Plumber cut exterior concrete block support wall for 2 1/2 drain pipe.

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by ricklarson, Oct 19, 2013.

  1. ricklarson

    ricklarson New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    florida
    Hi, I know nothing about plumbing or concrete block construction. I am doing a low cost remodel and am new to florida. I don't know if I can trust this plumber's advice that the section of concrete block that he cut will not impact the structure.
    He was going to cut into the concrete slab, but at the last minute, he cut through the wall. I'm concerned that it has impacted the soundness of the structure. No rebar was in what he cut and the blocks he cut through were hollow. Also, do the copper pipes that are now strapped to the outside of the wall need to be protected with any material since they are against concrete. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Please, see the pictures

    Attached Files:

  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,050
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Hmmm..........
    I've never seen anyone knock out concrete blocks to run a pipe like that.
    I think most of us would have run it outside the wall.

    If the copper isn't touching the wall, you're okay. Those plastic clips should hold it off the wall. We do use tape or plastic on pipes to prevent contact with concrete.
  3. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,055
    Location:
    New England
    I think a building inspector would have a fit! Did a plumbing permit get pulled? Has it been inspected yet? A permit with its associated inspection is often ignored, but is still required for both the safety of you and the building.
  4. Hammerlane

    Hammerlane New Member

    Messages:
    252
    Location:
    Ohio
    Only input you should be looking for is for those block to be put back. I would withhold any payment due for repairs to this wall.
  5. ricklarson

    ricklarson New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    florida
    Ok, so it sounds like he knew what he was doing with the copper piping, but not with the PVC. He was going to tie in under the kitchen floor and I guess he couldn't find the line there, so
    he made a decision without our talking about it, to go into the exterior concrete block wall. I guess to put new concrete block back in (suggested by the other posts), he will need to remove the copper piping?
    Do you know of a structural engineering site that might offer insight as to whether or not the wall is now out of integrity?


  6. ricklarson

    ricklarson New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    florida
    You have no idea how much I wish I had insisted on his pulling a permit. I was trying to do this remodel fast and on a conservative budget so that my pregnant wife and I could get in quickly. Now, it looks like I've created a bit of a mess; don't think I could have a permit pulled after work is done. Really concerned about the structural integrity of the wall.

  7. ricklarson

    ricklarson New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    florida
    I guess now I need to figure out how to do that.
  8. dj2

    dj2 Member

    Messages:
    418
    Location:
    California
    A permit can be pulled after work has begun (in my city at least) - it's not the end of the world. The building department actually encourages folks to pull permits, so they don't find themselves in your situation.

    Your bigger concern should be the damaged wall. Fix it right away.
  9. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    950
    Location:
    ct
    It's pretty simple,

    No permit and inspection, no payment
  10. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,686
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    In new construction we OFTEN have to install PVC/ABS pipes in the outside wall. The masons cut the blocks down the middle and put one half on the outside to make a "smooth wall". The inside is either left open, like yours, or the cut portion is "buttered" in, (assuming the pipe is far enough back into the wall so it will fit in front of it, which yours is not), but has absolutely NO structural effect on the wall. It is purely cosmetic. Connecting in the wall would have made the most sense, time and money wise. He could have installed the pipe outside of the block, IF you wanted to use wider furring strips.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2013
  11. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida USCG escorting cruise ship leaving Port Everglades

    Messages:
    117
    Location:
    Lake Worth, Florida
    I doubt this is really a good practice but the wall integrity isn't all that is compromised. At this point I would call the building inspectors dept of your county or city and asked them. Inspectors are there for your protection, not the contractors. Permits generally are about $150. Larger projects such as adding a room, etc. maybe a percentage (4% for Wellington, FL) of the contract. I attached a picture of a typical block. Probably 1/3-1/2 of the block was chipped away and it is still quite strong but it may not meet code.

    The wall on the right is framed and the corner stud is cut. It may not be a supporting wall but that 2x4 was cut completely. Regardless, three or more 4" Tapcons should be drilled through the 2x4 into the block. It appears to be a jack stud since there is a horizontal 2x4 on top of it.

    FYI... When block walls are built, at the corners of the house the outside wall of the lowest block is punched out. Then a 10" or 12" high concrete lintel is poured on top of the block wall. While pouring the concrete into the forms, the concrete flows down the corner blocks until it exits the punched out block at the bottom. Therefore, the outside corner is a concrete post. This makes for an extremely strong structure for all loads above the block wall. For the most part the block wall is only holding itself, not the roof since the concrete lintel spreads the load. Most Florida homes the top of the window is at the lintel. My Florida home was built in 1990 and it has the concrete lintel and all homes I've seen built since then do, but older one story homes may not have a lintel but only at the windows.

    Check out this document.
    http://www.nudura.com/Libraries/Installation_Manual/Appendix_E_-_USA.sflb.ashx

    Cement Block.jpg
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2013
  12. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,686
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; When block walls are built, at the corners of the house the outside wall of the lowest block is punched out. Then a 10" or 12" high concrete lintel is poured on top of the block wall.

    Maybe where you are, but in most cases the block "cells" are poured full of grout every 4' or so, (the grout automatically flows all the way to the bottom so the bottom block does not need a hole in it), and the there top row usually has a notch on every block so when concrete is poured into the ENTIRE top row, it creates a bond beam, usually with rebar in it. THAT and the cement "columns" are what holds the building up, NOT the concrete block between them.
  13. MACPLUMB 777

    MACPLUMB 777 TROJAN WORLDWIDE SALES RP

    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    Houston, Texas, United States
    Block wall or not one thing for sure is that expanding foam does not
    make a water tite wall ! !
  14. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,686
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; expanding foam does not
    make a water tite wall ! !

    Neither does concrete blocks. Waterproofing is done by whatever is applied to the OUTSIDE of the blocks., and that was not compromised by installing the piping.
  15. yngwie_69

    yngwie_69 New Member

    Messages:
    61
    Location:
    Prince Rupert, BC
    wow thats horrible, copper on concrete, sloppy solder job, hope that water is from the job and not a leak. I would of ran it on the outside wall and built the wall out to hide it. If thats a drain or vent all the weight is going to go to that 90 or 2 45 fitting,
  16. yngwie_69

    yngwie_69 New Member

    Messages:
    61
    Location:
    Prince Rupert, BC
    the pipes are touching the wall at one point
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