Top 5 tips for speedy CON29DW returns

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Drainage and Water Searches Network (DWSN), we are developing a series of webinars delving into the questions contained within a CON29DW search.

Our first webinar, Top 5 tips for speedy CON29DW Returns, is now available on the DWSN YouTube Channel and below, which you can also access at It gives you insights into the key areas to focus on and answers questions raised by conveyancers during the session.

Here is an overview of the key points:

Tip1: Quality information upfront

  • Clean address. Ensure you have a full postal address if possible, or if it is a plot, provide as much information as you have available to help identify the right property to search.
  • Plan matches address. Check that the boundary highlights the correct property, for example, if a boundary is covering a whole retail park but only one unit is mentioned in the address then a search may be put on hold to clarify the address or request a new plan.
  • Not our area. Double-check that you are submitting the search to the correct provider. If it is incorrect the search will be cancelled and you will be advised, but this adds delay to the turnaround of your completed search. Use our postcode checker tool on
  • Correct product ordered. Selecting the right product for your search requirements will avoid unwanted queries and so, before submitting, confirm whether it is a residential or commercial property. Residential may seem more obvious, but if the property is:
    • a holiday let or an Airbnb type property, it will be allocated as a commercial property as it is a business venture. If it is transferring back to a residential property you will need to start the transfer process back to a residential before we can confirm a residential connection or bill
    • a large piece of land for development you will need a commercial search which, along with the standard questions, will provide other information such as manhole data
    • land or buildings used or proposed to be used for commercial activities, which includes offices, retail units, working farms, warehousing, development sites and commercial buildings used or intended to be used as dwellings – these would all require a CON29DW Commercial.

Tip 2: Where to order from?

  • Find the correct CON29DW supplier for your client’s address at
  • If the address borders two regions, or if the address is not in a member’s region, the tool will advise who you need to contact.
  • NAVs (new appointments and variations) are limited companies that provide water and/or sewerage services to customers in an area as an alternative to the traditional providers. This is often the case with large new development sites and the postcode look-up tool will advise you if the search falls within a NAV’s site and who you need to contact.

Tip 3: Common queries

  • Address queries. On residential searches the preference is for a postal address but some billing addresses will contain the current homeowner’s house name, so any additional information that can be provided upfront is really helpful to locate the correct account. For commercial properties, a current occupier or company name can help locate the correct address.
  • Billing queries. These tend to be linked in with address queries as knowing the billing address can be key to finding the correct connection address. If a water bill is requested, understanding the bill and which services are being supplied to that property can avoid any unnecessary delays. Some property owners may assume they are fully connected but their water bill might advise something different.
  • Land@ searches may include buildings within the boundary. This can lead to delays if the CON29DW provider is unsure if connections are wanted or not. DWSN members will check and confirm which connections are wanted or they will provide information on all connections within the boundary and this will need then checking with the relevant DWSN member.

Tip 4: Commercial vs Residential

  • Both the CON29DW Residential and CON29DW Commercial provide essential information on the property’s drainage and water assets including:
    • services for which the property is connected and the charging basis for those services
    • if there are any adoption agreements and building over consents
    • if there are any sewers within the boundary and within 100 feet
    • has the property suffered internal flooding from overloaded public sewers
    • identify the nearest public sewage treatment works as proximity to these works might diminish the enjoyment of outdoor space.
  • The CON29DW Commercial also includes:
    • additional questions essential for land planned for development
    • trade effluent consent license information and, where possible, key information regarding wayleaves and easements, as well as manhole cover, depth and invert levels.

Tip 5: Support available

For more information on CON29DW searches and DWSN head to Here you can access the postcode look-up tool to help find the right CON29DW provider and the contact details for your local DWSN member. If you have any detailed queries about a particular water or drainage area or issue – do contact your local provider, they have specialist expert teams who will be able to help you.

You can also find more videos on the DWSN YouTube Channel, these are great for induction packs and team updates and provide an in-depth look at individual questions within a CON29DW search.


The Drainage and Water Searches Network (DWSN) is an industry body for those who are responsible for producing full and complete responses to the CON29DW Residential and CON29DW Commercial searches. It promotes good practice in this specialist area and provides a forum for stakeholders to engage with the sector.

One Response

  1. Please please please can Conveyancer’s order official drainage and water searches. I am fed up with seeing enquiries; Please supply the water bill, please establish where surface water drains to because the search is unable to confirm. I have also seen many personal drainage and water searches whereby they confirm that the property is on mains drains when in fact there is a septic tank. Going to the official supplier of official drainage and water searches will get them cheaper. I find those are being returned in 24 hours. Sadly, Conveyancers do not seem to be able to interpret what the results of a personal drainage and water search means for their client.

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