The Moral of the Story: Check References

The Moral of the Story

Check References

Edited by Michael Hamline / Published May 2017


About six months ago, the Penthouse North Condominium located in Deerfield Beach was experiencing failures in their vertical sewer stacks. The four-story building was built in the 1960s and began experiencing backups on a regular basis. The building was constructed with two sets of vertical waste stacks. One set of stacks was for the kitchen sink lines and was construc-ted using copper pipe, and the other set of vertical stacks was for the bathrooms and was constructed using cast iron.

Penthouse North asked US Pipelining to video inspect all these vertical lines to diagnose the problem. After inspecting the lines, Penthouse North was informed that the copper lines for the kitchens were in pristine condition. However, the cast iron lines for the bathrooms were in very bad shape. These vertical waste pipes were showing signs of significant failure with longitudinal cracking, failed joints, and heavy oxidation, often reducing the host pipe diameter from its original four-inch diameter down to a two-inch diameter. The board members of Penthouse reached out to several sewer lining contractors for a price to line 24-individual, four-inch diameter cast iron vertical bathroom stacks. Once the board went through the bidding process, it was disappointing to find out that the association had awarded the job to another contractor out of Sarasota due to a lower price.

Several months went by when out of the blue, US Pipelining received a call from Penthouse North. Although the pipes had already been lined, they were still experiencing the same issues of failed lines. Penthouse North asked for a second opinion of the application of the liner that had been installed by the previous contractor.

Once the team arrived on site, they quickly mobilized to the roof to video inspect the lined pipes utilizing a small CCTV camera to be pushed down each vertical stack. The technician operating the camera was confused when he did not see any liner installed in the four-inch diameter vertical bathroom waste lines. When he brought this to the attention of the board member on site, the board member instructed the technician that he was televising the “wrong” pipe and that the pipe he should be televising was the pipe adjacent to the one they were inspecting just a few feet away. The technician quickly switched the camera to the other pipe as directed by the board member and “yes” did in fact see lining material installed. However, the pipes that had been lined were the “copper” kitchen lines that were in fact in perfect condition and not the cast iron pipes that needed to be lined. The previous contractor had installed liner in the “wrong” pipes! The technician then had the daunting task of having to give the customer the bad news. As you could imagine, the customer was as shocked and surprised as the technician. But don’t worry, folks; there is a happy ending coming. Just keep reading.

Once Penthouse North had officially awarded the “re-re-lining” project, the team quickly went to work. Due to the “mix up” from the previous contractor, the local plumbing inspector seemed hypersensitive, requesting engineer oversight and signatures on all lining installed. Each vertical stack was thoroughly cleaned and televised prior to installing the liner. Once the liner was installed and the lateral connections cut open with a state-of-the-art robotic cutting system, the pipe was then televised and inspected again for quality assurance. Both the pre- and post-video inspection, along with a detailed written report for each vertical stack lined, was submitted to the local plumbing inspector for approval. Not only did the project pass with flying colors, but the local plumbing inspector seemed impressed with the product as well as the team’s safety practices and workmanship. So the moral of the story here, kids, is, “Check references, check references, check references!”

For more information on US Pipelining, call (800) 504-6108 or visit