close all queries raised via the website within 24 to 48 hours but some could take longer depending on what they are and if they require further investigation such as a site visit. You will be notified if the SLA increases for certain queries.

Payments & invoicing

How can I pay for my search?

However suits you really. You can by upfront (pay as you go) by credit or debit card, or you can settle afterwards (credit) by receiving an invoice, as long as you have an account facility set up with us. If you choose the latter, you have the additional options of paying by BACS or cheque. If you want the option of paying monthly on account you will need to register for a company account.

When I make a payment, how long will it take to get a receipt?

Receipts are now instant. We are aware that in the past you may have had to wait for a receipt, and we are sorry if it has caused you any inconvenience. However, your feedback allows us to improve the service we offer, so thank you for keeping us informed.

How long does it take to see a payment show on the website?

If you pay by card for either an order as you place it or for a monthly invoice the payment will show on your account straight away. Payment by cheque or bacs for monthly invoices will appear on your account within 3 working days.

What information should I include with my payment to make sure it reaches the right account?

If you are paying an invoice by either BACS or cheque please include a minimum of invoice number and company name as the payment reference so we can ensure your payment gets allocated correctly.

Can I get copies of my invoices?

You can raise a request with us to send you a copy invoice, however, you can view a summary of your invoice details within ‘my invoices’ when you’re logged in to your account.

How can I tell if the invoice you’ve sent me is correct as it is just a total amount?

You are able to download a report to reconcile your invoice total against the number of orders processed in that month. The report will contain all the information on searches completed in an invoice month of your choosing. Go to ‘my invoices’

Adobe Acrobat Reader

I don’t have the correct version of Adobe Acrobat Reader – how do I download the latest version?

You will need to have Adobe Acrobat version 5.0 or higher. Please use this link to download and install it by following the on-screen instructions.