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  1. #1
    Maria Teran's Avatar
    Maria Teran Guest

    Question Breaking thru slab to fix piping

    The plummer was given the wrong plan and installed plumbing in the wrong place. They had to break through the slab to reinstall the piping. Builder engineers stated this does not compromise the integrity of the foundation but I am not sure. I told them I'll bring a third party engineer to take a look at the slab, but they refused to pay for it. I have 3 options: hire an engineer at my own expense, take their word or look for another home. What is your advise??

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Oregon, USA
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    Default Re: Breaking thru slab to fix piping

    Presuming decent materials and construction techniques were employed during the modification, I don't think you have much to worry about. Unless the slab is post-tensioned, in which case there could be a multitude of future problems. A 4th option might be to demand that "the builder's engineers" stamp a notarized affidavit with their P.E. seal, stating that they and their firm will be financially responsible for corrections and damages, of any problems related to the work they stated was acceptable, for a period of at least 10 years. If they refuse to do so, ask "Why?"

    Conversely, if junk work was done, look for another place. Or at least ask for a hefty discount on the sale price.


  3. #3
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    Orlando, FL
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    Default Re: Breaking thru slab to fix piping

    It fairly common for one (sometimes more) of the plumbing rough-ins to be off the mark sometimes. Cutting a standard slab to re-route the plumbing isn't going to be problem if done right. I see it quit often, and our housing stock is also slab on grade.

    You don't mention how much pf the plumbing needs to be changed or relocated.


  4. #4
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    Plano, Texas
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    Default Re: Breaking thru slab to fix piping

    It could be no problem but it could be trouble depending on how it was done. How far did they have to move the plumbing? Did they cut a cable? Was it done before or after tensioning the cables?

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  5. #5
    Maria Teran's Avatar
    Maria Teran Guest

    Default Re: Breaking thru slab to fix piping

    It is a post-tensioned slab for a one story 1303 sq ft home. The re-route involves only the drainage or sewer plumbing. I am almost sure that it was re routed after tensioning the cables. As far as I know they did not cut any cables. Can you guys explain the consequences if repaired before and after post tension? At this point they finished with the reroute but haven't poured the concrete yet, they are waiting for the engineer instructions. If I hire a third party engineer, does he has to be present during repairs to make sure they do things correctly. Not sure how it works.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
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    Default Re: Breaking thru slab to fix piping

    Take pictures before they fill it all in. If the ends of the tension cables are visible around the outer edges of the slab, you should be able to judge if a cable crosses where they made the cut. Take pictures of that too.

    It is not unusual and it may never be a problem if the builders are half ways competent.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Greenville, N.C.
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    Default Re: Breaking thru slab to fix piping

    It's actually pretty common. I remember building out a Kay Jewelery Store in a mall years ago and being annoyed at the concrete dust while the tile floor and slab were being cut out to reroute electrical conduit. As long at the steel is not compromised. . . .
    JLMathis


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Osceola, AR
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    Default Re: Breaking thru slab to fix piping

    I have seen this a number of times. One of the major problems is that now the vapor barrier underneath the slab is no longer intact. Just finished a wood flooring inspection last week in a one year old home. The hardwood flooring (laid as a floating floor over a "Quiet Walk" pad) in one are cupping and warping like crazy over a 4'x8' area but was great everywhere else. Removal of the hardwood flooring in the area revealed a patched floor. Questioned the builder who admitted that plumbing got stubbed up in wrong spot and had to be moved. Slab in the area was noticeably damp. Flooring contractor was going over options when I left.

    Alton Darty
    ATN Services, LLC
    www.arinspections.com

  9. #9

    Default Re: Breaking thru slab to fix piping

    Quote Originally Posted by Maria Teran View Post
    The plummer was given the wrong plan and installed plumbing in the wrong place. They had to break through the slab to reinstall the piping. Builder engineers stated this does not compromise the integrity of the foundation but I am not sure. I told them I'll bring a third party engineer to take a look at the slab, but they refused to pay for it. I have 3 options: hire an engineer at my own expense, take their word or look for another home. What is your advise??
    In commercial work, it is very common to cut slabs. Typically, such as a "pad" in a shopping mall, water and waste is stubbed inside the interior walls and marked on the plans. The original builder has no idea who will eventually occupy the space and what their plumbing needs will be. It could be a simple storefront with only the need for a single bathroom or restaurant with very extensive plumbing requirements.

    I have done the layouts for the slab cutting many, many times. After the plumbing is installed and back filled and properly compacted, the edges of the existing slab are drilled and doweled with sections of rebar that are overlapped and tied together to maintain the overall integrity of the slab. Very Common practice

    True Professionals, Inc. Property Consultant
    877-466-8504

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Hercules, CA
    Posts
    158

    Default Re: Breaking thru slab to fix piping

    Quote Originally Posted by Maria Teran View Post
    It is a post-tensioned slab for a one story 1303 sq ft home. The re-route involves only the drainage or sewer plumbing. I am almost sure that it was re routed after tensioning the cables. As far as I know they did not cut any cables. Can you guys explain the consequences if repaired before and after post tension? At this point they finished with the reroute but haven't poured the concrete yet, they are waiting for the engineer instructions. If I hire a third party engineer, does he has to be present during repairs to make sure they do things correctly. Not sure how it works.
    If the slab was already tensioned and they cut the cable you would know it!

    I am assuming that this is a pt slab on grade and not a suspended structural slab. Depending on the extent of the rerouting, less than 5% of the concrete removed and the cables not disturbed, there should not be a problem either before or after tensioning. If neither of these conditions apply, a special structural fix must be proposed by the project engineer. In any case, this situation should be inspected, and reports submitted to the building official, by the project engineer and the special inspector.

    Thom Huggett, PE, SE, CBO

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