How Much Does a CCTV Drain Survey Cost? (In 2024)

Keith Baker

By Keith Baker

Last Updated on May, 2024

Let me guess, all of a sudden you remember about the huge labyrinth of drains and water supplies under your feet. Searched all corners of your property’s drainage system and couldn’t find it. And now you’ve landed on the last best option, A DRAIN SURVEY. 

But, how much does it cost? The cost that you will have to incur to perform a drain survey can vary based on several different factors. We will be looking in detail into all these factors in this article so be sure to stick around!

Quick Summary

  • The cost of a CCTV drain survey can range from £90 to £500, with an average cost of £250 for a standard-sized house.
  • Factors such as the size of the property, level of inspection, and additional services can affect the cost of a drain survey.
  • It is recommended to hire experienced and qualified contractors for a CCTV drain survey, as attempting a DIY survey can lead to further complications and expenses.

What is the Cost of a Drain Survey?

drain survey taken in a house

Compared to the CCTV drain survey cost in the past, the cost has reduced considerably in recent times. As I mentioned earlier, the price, inspection and reporting of the survey can vary mainly based on the size of the property. So how much does a CCTV drain survey cost now? 

Typically, the cost for a camera inspection is between £90 to £500, with the average being £250 for a standard-sized house. £90 is the cost of a basic drain survey to identify the problems.

The drain survey cost estimates and time taken to perform a drain camera inspection are shown below.

Survey DescriptionTime ScaleLabour CostEquipment CostTotal Cost
Basic survey to spot drain blockages 1 hour£90 £0£90
Basic inspection of drain and sewer 1 to 2 hours£150£0£150
Using CCTV cameras to locate sewer and drain blockages 1 to 3 hours£250£0£250
Complete survey with drain mapping3 to 4 hours£350£0£350
In depth inspection with Robotic crawler CCTV cameras1 to 3 hours£250£100£350
Complete survey with Push CCTV drainage cameras3 to 4 hours£300£200£500

Labour Costs 

Labour costs depend on the size of your property and the type of survey you want. The minimal expense that you will incur would be £90 to get a basic drain survey done to identify blocked drains. 

The maximum you would spend is £300 for labour costs to get a full drain survey with Push CCTV drainage cameras.

Additional Costs

Once the drain survey has been completed you will have other follow-up tasks to complete as well. And of course, they come with a price tag as well! 

  • Right after the drainage survey is completed you will need to clean and unclog the drains. This will take around 1 to 2 hours and cost you about £100
  • If any drainage issues are identified in the survey, you will need to repair the breakage. This is a pretty heavy job which can take between 1 to 2 days and will cost around £850
  • You might even need to install a soakaway drain. This is also a pretty hefty job that can take up to 3 days to complete. Depending on the litre of soakaway you choose, the cost can range between £500 to £1000. The cost can vary from service provider to another as well.

How is the Drain Survey Cost Calculated?

a picture of a drain survey test

I’ve already said a couple of times that the cost of a drain survey varies based on several factors. 

  • The size of the drain and pipe system.
  • Labour costs: It is the most significant part of any drain survey cost. This means that it will cost more when you need emergency drain surveys on public holidays, weekends or after normal working hours. 
  • Easy accessibility: If drains are not easily accessible more time and equipment will be needed. This can increase the cost of the survey. 
  • Amount of blockages: If the amount of blockages and existing problems in your property’s drains are high, there will be more work required, which will take longer to complete as well. This will also result in a higher cost.
  • Type of drain inspection: As I discussed above, drain inspections can be done at different levels, from the basic CCTV drain survey to a more comprehensive CCTV survey with a detailed report. 
  • Additional costs: Cleaning and unblocking can be done in addition to the survey, which means more time and money will have to be incurred. 

Time Taken to Conduct Drain Surveys

Drainage problems in the past were dealt with a full drain excavation, which takes weeks to complete. But now, with the help of modern technology, drain surveys can be completed within a few hours. 

Each drain survey can differ based on the perimeter of your property. A smaller-sized property means the survey can be completed within a short period. An average CCTV drain survey will take between 1 to 4 hours.

A property with a larger perimeter like a commercial building will have a much more complex drainage system. This can take much longer as the CCTV has to cover every nook and cranny to ensure an extensive and thorough survey. 

What Happens in a Drain Survey?

Drain surveys are done to inspect the drainage system of your property. This involves spotting and pinpointing blockages, leaks, and other possible drain issues. The basic steps to a drain survey are as follows:

CCTV Inspection

The drain surveyor you hired will come with equipment to inspect the drains. The equipment includes a waterproof camera, remote-controlled crawlers, access rods, and solar units.

After setting up everything and getting access to the drainage pipes, the drainage expert will place the CCTV camera inside the drain. The camera will be pushed through the entire pipe system with the help of the access rods. 

CCTV Drainage Survey

After the CCTV camera has done its job of inspecting the entire drainage system, the CCTV footage is fed back to the drainage expert.

The condition of the drains and the drain system will be examined once the footage is ready. Possible blockages, rusts, corrosions or infestations can all be discovered through the footage. 


The findings of the survey can be quickly assessed and the drain survey report will be created with information regarding the condition of the drain. Depending on this drain experts will give you recommendations and advice on what you have to do next.

After discussing with the technician you can decide on how to solve the issues and repair the pipes. Especially if it is an issue that has to be addressed urgently.

Types of Drain Surveys

Local drain experts offer two types of surveys. A basic survey or a complete survey with a detailed written report. Either basic or complete surveys can be done for different purposes like locating blockages, drain inspection and drain mapping. 

Basic CCTV Drain Survey

With basic CCTV drain surveys the investigation is done, followed up by drain experts describing to you what are the drain issues that have been identified. But by the end of the survey, you will not be getting any drainage report or CCTV footage.

Complete CCTV Drain Survey

The full CCTV drain survey is a much more comprehensive survey which not only includes the investigation itself but also a full drain survey report and a copy of the CCTV footage. This detailed drainage report consists of:

  • Condition report for all the drains
  • A drainage map of your property
  • Still images and footage received from the camera

When Do You Need a Drain Survey?

a man taking a drain survey test

By now you will have good knowledge of how a drain survey will be done and how much it costs. But, when do you need to do a drain survey?

Mostly when you are facing continuous issues with your drains when you’re planning on any modifications to your property and for several other reasons. The most common reasons are:

Bad Odour 

If you ever get a bad smell coming from your drains, that’s a sign you need a CCTV drain survey. This can be because of the build-up of clogged hair, soap, dirt, grime or other bodily debris which gets washed off. 

This can block up your drain and could be the culprit for the bad odour. You will have to perform a drain survey to locate where the block is. 


When planning for extensions or any modifications to your property, you must have the drainage plan in your hand. If you don’t have it, there are several people or institutions through whom you can get the plans.

But if you are not able to get it, the next best thing that you can go for is a CCTV drain survey. It can help you to map out your property’s drainage system.

Blocked Drains

Clogging and backing up of water can cause blocked drains. If water comes out slowly after use; you hear funny noises or you are experiencing poor drainage, it’s a sign that your drains are blocked. Especially if the drains least used are having trouble working well.

Water Backing Up

Normal plumbing can be the reason for a lot of plumbing issues and sewer backup in some other place in the drain. Like I said before, if your toilet makes weird and unusual noises, it’s a sign that water is blocked. 


When bathing, showering or even washing your hands, if you notice bubbles forming near your drains it means air can be trapped as water is trying to flow through. You will need a CCTV drain survey to find the problems. 

Toilets Not Flushing

If you notice your toilet not flushing properly and is not fixed with plunging, it means the issue is in the drainage system. A drain survey is the most viable option to find a solution. (Discover about our Blocked Toilet Service.)


It is always recommended that, when both buying or selling a property, a drain survey must be completed. This is primarily required because insurers and mortgage providers need the drain survey before getting involved with the property. 

Apart from that, you can know if the blockages, collapsed pipes, intrusions or any other damages. This is especially handy when you are a buyer, to know about the maze underneath as it can help to negotiate on the property price. 

Building Over 

It is extremely critical to carry out a thorough drain survey before you build over your current drainage system. This is to ensure that no blockage is trapped within the system itself and to prevent future drain blockages and other issues.

Making sure you don’t have to incur additional costs for repairs later. 

What Will You Find From a Drain Survey?

a drain survey machine near a drainage

Typically, drain surveys are done to find out about any existing or potential issues with your drainage system. The most common findings you get in a drain survey report are:

Collapsed Drains

Regular blockages and flooding can be the reason for collapsed drains, and it can be tough to notice too. Water flowing slowly, malodour, and damp buildings are signs of a collapsed drain. 

If a collapsed drain is found, the ground has to be excavated before repairing and replacing the pipes.

You can see what we got in our Drain Repair Service.


Blockages are very common issues with drains, and tree roots can be the main reason for that. It can seep through cracks in the pipe. It can make it harder for water to pass through resulting in a slow flow. If you experience poor drainage, it can be a drain blockage.


Basic wear and tear, corrosion, and rust are typical issues that happen to all drainage systems at some point. Older properties tend to face this issue more. 

This can happen to metal pipes after reacting to minerals and chemicals, along with typical rust from dirt, air and water. If water starts to flow colder or with malodour, it can be because of corrosion. 

Animal Invasion

Your drains can become safe warm shelters for tiny animals during winter. And of course, this can cause so many issues in your drainage system. Diseases like fleas, ticks, salmonella and tuberculosis can reach your property’s interior through these animals.

If you suspect an infestation, immediately contact the pest control to first clear the area. Once completed, you can get a drain survey done to examine if any part of the drain is damaged.

Hiring Contractors for Drain Survey Checklist

When you are hiring contractors you must look into their prices and services well. Some companies will offer to clear minor drain blockages during the survey for free. While some will charge extra, so make sure to compare the options.

  • Firstly, make sure that you contact several contractors to see all the different options you can get. 
  • Your surveyor must have the right qualifications including a completed certified CCTV drain surveying training course.
  • Make sure that your surveyor has past experience and is fully authorised. Ask for any previous references from their previous projects.
  • Get an agreement signed with your chosen surveyor before starting the project. Make sure that both are clear on the job description and the costs.
  • Once the survey is completed, don’t forget to get a payment confirmation or receipt, just so that you can avoid any disputes in the future. 

Is a DIY Drain Survey Possible?

You might be wondering, you’ve got so much insight on CCTV drainage surveys, so why not do it by yourself and save up some money? Is it possible?

Well, to do a drain survey by yourself, you need to get all the required equipment. You will have to buy or hire Industrial standard cameras, drain rods and all other equipment that are needed.

You can even buy these items through an online store, but having a cheap setup can malfunction or break, just causing more problems. 

And not just that, you more importantly need EXPERIENCE to understand the footage and spot the existing problems. Along with removing the minor blockages you find. 

Using the drain rods also must be done carefully, as if not you might end up leaving equipment in the drain itself. This simply means you’re making it worse and causing more blockages. And you will have to end up getting professional assistance to remove them. 

Doing a drain survey is not entirely impossible, you might end up just spending even more to get all the equipment and even in the case of you messing up as well. So, in my point of view, getting professional assistance would be much wiser.


And now, to conclude, a CCTV drain survey cost can be from £90 to £500, and an average CCTV drain survey costs around £250

To determine a more accurate cost for your property, there are several factors to be considered, like the size, accessibility, number of blockages, type of inspection, labour cost and additional costs.

You must also be very careful with the contractor you hire to perform the drain survey. They must have completed a certified CCTV drain surveying training course and must have worked on previous projects.

Make sure to consult several contractors and see what they have to offer, before finalising who you are going to hire. Make sure to get a receipt of payment once the survey is completed.


No, it is not recommended to do a drain survey yourself. The specialized equipment, training, and experience needed for a proper survey can make it difficult and may lead to additional costs.

Yes, if you notice any of the following signs – malodour, water backing up, bubbles forming around your drains, or your drains being blocked – it is recommended to conduct a drain survey. Additionally, if you are considering extensions, building over, or buying or selling your property, a drain survey is necessary.

  • Industrial standard waterproof cameras to get high-quality images and footage of the drain.
  • Access rods to push the cameras through the drainage system.
  • Remote-controlled crawlers are used to get quick visual access to the drainage system.
  • Sonar units are used to investigate the condition of a filled pipe where getting visual images is not possible.

Knowing how to prevent drain blockages can save you so much money in the long run. Some of the most common practices are as follows:

  • Don’t pour grease, oils or fats into the drain. Instead, contact the local water authority and find out how to dispose of them in an appropriate manner.
  • Avoid flushing non-biodegradable products down waste pipes. They can cause build-up and blockages. This even includes the wipes which are advertised as ‘flushable’.
  • Regularly use a drain unblocker product to remove any small blockages in the drains. 
  • Make sure to use a plug screen over your bathroom and kitchen plugholes to avoid hair, unwanted food or other waste from entering the drain. 

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