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Old 05-17-2013, 03:12 PM   #1
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Req opinions on professionally completed drain repair.


Just had a portion of a corroded and split cast iron drain pipe replaced with PVC. Was wondering what your opinion is regarding their choice of repair method. As can be seen in the attached diagram the split (designated in red) was in a service sweep of the kitchen drain. They chose to cut the pipe right at the end of the split/corrosion leaving about a one inch stub in the wye to which they added a Fernco style coupler and new PVC which extended into the basement then mating to the existing copper drain from the kitchen sink. Even though I questioned them on numerous occasions as to why they wouldn't simply remove the lead packing and remaining few inches of pipe they insisted this repair would be standard in the industry.

Second on my list was their labor charge. They contracted for 3+ days of work but finished in under 9 hours (6 hours/2.5 hours). When I questioned if there might be an adjustment to the final price it was stated that for "my" benefit he place two men on the job to speed the repair minimizing down-time of our kitchen sink. LOL. Now how many jobs such as this would a plumbing company assign a single plumber? They had intended to jack-hammer two separate 4'x4' areas of the slab on either side of an interior wall to gain access to the failed pipe, I find it hard to believe a plumbers helper would not be standard for a situation requiring this amount of grunt work. In the end they only required one 3.5'x2' hole to facilitate repairs.

I'm hoping some industry pro's or homeowners with experience could lend opinions as to whether the choice of repair type and billing concerns are warranted or silly. As an FYI - The company doing the job was not a large multi-state entity nor were they an independent working from their garage and I should add their daily labor rate was $800 so he was trying to attempt justifying $1600/day for two on-site.
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Old 05-17-2013, 05:00 PM   #2
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You cant put a fernco on a curved portion of pipe. Why didnt they just cut about 6 inches outside the basement wall and get rid of the split L altogether? Im not getting this.

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Old 05-17-2013, 05:31 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply jagans.

Apologize if I wasn't clear. They did remove all the cast iron from the lowest point of the red marker back to the copper which was just before it exited the foundation (about 3'-4' of cast pipe). My concern is that since the pipe was corroded (as indicated in red) all the way to within one inch of the flange of the wye why would they not consider removing that last remaining portion leaded into the wye?

Please let me know if additional clarification would be useful.
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Old 05-17-2013, 05:53 PM   #4
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Without all the details I see nothing of concern. They quoted a job, you accepted, your problem is solved and they finished faster then first anticipated... Sounds like a good day.
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Old 05-17-2013, 07:34 PM   #5
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Hey Mig3- I added my comments within the quote (bold text)
The long and the short of it is- you need to work this out with your plumber. Not seeing the job or hearing either parties conversation, or the contract is just speculation on our part. We all expect good experiences when we hire people- just doesn't always happen
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mig3 View Post
Just had a portion of a corroded and split cast iron drain pipe replaced with PVC. Was wondering what your opinion is regarding their choice of repair method. As can be seen in the attached diagram the split (designated in red) was in a service sweep of the kitchen drain. They chose to cut the pipe right at the end of the split/corrosion leaving about a one inch stub in the wye If the pipe had good wall thicknes it's fine to which they added a Fernco style couplerI would have used a different coupler as ferncos are not allowed above grade in my town and new PVC which extended into the basement then mating to the existing copper drain from the kitchen sink. I would have replaced the copper too but you don't seem to mindEven though I questioned them on numerous occasions as to why they wouldn't simply remove the lead packing and remaining few inches of pipe they insisted this repair would be standard in the industry. see it done often

Second on my list was their labor charge. They contracted for 3+ days of work but finished in under 9 hours (6 hours/2.5 hours). When I questioned if there might be an adjustment to the final price it was stated that for "my" benefit he place two men on the job to speed the repair minimizing down-time of our kitchen sink. LOL. Now how many jobs such as this would a plumbing company assign a single plumber?I've done a lot of these by myself- no biggy They had intended to jack-hammer two separate 4'x4' areas of the slab on either side of an interior wall to gain access to the failed pipe, I find it hard to believe a plumbers helper would not be standard for a situation requiring this amount of grunt work. see previous comment. Labor only needed to pack out debris/cleanup In the end they only required one 3.5'x2' hole to facilitate repairs.

I'm hoping some industry pro's or homeowners with experience could lend opinions as to whether the choice of repair type and billing concerns are warranted or silly. As an FYI - The company doing the job was not a large multi-state entity nor were they an independent working from their garage and I should add their daily labor rate was $800 so he was trying to attempt justifying $1600/day for two on-site.No comment on what other shops charge
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Old 05-17-2013, 07:37 PM   #6
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I agree. BUt you may try to involve your local code authority.

Last edited by Ghostmaker; 05-17-2013 at 07:41 PM.
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Old 05-17-2013, 09:02 PM   #7
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Appreciate all the replies!

@joeplumber
What I failed to mentioned, and I guess what bothers me most, is the fact that the contract stipulated excavation of no more than 8' of pipe. Any work beyond that would require additional contracting. According to this it is a win/win situation for them with little to no possibility of undercharging for work performed. I had even removed one of the cinder-blocks from the foundation and located visually the split pipe giving them a very good indication of what to expect. Granted we had no idea how far the corrosion extended but in the end it was only about 5" below the surface of fill.

I've learned in my service related business that being fair to myself and the customer always pays back in abundance.

@TheEplumber
In addition to the back-story I just provided joeplumber above -- Yeah, that copper drain pipe from the sink is about a 40' run of 3" and all very accessible. As it's not a supply pipe so it'll just get replaced if/when required. Unfortunately I've already had to perform about 80' of copper supply-pipe repairs due to age related pinholes (47yo home).

As you say being a one-man-band is not unusual for you you probably would have been laughing listening to them stating how daunting a job this was going to be. They had the estimator, a master plumber and general plumber swearing there would be a huge pile of dirt and 30sq/ft of floor being excavated. All in all it was (as stated previously) a 3.5'x2' entry and 2 wheel barrows full of fill removed!

@Ghostmaker
That's always an option but based on some of the replies I've received here and from elsewhere I hope to give direct diplomacy a try. Maybe come to at least a small adjustment.
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Old 05-18-2013, 09:34 AM   #8
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OFF TOPIC HERE , Mig3 what program did you use to draw this attachment ???
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Old 05-19-2013, 01:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Javiles View Post
OFF TOPIC HERE , Mig3 what program did you use to draw this attachment ???
The program I used was Adobe Photoshop, a bit expensive for the casual user. I know there are numerous free or inexpensive application that would work just as well unfortunately it's been so long since using any of them I couldn't make a recommendation.

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