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Builder hit a pipe
Who has to pay?

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15 replies to this topic

#1 Romeo Void

Posted 11 December 2012 - 05:36 PM

Our builder dug footings today for our deck.  I was watching out the window with my children, like you do, when I saw the digger bring up a load of dirt with shards of clay pipe.  They stopped and had a quick look then kept going.  I decided to head down and ask what was going on (the main guy wasn't there, his sidekicks were) and they told me it was fine, an old pipe, nothing to worry about.  So I didn't.

Luckily it rained a little this afternoon so when I popped down with my children to have a look, I saw water pooled at the bottom of the hole.  Not all the holes, just the one with the pipe.  So I got suspicious and did a little test, I ran the tap for our laundry tub and sure enough the water started to swirl in the hole.  I've let him know and he's coming tomorrow to have a look.  

Is this something that he now has to suck up and fix because he broke it?  Or am I going to get stuck with paying for this?  I fear it's going to cost a bit as the pipe is well over 1m down and they're going to have to break up our concrete driveway to get at it sad.gif

#2 liveworkplay

Posted 11 December 2012 - 05:55 PM

Their problem entirely.

#3 TheWanderer

Posted 11 December 2012 - 06:17 PM

If I were you I would quickly work out which pipe he hit. It could get messy real quick if it is a sewer line that is used by more than one property.

Go here http://1100.com.au

Set up an account and search for your property. You will get emails from utility providers with underground assets running through your property.  It shouldn't be too hard to work out which pipe was hit.  Print the map and show your contractor.

#4 Romeo Void

Posted 11 December 2012 - 06:21 PM

Ok I've had a look at our plans and it looks like it's a combo drain with next door!  We're uphill so I don't know if they will be affected.  And I don't know if it's sewage or just storm water, I'm waiting for the water to drain out so I can flush and test.

No one is allowed to poo for now!

#5 TheWanderer

Posted 11 December 2012 - 06:33 PM

Count yourself lucky... We have a sewer main that services half our suburb running through our b├íck yard.  If anyone hit that that we would really know it.

If its a small drin pipe, a plumber should be able to fix it easily enough... They should pay though.

Edited by TheWanderer, 11 December 2012 - 06:34 PM.

#6 Romeo Void

Posted 11 December 2012 - 07:10 PM

I've checked and it's definitely a sewer.  

No one allowed to poo in our house tonight!  Lucky my sister lives next door  biggrin.gif

I don't think it's going to be easy TheWanderer, it's about 1.5m down and they've opened a 50cm hole in our concrete driveway to dig.  I can't see how they can get down to the pipe without tearing up a big chunk of our driveway.

Oh well, it could have been much worse. They were due to pour the concrete footing tomorrow.  Imagine if they'd poured all that concrete THEN we worked out the sewer was blocked?!?

#7 JustOneMorePlease

Posted 11 December 2012 - 07:30 PM

I wouldn't be so sure they have to pay. Depends on what the terms and conditions are. A different scenario but when we had a tree stump removed we were aware of a pipe under the ground and it was in their terms and conditions that if they were to hit such pipes it is my responsibility not theirs.

#8 MGB

Posted 12 December 2012 - 12:09 PM

How did you go with the builder OP?

#9 Romeo Void

Posted 12 December 2012 - 12:36 PM

He came around this morning with a plumber and they discussed it at length.  It appears the builder is going to fix it himself (under guidance from the plumber) tomorrow.  Apparently because the footing for the deck is positioned directly over the pipe he has to do some load shifting business around the pipe.

Not sure what to make of it all.

#10 FionaM

Posted 12 December 2012 - 12:42 PM

OP i would be interested to hear how you went.

we are having our bathroom renovated at the moment and i notice a hole in our hallway that wasnt there yesterday !!

#11 robot sm

Posted 12 December 2012 - 12:49 PM

I used to work for a company that installed rainwater tanks, if any of our plumbers hit a pipe (it happened a lot actually!) we paid for it.  It's the tradesmens responsibility to check on pipe locations etc, not your responsibility to go and mark out on your property where any pipes run!

#12 Romeo Void

Posted 12 December 2012 - 05:05 PM

How do you get a hole in the hallway?  So strange.

I don't have a problem with the builder digging it out and cutting away the pipe, I think I'm going to insist he gets the 'real' plumber back to do the connecting part.  I mean, if it's going to be under 1.5m of concrete AND have our deck supported over it I want it done well with no worry of it having problems in the future.

#13 *LucyE*

Posted 13 December 2012 - 07:49 AM

Apparently because the footing for the deck is positioned directly over the pipe he has to do some load shifting business around the pipe.

Who did the plans and approvals for your deck?  In our LGA, we would not have been approved to have footings over a sewerage line.

#14 Romeo Void

Posted 15 December 2012 - 09:21 PM

*LucyE* it was done by an accredited Brisbane City Council approver. When I talked to my builder he said that old drawings (like ours) often aren't to scale because they're hand done and you'd only be guessing at the location of the pipe.  But it really does seem no one was expecting the pipes to be there, not the approver, not the bloke digging and not our builder.

He came around and fixed the pipe.  I asked he didn't fill the hole for a few days so I could monitor it to make 1000% sure it didn't leak.

I think I've made him paranoid as he's come up with a different solution to putting the post on top of the sewer.  He's going to reinforce the beam and forgo the central post (that rests on the pipe).  So our entire 5mx6m deck will be supported by 2 posts (and attached to the house) and some industrial strength beams.  

The draftsperson is on holidays so his plan is to over engineer the beam requirements and get approval afterwards.  I haven't talked to him for 2 days but I plan on telling him that it's on his head if the draftsperson doesn't approve what he does.

This whole thing feels like it's ever so slightly out of control.

#15 *LucyE*

Posted 16 December 2012 - 12:10 AM

Oh!  You poor thing!  You have my sympathies.  

I hate renovating/extending.  I hate the red tape.  I hate dealing with some tradies.  I don't speak 'builder' and they obviously can't understand me so I now only use 'interpreters' or else I'd bloody strangle them.

We have been landscaping and needed to change our septic output areas.  We apply to Council to get their certified copy of the existing plans to include with our application to amend.  Only to find that they sent me an old plan that was 2 stages out of date.  I then went through my files to find the copies of our amended (and approved!) plans so that they could update their files before we could apply to amend.

Bah!  Sorry to take over and start venting.  I call this our never ending reno.  It feels like we will never be finished (and not from a lack of desire from our part).

#16 Romeo Void

Posted 16 December 2012 - 02:50 PM

No LucyE you go right ahead, you've given me food for thought.  I did some searching last night after your post querying building over a sewer pipe and I've got a slightly sick feeling that we may not have got all the approval necessary.  But I've followed the instructions from the engineer/builder/BBC accredited approver to the letter so I hope I'm worried about nothing.  I don't know what else I could have done?

I'm going to call him tomorrow and ask he doesn't go ahead without getting the all clear form the engineer.  If it delays the project by 2-3 weeks so be it.  Either that or put in an extra post (one each side of the sewer) rather than remove a post.  I'd feel more comfortable with that option.

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