Signs and Causes of Blocked Drains in Commercial Property

Signs and Causes of Blocked Drains in Commercial Property
29/04/2021 Joshua George

Most homeowners have experienced the frustration of blocked drains from one time to another. 

This usually presents itself in the form of a clogged toilet or sink and can generally be resolved quickly and relatively inexpensively. 

However, when drainage issues occur in commercial properties, the repercussions can be much more significant. The problems often go unnoticed for substantial periods, leading to more severe and costly issues to rectify. 

Environmental Considerations

Although this is often overlooked, properly disposing of wastewater is crucial to reducing your carbon footprint. The environmental impact of businesses is a cause many feel passionate about and an area where regulations are being made increasingly stricter. 

A flawed drainage system that is not maintained will inevitably lead to flooding – which could mean the local area becomes polluted. While the impact of a leak in a residential home might be relatively insignificant for the local area, it can be catastrophic for large business premises. 

This might seem like an extreme example, but it is unfortunately common.

Costing vast amounts to rectify, as well as inevitable business losses in the meantime. Depending on the business type, drainage issues can also cause reputational damage for companies, highlighting the long-term consequences. 

Who is Responsible?

Many business properties neglect their drainage system because they do not know it is their responsibility. 

For all drains, pipes and gutters around the business property, the business owner is responsible. This means if any leaks or blockages occur, the business owner must rectify them. The business is accountable for any drains up to the border of the property’s boundary. 

Whereas the pipes carrying sewage from the property are the responsibility of the local water company. The local water company also must maintain shared drains. 

Please note that the responsibility for the drains can differ significantly depending on your local area and specific situation, so before signing any lease or purchasing business premises, you should always check your responsibility. 

Causes of Drain Issues in Business Premises 

Toilets Are Often the Culprit

In most homes, people are generally cautious with what they flush, or attempt to flush down the toilet.

Unfortunately, when individuals enter a commercial property, this due diligence often flies out of the window. Especially relevant for businesses that welcome customers inside, toilets can cause massive problems. 

People regularly flush nappies and sanitary products, which can cause blockages and significant damage to your plumbing system. 

Fat and Grease

Unfortunately, businesses in the food and hospitality industry are the most likely to experience regularly blocked drains. 

Food particles, including grease and fat, block up our plumbing systems exceptionally quickly, and there is very little that can be done to dissolve these blockages without professional assistance.

So, preventing food from accessing the drain through meticulous cleaning and use of drain covers is essential.  


If your business premises are on a building site or an industrial estate, new structures are likely popping up regularly. Therefore, it is common for concrete to make its way into your pipes. 

When concrete sets in your pipes, it can dramatically slow the rate at which water can flow through, eventually leading to some form of blockage.

If the concrete falls into the pipe on a bend, the immediate results will undoubtedly be disastrous. Nothing will pass, and you will have a build-up on your hands in a matter of hours. 

3 Clear Signs of a Blocked Drain

Spotting a blocked drain on your business premises is not as straightforward as it might seem. However, catching the problem early is essential to keep your business running smoothly.  

Firstly, the most common sign of a blocked drain is a bad smell. If a pungent odour begins to penetrate your workplace, you have likely got some form of plumbing problem. 

Secondly, slow water drainage is another cause for concern. When water is struggling to move through your pipes, it will inevitably take longer for your sinks and toilets to empty. If you notice this time increasing, it is time to call professional help. Because the water is still moving, albeit slowly, the problem may be slightly easier to rectify.

Thirdly, strange sounds coming from the drains. Gurgling sounds when water is draining through the plug should always be investigated. These sounds are usually caused by air trapped in the drain due to a partial blockage in the pipe.

What to Do If You Discover A Blockage

A blockage on business premises can cause severe problems and even stop cash flow for a period. 

For businesses, CCTV drain surveys often provide the best solution. The plumbing systems on these larger premises are often highly complex, and a CCTV drain survey allows the drains to be assessed in a non-invasive way. 

This means the least amount of stress and disruption will be caused to your business and, crucially, to your neighbours. 

The drain survey will locate the problem, and the professionals will recommend a bespoke solution to your issue, which might include drain jetting. 

For businesses, it is always best to have a regular maintenance plan in place.

Many companies are opposed to a maintenance plan, fearing that the time and money could be better spent elsewhere.

However, considering this as an element of your insurance policy is crucial. Regular monitoring will help prevent any build-ups and save you substantial time and money in the long run. 

How FS Drainage can Help

FS drainage is a friendly team of drain experts based in the South East. We pride ourselves on delivering excellent service and providing the most efficient solutions. We are contactable 24 hours a day, every day of the year. 

Our team is trained to the highest standard, and our equipment is the best.

CCTV drain surveys are one of the core services we offer. We understand the value of getting issues rectified and having your business back up and running quickly. 

For any drainage issues in the South-East contact the team at FS Drainage today.

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