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 08-19-2001, 21:02 Post: 31088
cutter



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 Plumbing Nightmare in New Barn

The floor was poured in my barn last Tuesday. I spent several days prior to that in 100 degree heat making sure the plumbing, drains and water supply were installed perfectly (by doing it myself). Yesterday while inspecting the inside of the building I noticed that one of my 2" standpipes attached to a 4" main sewar line was tilted considerably. I thought it was struck by the skid steer used to level the floor before the pour, not a big deal, until I checked outside. The young man running the skid steer had needed a bit more material and took it upon himself to grab some gravel from the corner of my building (an area rich with 4-5 feet of fill. He severed the marking stake for my water line and kinked the plastic, then proceded to raise his bucket enough to catch the end of the 4" sewar discharge and raised it several inches in doing so. I am surprised it did not break under the floor. Now the line must be lowered. I dumped two buckets of water into it and nothing runs out, the low spot can be seen by looking into the discharge end. My question is this. I would have to tunnel under the pipe and floor aproximately four feet to fix this problem. Once I clear under the pipe, it would have to be lowered by hammering the 2" riser down through the floor a couple of inches. The fiberglas re-enforced cement is 4-5" thick in that corner. Could this be accomplished without breaking the cement? Would the pipe be loose enough to travel downwards by using a wooden block and mallet, or will I need to drill the concrete around it? On the other hand, if I leave it alone, I can get the outlet down by forcing the pipe. Will it run sufficientlly with perhaps 2" of standing water in a low spot before it hits a decline angle? Are there any other options? I am not sure yet what the builder will offer, I left him a message to call me, but I am a bit skeptical. Needless to say, I am sick over this having to be done.






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 08-20-2001, 07:52 Post: 31101
Craig Dashner



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 Plumbing Nightmare in New Barn

If it was your fault, I would suggest trying what you are suggesting, but since it was a company who did this, I would push for a correct fix. If I get the gist of what you are saying, the pipe was lifted outside the building, causing it to be lifted inside as well? If water pools in the droop, any debris, oil or grease will pool there as well and will likely cause a problematic drain (In my opinion). I think your best bet would be to have the concrete guy come in and saw cut the floor and remove a section to access the pipe and be able to replace it (make them put a new pipe in) to the correct grade. Make the cut to access the pipe as simple as possible (ie. cutting out a corner of the slab or a trench, stick to a 3 sided cut no zig zags). Make sure the material around the pipe gets compacted well, every 9"-12". Then pour concrete to patch. Good luck!






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 08-20-2001, 08:38 Post: 31103
TomG

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 Plumbing Nightmare in New Barn

It does sound like a nightmare. Too bad. It also sounds like the builder's problem, That’s what bonding and insurance is for. I guess something like that would really mess up the builder's weekend and reluctance to make a return phone call would be understandable. Maybe a call will come today. I don't have building expertise and if it were me I'd get a second opinion about acceptable remedies. The situation sounds a little tricky, and maybe neither the builder nor you is in a position of identifying a 'good as original' remedy. Questions like ‘How do I know the drain isn’t really broken or might break ‘or’ how do I know the slab won’t crack after a year of frost heave’ would plague my mind. Other problems might be that a homeowner may accept a drain with a low spot but a building inspector might not. It's tough call, but I'd want to be sure that a proposed remedy is adequate and avoid getting sucked into some naive patch-up scheme. It is the builder's problem and a nightmare, but that's the price of doing business. Cooperation is good, but it's not a customer's role to make a vender feel good. For sources of second opinions, we once got an opinion at not too great a cost--good thing too. We contacted an engineering firm for an inspection of abandoned commercial buildings on a property. The PEng said we actually didn't need his expertise (or hourly rate). The company used a guy with good knowledge but no PEng for a lot of their fieldwork. The PEng said this guy's opinions seldom differed from his anyway. The price was right, and the only drawback was that the engineering company said they wouldn't warrant the evaluation. The report wasn't on company letterhead and the company wouldn't accept liability for the recommendations. Sounded fair enough to me.






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 08-20-2001, 09:49 Post: 31106
Murf

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 Plumbing Nightmare in New Barn

Cutter, Tom's comments are bang on. Do NOT let them attempt some 'easy fix', this situation is a MAJOR problem. The drain will let fluids out with some standing 'water' remaining, however, I would be very surprised if that lasted very long since the shallow rise section will undoubtedly act as a sediment trap, clogging the drain in short order. As Craig mentioned the only way to fix this problem is to open a section of the floor and REPLACE the pipe. Do NOT let them tunnel beneath the slab, it will be impossible to compact the soil properly afterwards and will cause settling of the slab, probably after the 'warranty' on their work expires, you do not want to inherit someone elses problem a couple of years down the road. In fact if it was me (who is a P. Eng.) I would insist that the repairs be done to the satisfaction of an Engineer, and then be certifed, this will guarantee (literally) that it is done right. Best of luck.






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 08-20-2001, 09:55 Post: 31107
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 Plumbing Nightmare in New Barn

Hi Cutter, I saw your your post last week and was going to ask how your shop was coming, with baby coming time and $$ have been short, so the inside of mine is on hold. I would also advise you to attack this problem from above (cut concrete), this way you are disturbing less soil under your pipe and concrete.
consider drilling and installing rerod into old concrete that will reinforce new patch. As far as the contractor if he doesn't make amends and you cant hold back money, complain to BBB.






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 08-20-2001, 19:56 Post: 31121
cutter



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 Plumbing Nightmare in New Barn

Thanks guys. You confirm what I was afraid of. I have held back half the money at this point, and will feel like a jerk having to use it as leverage. The company is more or less a group of Mennonite that do very sturdy, yet not cabinet maker quality barn building. They are decent, honest people and we did this deal on a handshake. The price they gave me is half that of a Morton of the same size AND included the floor. I believe the young man running the skid steer might be the owner's son, he may have been afraid to say something to us. The floor cutting idea makes me very upset, it isn't a week old yet. The area involved is three to four feet from the end of the building in a corner. I have not filled there any more than neccessary to build the structure, so that water and drain hookup would be easier. It is gravel that was compacted well and allowed to sit in the rain and settle for three months before hand. My thought was to try to clean enough gravel from under the pipe using a post hole digger to allow it to drop by relieving the hold of the 2" riser through the cement, then compacting it back in with a sledge hammer head using sand as fill. It is apparent from your posts that is not an acceptable method and could cause problems down the road. I am going to have to see what he offers as a solution to this problem. Thank you all again for the advise.






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 08-20-2001, 23:09 Post: 31124
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 Plumbing Nightmare in New Barn

What would happen if you dug it out and fixed it, then pumped a slurry in under the slab. Aren't there companies that do concrete leveling etc. That way you don't have to compact it.






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 08-21-2001, 20:40 Post: 31160
cutter



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 Plumbing Nightmare in New Barn

That certainly is a thought, we have used flowable fill to correct underminings on our cross country transmission lines. I am still waiting to hear from the builder, he has yet to finish the partitions and ceiling, let alone repair my sewar drain.






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 08-22-2001, 12:15 Post: 31178
Murf

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 Plumbing Nightmare in New Barn

Cutter, while Sparky's suggestion is correct, this problem COULD be fixed using slurry pumped in, the problem is guaranteeing the fix. I suspect that while your contractor is no doubt competant as a builder (accident aside) I doubt they have ever even seen this process, much less be experienced at it. Underpinning of this type is a tricky process for someone skilled at it, for a novice to get it right the first time, well lets just say you'd be better off buying lottery tickets in hopes of having enough money to rip up and redo the slab. The problem with this method in your case is two-fold, first, filling a horizontal hole is VERY tricky and voids left behind will be a problem later on, and secondly, if it is not done right you will not know till much later. These two reasons are why I suggested that NO repair be done UNLESS it is recomended and certified (in writing of course) by a Licenced Engineer, that way any problem later on will be covered by their liability insurance. I doubt that you could disagree with this building of yours being too big an investment on your part to gamble with. Even if the builder is not willing to pay for the cost of an Engineer, do it out of your own pocket, it shouldn't cost more than a couple hundred dollars and it may be the best money you will spend on that building. Best of luck.






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 08-22-2001, 13:48 Post: 31182
Rob Munach



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 Plumbing Nightmare in New Barn

Murf,
Don't count on an Engineer's liability insurance to cover anything. Unless he is standing there the entire time the repair is made (which is expensive), any future failure would likely be a case of finger pointing at best. By the time it is sorted out, you would spend more on the lawyers than on repairing it. I own a private strucutral engineering practice and can tell you from experience, getting an engineer to cough up any dough is tough. I still recommend getting an engineer to give his opinion, but don't count on him being an insurance policy - just maybe some peace of mind knowing you are on the right track.

-Rob






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Discussion Boards > Active Subjects > Messages as Posted > Plumbing Forum

Thread 31088 Filter by Poster:
Craig Dashner 1 | cutter 6 | DonR 1 | Jason f 2 | Murf 3 | Peters 1 | Rob Munach 1 | Sparky 1 | steve arnold 2 | TomG 1 |

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