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  1. #1
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    Default bulkhead stairwell drain

    The house in question was built in 1957. It has a exterior stairway leading to the basement. In the bottom is a drain. The drain tile inside is concrete in material. It is crumbling and blocking itself.

    The house did not have a sump pump. I know the importance of a good functional drain in the stairwell. Most of the time one will find a sump pit that the pipe feeds into.

    When there is not a sump pit, such as in this case, where would this drain pipe deposit the water? How would one go about ensuring functionality to prevent flooding?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: bulkhead stairwell drain

    Around here they typically drain either into the backyard catch basin, tie into the house drain, usually at the nearest rear stack or laundry drain line, or in some cases just down into a big pit of gravel.
    You pics don't show it but I hope you dug some of that stuff out a little to see if you could find remnants of the vertical pipe.
    Typical repair around here: break open pad, dig down to elbow to horizontal run, rod an scope line, replace 90, vertical pipe and sometimes the 1st section of horizontal pipe. The break is usually at the 90 and vert pipe caused by years of movement and jackhammer style rodding attempts.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: bulkhead stairwell drain

    I knew right away that the drain needs follow up by a qualified professional. I don't need to go digging crumbled concrete out to determine that.

    Furthermore, if I were to meddle with it and a flood happened after the fact, the flood could be blamed on my actions. That is something I like to avoid.

    It's messed up. Get a contractor out here and get it fixed. I don't need to go further than that.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: bulkhead stairwell drain

    Tsk, Tsk, all little touchy John. I guess if it's good enough for you it will have to be good enough for your clients. Too bad you don't give a damn enough to provide better information.
    A handful of rubble removed to view and then put back, oh yeah, lot's of liability. What a pathetic excuse for not wanting to get your khakis dirty. Shame on you.

    www.aic-chicago.com
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: bulkhead stairwell drain

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Keller View Post
    Tsk, Tsk, all little touchy John. I guess if it's good enough for you it will have to be good enough for your clients. Too bad you don't give a damn enough to provide better information.
    A handful of rubble removed to view and then put back, oh yeah, lot's of liability. What a pathetic excuse for not wanting to get your khakis dirty. Shame on you.
    Forgive my ignorance (no basements here) but what further useful information would you hope to gain by excavating a drain system? It is already broken and needs a contractor to make repairs. What difference if it is one, two or twenty feet of drain pipe that is broken?

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  6. #6
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    Default Re: bulkhead stairwell drain

    The difference would be the possibility of ascertaining whether there is a pipe there at all or not. If there is a pipe, it is likely a repair situation. If there is no pipe, that is an entirely different situation. Was there a pipe that was taken out? Probably not. If there isn't a pipe, there may not be any actual drain tied to anything. It may just be a hole leading to a pit of gravel.
    Does John's report say there IS a drain? What if the plumber comes out to clean and rod and tells the client there is no drain just a pit of gravel to allow slow seepage. Of course the plumber will be more than happy to install a drain for $4000. Think about the potential liability then.

    www.aic-chicago.com
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: bulkhead stairwell drain

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Keller View Post
    .
    . If there isn't a pipe, there may not be any actual drain tied to anything. It may just be a hole leading to a pit of gravel.
    .
    Does John's report say there IS a drain?
    .
    Think about the potential liability then.
    .
    ????

    It would still be a drain.
    .

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: bulkhead stairwell drain

    You think the client is going to consider that a 'drain' after a good rain, stairs are flooded, water is seeping under the door and the plumber is standing there yelling about 'how did the stupid HI miss this"? You think the attorney is going to consider that a real drain?
    I don't think there is a real drain there based on the pics.

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

  9. #9
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    Default Re: bulkhead stairwell drain

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Keller View Post
    Tsk, Tsk, all little touchy John. I guess if it's good enough for you it will have to be good enough for your clients. Too bad you don't give a damn enough to provide better information.
    A handful of rubble removed to view and then put back, oh yeah, lot's of liability. What a pathetic excuse for not wanting to get your khakis dirty. Shame on you.
    Markus,

    You don't know how much time I spend providing information or the trouble I got through to get it. I get plenty dirty and I spend way more time that the average inspector to help my clients. I have not received a single complaint since I've been in business.

    I'm not trying to start a flame with you but I will defend myself when you attack me with claims like pathetic and shameful. I admit I was vague about the info in the post. I suppose I deserve to be offended because of that. However, you are making some serious accusations. I for one, never do that unless I'm absolutely sure it's fact. You could have explained your points and I would have understood. In fact, I still do understand. But now I do it with a bitter kind of feeling. So, thanks for your advise but if you don't mind, please keep your jump the gun insults to yourself.

    Seriously...pathetic...shameful...give me a break will ya?

    I attached another pic of the drain. There are two arrows. The yellow one is pointing to a piece of horizontal drain pipe(concrete). The red one is pointing to the remains of a vertical section of concrete pipe. The client and I poked around a bit and discussed the whole matter of drains, the possible arrangements regarding where the pipe might lead, and the possible implications of basement flooding. I identified the problem, provided additional information and referred to a qualified contractor for investigation and repair. I fully met the responsibilities of my job as a home inspector.

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  10. #10
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    Default Re: bulkhead stairwell drain

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Keller View Post
    .
    .
    You think the client is going to consider that a 'drain' after a good rain, stairs are flooded, water is seeping under the door and the plumber is standing there yelling about 'how did the stupid HI miss this"? You think the attorney is going to consider that a real drain?
    I don't think there is a real drain there based on the pics.
    .
    I think of I reported it as a " Drain " ( and it empties into a gravel pit ) then it is a Real Drain.
    * I did call it out for repair.
    .
    ** Maybe The Don't Worry About Fixing anything on The Report because You Have Home Warranty Insurance will fix any water damage.
    .

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: bulkhead stairwell drain

    Just for the record, here is the direct quote from the written report. Someone will probably find a problem with this comment but oh well. If I can't post it here, I shouldn't be charging people money for it right?

    There is a drain in the bottom of the basement exterior bulkhead stairway. It is important that this drain remain functional at all times. If it does not drain properly, water can pool up in the stairwell, spill over the threshold and flood the basement floor. I lifted the drain cover and could see the concrete drain tile has been crumbling. The pieces of broken concrete are partially blocking the drain. I do not know where this drain leads to or how effective it is. I searched everywhere for a sump pump in the basement I could not find one. My conclusion is there is no sump pump. Therefore this bulkhead stairwell drain must be draining somewhere else. That somewhere is not known to me. Hire a qualified contractor and have them determine the proper function of this drain. If they have suggestions for maintaining good function of this drain, and suggestions for preventing basement flooding relative to this drain, follow their recommendations.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: bulkhead stairwell drain

    I apologize for yelling at you John. I realize it is my issue. My patience is running thin lately. I am a bit annoyed by the incessant excuses from RE 'professionals'. The lies, excuses, beyond believe comments and stories that I can't believe they are able to tell me with a straight face have made me a bit weary. I think there must be a direct correlation between thinner revenue margins and the level of psycho babble put forth by contractors and related RE 'pros'.
    Your posts do indicate that you care and do a much more thorough job then some others who visit here from time to time.
    My wording in the report would have been a bit stronger but that's just me. Yours is fine.

    www.aic-chicago.com
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  13. #13
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    Default Re: bulkhead stairwell drain

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Keller View Post
    I apologize for yelling at you John. I realize it is my issue. My patience is running thin lately. I am a bit annoyed by the incessant excuses from RE 'professionals'. The lies, excuses, beyond believe comments and stories that I can't believe they are able to tell me with a straight face have made me a bit weary. I think there must be a direct correlation between thinner revenue margins and the level of psycho babble put forth by contractors and related RE 'pros'.
    Your posts do indicate that you care and do a much more thorough job then some others who visit here from time to time.
    My wording in the report would have been a bit stronger but that's just me. Yours is fine.
    No need to apologize my friend. I knew you had to be edgy for some reason. You gave me a chance to test my nerve and fortitude. We all need that opportunity now and then. In the end it was helpful. I have read your posts over time and appreciate the knowledge you bring. It's all good.


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