What about Sewer Lines in New Construction of Multi-Family or Commercial Properties?

Written by: Commercial Real Estate Inspectors, LLC

In recent articles, we have addressed some of the issues uncovered during real estate inspections of new properties. A vitally important area to include in your due diligence is inspection of the sewer lines, even in new construction.

These inspections are relatively inexpensive but the cost of remedying the problems caused by improperly constructed or blocked sewer lines can be astronomical!

By way of explanation, here are a few examples:

Checking for Mortar Issues

Last week our sewer line inspector performed a camera inspection of a new sewer line wherein the builder had used mortar to join the clay pipes together. The problem was that the mortar seeped through the joints and created a blockage. As an aside, modern techniques usually include the use of rubber gaskets to join the pipes rather than mortar.

Sewer Line Malfunctions

Another recent example of the malfunctioning of a brand new main sewer line is that in the course of filling in the trench, the installers had compacted the dirt above the new pipes to the point that they managed to shear off the pipe where it connected to the city lines. The sewage had been seeping directly into the ground on the property!

Pipe Blockages

Another common practice is to rinse drywall mud into the sewer lines during construction. The problem is that since the mud is rather thick, it can stick to the inside of the pipes which then catches other debris thus creating blockages. Better construction companies include hydro-jetting the lines at the end of the job to prevent this exact problem.

Sewer Line Debris

It is not uncommon for our inspectors to find debris of all kinds in the sewer line, everything from bits of drywall, broken up concrete, toys, plastic water bottles to actual plumbing fittings. It kind of reminds me of those stories we’ve all heard where the surgical staff leaves sponges, scissors or scalpels in the patient during surgery and then sews him up! I’m sure they don’t mean to but it happens.

Old Lines

Lastly, it is not unusual to discover that there was an old building on the site that was torn down and the new hookups were joined onto the old lines.

A Camera Inspection Can Help

There is no better way to discover the true condition of the sewer lines than to get a camera inspection done by unbiased, qualified, professionals BEFORE you purchase the property. We recommend these for both commercial properties and homes! It’s the cheapest insurance I can think of.

Read more about sewer line inspections.

Call us TODAY and book your next building and sewer line inspection!

I hope this helps.

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