Re: HELP!! The inspector says I must use cast iron below grade�K
Posted by Linda on October 03, 2002 at 01:21:20:
In response to Re: HELP!! The inspector says I must use cast iron below grade�K
: I just checked with our local (part-time) plumbing inspector about how to tie a new bathroom into the existing 4�� cast iron sewer line in my basement floor. He informed me that local code calls for leaded-in cast iron below grade (PVC is fine above grade). My problem is that I don��t believe I can get a cast iron Tee spliced and leaded into the existing buried sewer line. Doing so would require having some play in the buried pipe so that (after cutting out a section) I could slide the buried pipe back a few inches, drop in the Tee and slide the pipe into the female ends of the Tee.

: Obviously there��s not any play in a 20 foot section of buried cast iron pipe. It seems to me I��d have exuvate and replace the buried pipe all the way back to the stack �V through a finished basement room. Well that��s NOT going to happen just to comply with some long outdated plumbing code (no PVC below grade).

: After nicely pointing out this issue to the inspector he said I could submit an alternate plan which he would review and rule on. So that��s where you experts come in. I��d like to get your suggestions as to solutions commonly used in other parts of the country (I��m in the Chicago area). Please provide as much technical detail as possible so he��ll know that I��ve come up with a viable option.

: My initial thoughts:

: �� Use a hub-less cast iron Tee. Will 4�� hub-less mesh well with existing 4�� cast iron?

: �� Use a standard PVC Tee with rubber boots and stainless steel bands.

: �� Use a special�V higher grade PVC/Plastic Tee fitting which is specifically designed for below grade. Does such a thing exist? If so what is it called?

: �� LAST OPTION �V Exuvate a couple of inches below the splice area �V exposing the spliced-in PVC Tee and then put concrete under it �V effectively making it an above grade connection. I would of course concrete it all in after passing the inspection. (I��m joking on this one �V I think)

: I find it incredible that I��m being told to use cast below grade and that ��no one has ever complained about it�� - when the new sewer lines they are putting into all our streets are bluish/green plastic. Seems that there��s a double standard in place. But I won��t complain yet because at least the inspector seems to have a possible open mind. I know that��s not the case in many areas.

: I��ll be EXTREMELY grateful for all your responses!

: Thanks!
: Ed

Hi Ed,

Now I know you may think this sounds crazy coming from a woman, not a plumber woman, just an ordinary woman, but just hear me out. I was present for the entire building of my house 3 1/2 years ago and have been present for all the plumbing that has taken place in the past 3 weeks at a house I am remodeling for a friend of mine who is 93. So needless to say, I am practically in charge. I sort of kid the guys and call myself the contractor. I mean, I fight with them over price and inches they try to steal from any area of any room. I have learned that edging in 2x4s will give me 2 extra inches on either side of the room today, that is OK as long as the walls aren't exterior adn require insulation of 14 grade. Haha, sound like I know what I am talking about. Anyway, enough of this talk. Lets get to your problem. We too in NY are up against building codes and compliances, that make me want to go to the building department and shoot someone. Unfortunately, I have to tuck my tail in and keep my mouth shut, do what they require by code, or face major fines. I am talking in the thousands. I kind of figured out that it's cheaper to do it according to their rules in the first place then to think I am going to do it my way and then have to redo it. You see, they have to supply us with the Certificate of Occupany. Without the C of O, you better never even think about selling you house. Any half-brained lawyer for the buyer will not let you purchase a home without a current one.
We purchased a handyman special. All new everything,and 200 thousand dollars later. From the laundry/boiler room out onto the patio and back in the kitchen and across it to the main, cutting through concrete and whatever else was in its path, a hole big and deep enoungh to fit the army in, had to be dug. And not to burst your possible bubble, but nothing and I me nothing but cast iron was allowed in that hole. That hole also voided the termite treatment that was just done to satisfy the bank.
I am adding a bathroom to the current house we are working on, in the basement. The cast iron main pipe is burried under the floor of one of the rooms being finished which is in between the water main and the new bathroom. The concrete floor in the new bathroom had to be dug up entirely for 2 reasons. One, to get the required 7 foot ceiling height (short by just a few inches) and two,to cut out part of the large cast iron pipe to get the pitch needed to add the new bathroom. Once again, absolutely nothing but cast iron can go underground. I kind of felt like you do, who are they to tell me what to do on my property. So what if the ceiling is 6'8". I certainly don't know anyone that tall. No basketball player visiting my house any time soon. I found out they can tell me what to do, they will and they do. My plumber goes way back with the city inspector and said he will not allow it. That will open the city to a lawsuit and could put his job on the line. Think about it. If in the future I have problems with water back up or leaks underground after I paid out thousands to finish the basement, I am not going to pay all over to fix it. I am going to call my insurance company because I have water back-up coverage. Before my insurance company pays me one cent, they will send an investigator who works for them to inspect. This person usually looks for ways to save his company money, right? When he sees a PVC pipe leading underground, he will have earned his days pay. I will have to either pay to redo the job to fix the problem or sue the city for allowing it to be done against code. I will need to pay the lawyer to sue and if I lose, damn, I'm out of luck at every angle. Or maybe the insurance company will agree to pay, but that gives them the right to sue the city. I guess you could say, I better never attempt to do the slightest renovation anywhere in this city again. I hope I made some sense.
But there is a possible light at the end of the tunnel. My plumber can put pipes around the earth in every direction, it the need arises. I watch him work and listen to him carefully. I am going to print your problem and bring it to him tomorrow. If there is a possible way around that cast iron pipe, he will definately figure it out. That still doesn't mean your inspector will go for it. But it's certainly worth a shot. I will try to contact you tomorrow evening with any suggestion he has. If I can't find my way back to this sight to respond and you don't here from me by Friday, please e-mail me with a way to get in touch with you via the internet please.

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