Understanding the existing drainage system built underneath your property can help in a multitude of ways. It supports you in making informed decisions about repairs and the removal of waste. It gives you a clearer understanding of the state of an older building and helps you to understand whether repairs or upgrades may be needed shortly. CCTV Drain Surveys are one of the best ways that a professional specialist can help you tick all these boxes and more. But what are they? And what do they involve?

What is a CCTV Drain Survey?

CCTV drain technology allows you to clearly inspect and view the condition of an existing drainage system with a camera system. This is fed through the pipes and records video footage while also capturing and storing relevant data too. It has become an essential way for professionals to easily identify problems and for homeowners to understand what they’re buying into. CCTV Drain Surveys can be used to inspect and survey:

  • Underground drains
  • Sewers
  • Culverts
  • Related drainage assets

They do this in a safe and hands-off manner – no one has to climb down or excavate in order to gain this clear understanding. And, on occasions, they are also used to examine overground pipework like rainwater downpipes, ducting systems and process pipes.

What are they used for?

There are several reasons why it may be necessary to have a CCTV Drain Survey on a property.

Property Purchase

As potential new owners of a property, you need to have a clear understanding of what you’re investing in. Long-term issues and damage with underground pipework can lead to significant issues in the future and high-cost repairs. These surveys give you a clearer understanding of potential risks and faults in the drain system, both before you purchase and before they become a significant problem.

New Builds

When construction companies embark on a new build project, CCTV Drain Surveys give information about drain connectivity. This allows architects and structural engineers to design drainage systems that merge with mains connections and meet the necessary regulations in that area.


Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM) strategies are put in place ahead of time as a means to reduce the risk of high-cost and high-damage accidents. Drain surveys provide a means to analyse the existing drainage system, even when it’s in normal working order, and initiate any necessary repairs with enough time ahead.

Identify specific problems

CCTV Drain Surveys are one of the best ways to identify the cause of recurring or persistent blockages in your drains. They give information about poor flow rates, potential nesting pets, build-up of grime/grease or pollution incidents that could all contribute to issues around the home or commercial building.

Pre-Adoption Condition Inspections

When a contractor is drafted in to build a new building, they are required to pass over relevant information to the new owner about the condition of the building. During inspections, they will need to show the condition of the drainage assets and prove that they are in fit working order for purpose. These surveys provide a structured way to do this.

Planned Repairs

When repair work is scheduled to deal with potential drainage issues, surveys provide a means to check on progress and identify any escalation in the previous issue.

What type of information is gathered during a survey?

During a CCTV Drain Survey, a camera is passed throughout the pipes in a drainage system. Here, it can easily draw in videographic, photographic and statistical information it needs to help identify problems. The type of information returned varies, depending on the need, but you can get the following:

  • Information to help create a map of the drainage system.
  • Information about the location of mains lines, manholes, surface drains etc
  • Information about the full length of running pipes
  • Information about the flow rates and direction of water flow
  • Information about the gradient of each pipe as it flows along
  • Information about defects and breaks in pipework
  • Information required to create topographical surveys
  • Information required to created 3D maps
  • Information required to create CGP surveys

What equipment is required?

The specialist equipment used during a CCTV Drain Survey has been specifically manufactured and designed for purpose. Specifically, the cameras that are designed to work effectively in these cramped and dark environments. There are two main types of drainage cameras – robotic crawler cameras and push cameras.

Robotic crawler cameras

These modern cameras use LED lighting and are controlled externally by the surveyor. They move throughout the pipe with articulated arms and a rotating camera head that gains a full view of the surroundings. The data recorded here is HD-quality and provides the best information for whatever purpose.

Push cameras

These are more suitable for smaller pipes, those with bends or those fitted vertically, where robotic crawlers aren’t ideal. They also have LED lights and cameras but, instead of moving independently, are attached to a flexible rod that can be moved through the pipes by a survey operative.

The importance of professionals with CCTV Drain Surveys

It is vital that you work with a professional drainage specialist when undertaking CCTV surveys. This will ensure that no extra damage is caused, expensive machinery isn’t lost throughout the process and that you gain all the correct information that you need. We recommend asking for the following things when doing your research:

  • Accreditations
  • Testimonials and reviews from past clients
  • Information about the machinery and equipment that are on hand and whether there are any options for more specialist work.
  • Access to relevant technology to make sure the information can be collated and structured into a legible, helpful survey
  • Access to other relevant information such as 3D mapping programmes or topography surveys, if required for your means.

Here at West Country Drainage, we have a team of specialist engineers on hand to help examine the quality of your drainage systems remotely. If you would like more information, you can contact a member of our knowledgeable team today and we will be happy to discuss your requirements.