Northern Ireland Water in wrangle with house builder over sewer charges

A war of words has broken out in Northern Ireland over the cost of sewer bonds – the charge housing developers must pay for approval and adoption of sewers and facilities.

According to Jamesy Hagan, managing director of the Province’s biggest housebuilder, the charges levied by the publicly-owned NI Water were “excessive and unjustified”. Hagan claimed the costs were stalling new-build housing schemes.

He insisted the NI charges under the 161 agreement were “the most expensive bonds of any UK region and this cost is being ultimately passed on to the homebuyer.” He added: "Our major concern is that in Northern Ireland this bond is 40% of the cost of the construction of the sewers, compared to just 10% in England," he said.

NI Water said: “The bond ensures developers have enough financial cover to fulfil their obligations to complete sewer connections to the standard required by NI Water for adoption.” The company said that the bonds were legally mandatory and based on a percentage of the estimated cost of the works.

“Both NI Water and the NI Department for Infrastructure have undertaken a significant review of the bond requirements and has found them to be comparable with other UK water companies. The department engaged with relevant stakeholders including the Construction Employers Federation during that review process.”