Cast Iron Pipe Scope Inspection Report

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by cmboudreaux, Mar 21, 2014.

  1. cmboudreaux

    cmboudreaux New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Louisiana
    We currently have a contract on a house to purchase. The house inspector found no plumbing issues whatsoever but was adamant that we have the cast iron drain pipes inspected with a scope. The house was built 30-40 years ago and the pipes run under the slab. The "pipe" inspector came out today and inspected the pipes with the scope (for $350.). He found that the condition of the pipes was "poor" and that it all needed to be replaced (with no blockages or leaks noted). He said that we need to have a plumber quote the work that needed to be done. With our permission, he called a plumber that he knew of and requested that he come quote the job. Almost magically, in a city with so much traffic that it takes 10 minutes to travel 2 miles, the plumber showed up within 2 minutes. The plumber then said that he could re-do the drain piping and that the repairs would be extensive since he would have to drill into the slab and re-route the existing lines. He said that he would email over a detailed report. When asked for a ball-park figure, he replied around 20k and said he would email over a detailed quote this afternoon. The pipe inspector emailed his "inspection report" about an hour ago. If this work really does have to be done, we have two options. Offer 1 is to renegotiate the selling price with the seller to account for the cost of repairs which we will have to do. Option 2 is to request that the seller make the repairs (20k or so) prior to closing. (On a side note, the pipe inspector took my Realtor aside while we were all at the property and told her that he wanted to buy the house if we didn't. He also text her to call him again after he left while we were still at the property with her.)

    As I read the pipe inspector's report, I am stunned at the report itself. Please read below:

    After running camera through the line under the slab, we came to a

    determination that the cast iron is in very poor condition for a family of four,

    to be using. We also decided to break concert and repair all PVC pipe, because

    if the family starts using any kind of thick toilet paper it will stop up. Also,

    decided to re-route right bathroom of the house, re-route washing machine

    and kitchen on the left side of the home. We also spoke to the city about

    locating two taps on this corner lot. Hopefully this will make it easier to re-
    rout. We were unable to camera washing machine and kitchen line because I

    was afraid to get stuck under slab with condition of the pipe, main line.

    Thank you for your business,

    Unnamed Company

    My thoughts on the report is that it needs to contain detailed technical information regarding the condition of the pipe, it's current functionality, and the possible consequences of not implementing a new solution. The solution needs to be clearly defined and easy for the reader to comprehend. The inspection report needs written in a professional format that is free of any major grammar and spelling errors. A detailed report will help the owners understand the relevance of the damaged pipe. If I'm the seller, this report alone is not enough to convince me to shell out 20k. What do you all think, is this standard practice. In my gut, I feel like something is not right, but I'm naturally a pessimistic person and rarely trust anyone that isn't family. What do you all think, what should my next steps be regarding the plumbing issue?
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,795
    Location:
    IL
    Your suspicions seem reasonable to me. I would not worry about the grammer. Those other things don't sound right.

    Did you watch the monitor, and did the camera operator show you the problems?

    I am just a home owner and not a pro.
  3. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,416
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    In my neck of the woods, I have never seen cast iron waste lines used for sewer that were that recent. I've been plumbing forty years, and it has been plastic during that time, and for a long time before that.
    I would see no need to replace the PVC lines under your slab either. At the original time of construction, those would have been inspected and passed off before cover.
    Since there hasn't been a problem yet with the plumbing, this all seems a bit premature.

    All of this replumbing talk sounds very sketchy.

  4. cmboudreaux

    cmboudreaux New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Louisiana
    My fiance was at the home during the inspection. I showed up at the very end when they were finishing up. I'm going to ask these questions to my fiance when he gets home in about an hour.
  5. cmboudreaux

    cmboudreaux New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Louisiana
    The inspectors and plumbers also expressed their surprise that cast iron was even used for this home. Apparently, this specific builder used cast iron on his properties during this same time. Does the inspection report look standard to you? I expected that more thorough information and evidence would be presented.
  6. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,416
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    I work on a lot of homes in Seattle, built in the 1920's
    I think those were all cast drains. They're still using most of them.
  7. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,274
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    I would show the report to the seller and ask them if they would be willing to pay for a different company to come out to provide a 2nd opinion.
  8. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,973
    Location:
    New York, NY
    I'm not a huge fan of Angie's list, but if you can you should look up both the plumber and the inspector. You should also look them up on Yelp.com and on www.bbb.org. If this is their usual modus operandus, you might get at least a hint of it. Ignore the good reviews to some extent because these may be folks who were duped.

    You should also look up who seems to be a good building inspector or plumbing inspector, based on observations like "he identified only a few things that really needed to be done now", etc.

    Let us know how you make out.

    PS It sounds like total bullshit to me. I second Cacher Chick's suggestion, and it would be to the seller's benefit to pay for you to find someone else.

    FWIW, here's what a good BBB report looks like: http://www.bbb.org/new-orleans/busi...plumbing-heating-inc-in-schriever-la-80000133

    Or, for that matter, this one: http://www.bbb.org/western-washingt...e-plumbing-and-remodel-in-bothell-wa-34000014
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2014
  9. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,795
    Location:
    IL
    It may be that there is another offer... depends on the market.

    If you make such a "request", I guess you can still buy if they say no, right?
  10. dj2

    dj2 Member

    Messages:
    437
    Location:
    California
    1. It's not entirely impossible that cast iron was used 30-40 years ago. I used much more expensive cast iron waste lines in a house I built 20 years ago, even though I prefer ABS, since CI pipes are quieter.

    2. This "inspector-plumber" combo is a set up.

    3. Get a 2nd and 3rd opinions.
  11. craigpump

    craigpump Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,080
    Location:
    ct
    My bullshit alarm is going off.

    1) if there is indeed an issue that was found with his scope, he should have called you over and pointed it out and explained why it was a problem with the scope still in the pipe. Making a video would have been nice too so you could show it to other contractors for their opinions.

    2) His plumber just a few minutes away? Well, anything is possible, but how likely?

    3) Approaching the realtor and expressing an interest in the house while you are within earshot doesn't bode well for his ethics.
  12. petrie

    petrie New Member

    Messages:
    56
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    My cousin, a friend, and I all have Cast iron drain/vent lines in our 1970s bulit homes. Must just be what they were using in Northern WI at the time. Rotor Router came out to unclog my cousins drain line and told him that he should use only scott toilet paper becasue the "fabricy" stuff was getting hung up in his piping.
  13. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,247
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    I am not sure about LA, but in the Chicago area, we were only using cast iron in the 70s. I never even saw a plastic sewer pipe until after I moved out of the area. Unless the bottom of the pipe is eroded, or there are massive stalactites and stlagmites inside the pipe, I do not know how he could determine that it was "not suitable for a family of 4". The only thing I would trust LESS than a plumber who did his own inspection and then gave an estimate to fix it, would be an inspector with a "plumber buddy" making the inspection. It smacks of the heating company who ALWAYS recommended replacing the furnace and "just happened" to have one on the truck. Did the inspector also recommend the camera company? Cast iron systems almost ALWAYS lasted for many decades as long as they were not subjected to corrosive chemicals, which would usually not be the case in a residence. A "reputable" company would have made a video DVD, in your presence, for verification of his conclusions.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2014
  14. cmboudreaux

    cmboudreaux New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Louisiana
    Thank you for your reply. We have asked them to update the sewer lines per recommendation of inspector/plumber and provided them with the quotes and inspection reports. They have 72 hours to counter or accept/decline the deal. Apparently they are having their own plumber quote the job. We will see how it goes. At this point, I don't trust anyone. I also wouldn't put it past the inspector/plumber to try to sabotage my deal (which was already under contract) by offering the sellers cash, as is with no repairs. I'm still not convinced that the lines are at the end of their life, I have been presented with zero evidence that supports the recommendation to replace them now. I don't consider that pipe inspection report as sufficient evidence.
  15. cmboudreaux

    cmboudreaux New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Louisiana
    That is a totally acceptable recommendation. Use thinner toilet paper instead of give me 20k and I'll replace everything now.
  16. cmboudreaux

    cmboudreaux New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Louisiana
    Thank you all for your feedback. I feel slightly less paranoid and not so crazy now. Replies from experts such as yourselves help me to validate my concerns.
  17. cmboudreaux

    cmboudreaux New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Louisiana
    Thank you for those suggestions. They wasn't much info on either plumber or pipe inspector on Angie's list, just a few positive reviews. The seller is having their own plumber take a look at it. I will feel better after having another opinion.
  18. cmboudreaux

    cmboudreaux New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Louisiana
    There are other offers on the house. In our market, houses only stay on the market for a few days. I was literally the first person to view this house after it was listed. My offer was in and accepted before they had time to put the "for sale" sign up. I'm not sure that I can still buy it at full price if they say no ( not sure I would want to either) since it will not appraise for the original amount if it needs major plumbing repairs. I see that I'm now rambling about real estate and this is not a real estate forum. :) I'm glad that others agree that there are some valid concerns here regarding the inspector/plumber claims. I really appreciate the feedback and will let you all know how it unfolds.
  19. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,973
    Location:
    New York, NY
    (1) They would be better off having their plumber inspect the drains or hire someone reputable to do so. Our friend MacPlumb on this forum also knows lots of REPUTABLE sewer and drain companies across the country in big cities and small.

    (2) The lines are almost certainly not at the end of their life.

    (3) You are correct -- you have zero evidence supporting the recommendation. It is not evidence. It's nothing. In fact, it's suspect, because it conveniently generated a 2-minute-later visit from a plumber.
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