Orangeburg pipe disaster

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    • #278725
      MasterPlumbers
      Keymaster

      We sold a home recently. 2 months after living in the home the buyers experienced a sewage backup in their tub. They called a plumber out who attempted to put a camera down the sewer line. It was clogged in both directions. The new homeowners were told a new line would need to be installed because roots were in the line and the line had collapsed. They paid $6000 to have 150 feet of new sewer line installed. Now they are suing us for “non-disclosure”. We did not experience any problems with the sewer line in the 10 years we lived there. Question 1: Is it possible for this orangeburg pipe to collapse/fail unexpectedly? Should their have been some ongoing problems prior to the failure? Question 2: Doesn’t $6000 sound like a lot of money to charge for 150 ft of sewer replacement? We live in the Sacramento area of California. Please help. Any info would be helpful. The judge has asked for more information about orangeburg pipe. Thank you.

    • #299181
      Guest

      I now pipe dosnt last good in erthqakes there.

    • #299182
      fourth year

      Orangeburg does not fail unexpectedly, but the symptoms can appear without warning. Many Orangeburg “owners” can go for years and years without a problem and then suddenly start having constant stoppages when the pipe finally reaches a critical stage. Once the pipe is installed, it is too late to negotiate price. It seems high, but local conditions, (such as poor access, deep trenching, hard ground or rock, etc.), will determine what should have been a fair price

    • #299183
      SylvanLMP

      Yes, Orangeburg pipe can fail without any notice But normally it failures gradually with frequent stoppages occurring from roots of gravel entering the system.

      What a helper has no clue to besides (plumbing) is the actual cost of running a legitimate business with insurance and licenses and overhead BESIDES the following.

      When installing a pipe under ground you should never use a helper or apprentice as these kids would only get hurt because they have no idea of OSHA and shoring up trenches and compacting laws and all the permits required with opening up either a side walk or street.

      You must get away from the apprentice lack of mentality in pricing as an apprentice AKA helper have no skills in the trade and are paid accordingly.

      We use mechanics to install all our piping as you need a firm base and the proper top fill for all piping not just drainage and helpers just don’t know the proper procedures.

      For a normal two man shop it is not uncommon for the contractor to pay over $40,000 per year JUST for insurance ($800 per week)

      Today with all kinds of underground utilities like fiber optics and gas lines and water lines and oilestatic lines digging is no longer a hit and miss operation.

      In California for example with all the tremors and earth quakes it is very possible for a pipe to lose its integrity in a heart beat even if it was installed originally correctly.

      Now about your $6,000 bill for 150 feet of piping
      This to me was a gift by the contractor if he/she is only pricing $40 per ft.

      My mechanics get over $45 per HR in the envelope NOT including benefits and my over head and profit.

      The back hoe operator who I hire gets a flat rate of $1,500 per 6 hour day from me and he too is very heavily insured.

      Only a brain dead helper forgets that the chump change they get in the envelope is nothing compared to the benefits and the union check off’s for education and other expenses like an office staff computers and licenses and on going education for employees.

      Even the non union shops today pay a decent mechanic upwards of $35 per HR plus benefits.

      By even having a helper guess what “should be a fir price” is ludicrous.

      What the hell does a know nothing helper think it cost to connect to a sewer main and to remove the old pipe and the liability to install pipe PLUS the cost of materials and labor.

      I personally wouldn’t even install a 2″ line whether it be vent, waste soil or fire suppression for only $40 per ft.

      NO WAY NO HOW could I send out a mechanic with a back hoe and have him there more then one day for this kind of sum of money.

      This is exactly why I will not have a helper working for me as they talk without knowing what they are spewing.

      I find it so much more cost effective to send 2 mechanics out then a mechanic who cant trust a helper not to puncture a gas or electric power cable line or water main.

      Just figuring 2 mechanic’s and a back hoe operator direct cost is over $400 PER HR

      Figure it out Labor, materials, rent, insurance, permits, inspections, truck to get the plumbers at the job sight, safety gear plus tools, plumbers like to have hospitalization also$600 PLUS per man per month, the bookkeeper needs her salary

      My payroll JUST IN THE ENVELOPE for 18 plumbers (I don’t care for helpers) was over $25,000 PER WEEK NOT including anything else to run a legitimate business.

      Not all the “plumbers” working for me were actually doing the physical work. I have foremen (3) a shop superintendent and estimator BUT nevertheless they have to be paid. Ever think how much an aspirin cost you in a hospital?

      Personally I think all apprentices should PAY for their education as they certainly don’t earn any money for the bosses.

      They cannot be sent out alone, they cannot estimate a job properly, they shoot off their mouths not knowing anything about the trade or the running of the business aspects.

      They do more damage to plumbing trying to make repairs.

      Look at the trade guilds in Europe and the fantastic apprenticeship training there.

      The best mechanics we can hire today are not trained here as just looking at the average high school grad has a lot to be desired so the modern day “helper” is just about as useless as a horse and buggy on a free way.

      For what it is worth in my professional opinion you did NOT over pay at all.

      The plumbing contractor was very fair in his pricing. Just make sure that he was licensed and insured as if he wsnt then you may have a legal recourse to not pay him/her as “plumbing” does require a license in the better localities.

      Have a great one

    • #299184
      fourth year

      Maybe you should be hiring your backhoe work. They only charge $70.00 with a 4 hour minimum and they furnish their own insurance, etc. And it does not take two journeymen to lay a 4 inch sewer pipe, (I know, he did not specify whether it was 4″ or 16″, but I will assume the latter). Shoring is only required below five feet unless it is loose soil, which is why I specifically mentioned local conditions. Our company has installed many replacement sewer lines for $10.00 to $18.00 and made money doing it. But some have also cost $30.00. At $40.00/ft, we would have made a lot of money, except we would not have had much work since there are a lot of others doing it for the correct amount. And as far as removing the Orangeburg, the backhoe does that while he is digging the ditch. If you are working in NYC proper, then your local conditions are unlike anywhere else, so the cost would naturally be increased, but do not project those conditions to everywhere else in the USA. Do your apprentices, if you have any, know the low opinion you have of them. If so, I assume they will be leaving for greener pastures as soon as they get their cards. That is of course if you have taught them anything besides getting coffee and rolls and carrying tools for five years.

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