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CCTV Pipe Inspections

What’s a CCTV pipe inspection?

A CCTV drain inspection is a simple and effective operation that involves the insertion of a high-tech camera into a storm water or sewer pipe in order to diagnose the condition of your property’s plumbing system. The sophisticated closed circuit television (CCTV) surveying system is an innovation in the plumbing sector, assisting qualified CCTV operator to surveying ageing infrastructure and deteriorating or damaged pipes. The pipe camera is able to travel down your pipes or drains without breaking into walls or resorting to costly excavations. Instead, these pipe and sewer cameras are able to enter your plumbing scape through existing landing valves and hydrants, in most external cases, and through existing tap outlets in internal cases.

Why would I need one?

Australia, like much of the developed world, is suffering from failing infrastructure. Whether it’s from ageing construction or faulted development, pipes and drain around Sydney homes and properties are starting to show the wear and tear of time. Combine weakening construction with an ever increasing urban population and urban sprawl and you’ll find there is growing pressure on our water networks. CCTV drain inspections are the most convenient and cost-effective way to ensure your pipes are fully functional, safe and not wasting money and H20 via undetectable water leaks. We’ll often be called out for a plumbing emergency where a specific problem will need to be detected. These plumbing emergencies include:


  • Blocked drains

  • Tree root damage

  • Cracked or burst drains

  • Squashed pipes

  • Corroded or deteriorated pipes

  • Foreign objects causing blockages

  • Burst water mains

  • Pin hole leaks


In the past, such plumbing problems could result in costly excavations. Disturbances to your home life and/or business operations were inevitable and damage to your property an unwanted side effect. Today, CCTV drain and pipe inspections ensure your plumbing problems are dealt with simply and effectively. Saving on both money and time.


Are CCTV pipe inspections only needed in a plumbing emergency?

No, many people use CCTV inspections to simply map their pipes, establishing where they lead to and ensuring that they are within property boundaries. Often your local council may request that you provide them with a sewer pipe CCTV inspection whilst you are in the middle of the building approval process as apart of their ‘Pre and Post Construction’ requirements. For older homes and buildings, particularly government, business or commercial premises, CCTV drain and pipe inspections are an economical way to ensure and maintain the safety of your infrastructure and to identify any problems such as corrosion, leaks and internal or external damage.

However, if you are the unfortunate casualty of a plumbing emergency a quick CCTV inspection of your pipes and drains is the ideal way to spot the problem. While water-jet blasting and sanny snakes may provide an immediate fix, plumbing blockages usually correlate with an underlying pipe or drain injury. Forgoing CCTV inspection at the time of a plumbing emergency means leaving your pipes vulnerable to further damage, and potentially exacerbated costs.


How is the drain inspection preformed?

A plumber performs a drain inspection by sending a specially designed drain camera down into the interior of your plumbing.

Essentially this is a CCTV (closed circuit TV) system placed at the end of a long, flexible rod. By inserting this rod down the length of the pipe the operator is able to examine the interior condition of the pipes or drains, by viewing the HD footage relayed back to the operator’s tablet or screen.

If any problems are detected, such as a pinhole leak, tree-root damage or corrosion, the plumber can record the footage for future playback. This way your plumber can come to a conclusion about the most effective solution for repair.

The best thing about CCTV drain inspections is that your plumber is able to examine your pipes and find the exact site of the problem without having to dig away at your property of break through your walls.

Prior to CCTV inspections, plumbing problems would often lead to costly and time consuming excavations. Roads would be closed, businesses would be unable to operate and your home would be rendered unliveable for the days contractors were on your property.

Now, with the combination of CCTV inspections and new Pipe Relining Solutions, plumbers are able to deal with plumbing problems through existing openings meaning minimal downtime and destruction.


So why are CCTV drain inspections so useful?


  • There’s no digging or destruction.

  • There’s minimal downtime with pipe relining solutions.

  • Fewer operators and less time is needed resulting in lower costs.

  • Our HD camera operating systems allows technicians to see exactly what is wrong and;

  • Footage can be recorded to DVD for council or property owner reviews.


Will a CCTV pipe inspection cause damage to my property?

No, the beauty of CCTV pipe inspections are the convenience. Designed to use the existing fittings in and around your property CCTV drain cameras use landing valves and hydrants in external situations and established tap outlets in internal situations, as entry and exit points. Even large strata apartments, commercial and industrial sites can undergo pipe and drain inspections without enduring damage to their property. Residents do not have to relocate, business operations are not affected and property owners potentially save thousands.


Can I detect a water leak myself?

Yes, water leaks can be extremely costly and wasteful and all Australians are encouraged to be proactive in monitoring their water use. Regularly checking taps, pipes and fittings on your property  helps us all save water and helps you save your hard-earned cash. Some leaks are more difficult to detect than others, this quick guide to detecting water leaks should help you out.


Quick Guide to Checking for Leaks


Where should I look for leaks?

Inside the Home: Check your kitchen, bathroom and laundry for dripping taps and damp patches on the wall. You can check if your toilet is leaking by placing a few drops of food colouring in the cistern. Don’t flush it, simply make yourself a cup of tea and when you’re done, check to see if any of the food colouring has made its way into the toilet bowl. If it has you’ve got a leak.

Outside the Home: Whilst out tending to your garden have a quick look at garden taps/hoses, garden reticulation, manual isolation valves and automatic solenoids for leaks. Exposed pipe work (often found in older homes over brick walls) should also be examined as it’s particularly vulnerable to corrosion.

Check the exterior of air conditioning units and pay particular attention to ageing hot water systems. Brick paving or garden areas that are damp or unstable and grass that is more moist or greener than you’d expect, could indicate you have an underground leak. If you suspect you’ve got an underground water leak, we recommend you call a plumber straight away. These are your biggest water guzzlers, wasting precious H20 and money.


How can I detect a leak?

Conduct a leak detection test yourself by following these simple steps:

Step 1: Make sure no water is being used by turning off all water appliances (washing machines, dishwashing machines and air-conditioning units).

Step 2:  Write down the red and black numbers on your water meter.

Step 3: If the dial is not visibly moving, take another reading in 15 minutes to half an hour.

Step 4: If on your return the red numbers have changed it’s highly likely you have a leak in your home and a further investigation is required.


Can I repair a leak myself?

No, the PCA ensures that plumbing is highly regulated across the states and territories. In NSW a license is required before any plumbing, draining or gas fitting work.


State government building approvals and CCTV inspections

If you’re a property owner, developer or consultant operating in Sydney, you’ll have to familiarise yourself with Sydney Water’s approval process and advise of their requirements when excavating or building over or adjacent to a Sydney Water water or wastewater asset.

Those hoping to excavate or build over or adjacent to a stormwater asset must use the Sydney Water Guidelines for Building Over or Adjacent to Stormwater Assets.

During the time of your proposal the council may request a CCTV camera inspection.  Your CCTV Inspection Report will include:


  • A detailed description of pipe, drain and stormwater locations.

  • The name of builder and/or developer.

  • The date and time of inspection.

  • Our technician’s expert observations.

  • A video record of the inspection on thumb drive or DVD.

  • Photos of detected faults or defects.

  • Records of conduit length and;

  • A detailed operator’s report.


The council will often insist that the survey be re-carried out following the completion of building operations in order to ensure that no damage or changes have been made to the drainage and sewer systems in the zoned area.


Drain inspections, maintenance and your property

If you’re the owner or manager of a large property such as a construction site, apartment block, institution or office building you’re going to want to ensure you have scheduled CCTV drain inspections. Our maintenance services include sewer cameras, leak detections and regular drain cleanings to ensure your operations are free from blockages, chemical damage or object intrusion. These routine inspections and cleanings are an easy way for you to budget in your maintenance and prevent troublesome plumbing emergencies. Check out our commercial plumbing page for more information.