After over 50 years, yikes that is a long time, in the construction fields there are a couple of items that I have come to realize are more important than others. One is the importance of knowing what is going on in the sewer lines under the ground.
Effects of Age on Sewer Lines
Regardless of your outward appearance, once you reach a certain age, doctors generally recommend certain tests for the sake of health and safety - such as a colonoscopy after age 50. The same is true for buildings. From past experience approx. 60+ % of all building sewer lines, unfortunately regardless of age, have some issue that should be addressed even if it is simply to have it cleaned out.
A large number of sewer lines in Southern California have arrived at the ripe old age of 80! The average useful life of cast iron sewer lines is 40-80 years, depending on the material, who made them, and what harsh chemicals have been poured down the lines.
Sewer Line Camera Inspections
We offer sewer line camera inspections as one of our services. We have a separate division of the company, Sewer Line Inspectors, which conducts these inspections. The inspections themselves are relatively inexpensive - but the cost of remedying the problems caused by improperly constructed or blocked sewerlines can be astronomical! Getting your sewer lines inspected is the cheapest insurance I can think of.
About 4-5 years ago I did a large multi building site physical inspection and recommended to my client to have a camera sewer line inspection done before the close of his contingency period. He did not. The cost of the camera sewer line inspection start around $275 for most commercial sites. After he moved in he started having all sorts of issues with his sewer lines backing up. He had the lines scoped out with a camera. The cost of the repairs he needed was about $35,000. Yikes!! He could have had the information needed with a sewer line camera inspection had he done it when recommended.
Issues a Sewer Line Inspection Can Uncover
• The overall condition of the sewer lines underground.
• How much expected useful life the sewer lines have left in them with typical use and maintenance.
• The type of materials the sewer lines are.
• If there is root intrusion.
• If there is damage or displacement.
• If the sewer lines are properly connected to the city main sewer line.
• If any damage or displacement is in need immediate repairs or if routine cleanings will be sufficient.
• Is there are required cleanouts on the site - (Cleanout is an access point for sewer line cleaning)
• Where the sewer line runs underground - its location and depth.
• Determining if past repairs have been done to professional standards.
• If your sewer lines appear to have been receiving typical and routine maintenance.
• If the existing sewer lines can handle the current demands or anticipated future demands.
• If the sewer lines are connected to the city main or a septic system.
• If there have been past repairs.
• The approximate age of the system. (Each type of system has an expected useful life.)
• How the system has been used or abused.
By viewing the interior of the sewer line much more accurate costs estimates to cure any defects observed can be estimated.
As you can see, the list of items we can discover and make known to the client is very long. Due to lack of ability to see underground and the large number of potential issues that may be present we strongly recommend having this done on every job. This is why we now have this as a service we can deliver.
Call Commercial Real Estate Inspectors, LLC if you are interested in getting a sewer line inspection!