the big dig2
January 22, 2013
Today, even though it was miserably cold – a wind chill factor dropping temperatures below zero – the plumbers did all the pipe replacement. The inspector even came by.
The dig represents an even bigger hole than the one shown in the last post. On Saturday, we made a decision to dig to the basement-wall and replace all the terra-cotta coming from the basement to the end of the dig. The new hole is easily 12 feet long and 10 feet deep.
New PVC was also inserted into the 6 inch terra-cotta still in the ground and going to the sewer. Fifteen feet of new PVC went into the old terra-cotta.
The last work is to put back all the dirt. (Yes, the PVC has to be trimmed, but that will take little time.)
Home repairs are a quagmire. I got three bids for this job. The first one came in at $26,000 with the plumber claiming to bring in a conveyor belt that would move the earth to a dump-drunk in the alley. And he would line the terra-cotta with a resin. (Lining the terra-cotta with a resin sheath is for environments with large trees. The sheath prevents the roots from breaking and clogging the sewer pipe. There are few trees in my neighborhood and tree-roots invading sewer pipes is not an issue in this part of town. Also the resin sheath is very expensive.) I did not go with this bid.
The next bid was for $20,000. The contractor told me that this was not the kind of work he did, but given that no plumber was giving me a workable bid, he would dig and subcontract the plumbing. He was clear about over-estimating the bid, because he didn’t know what was involved and he wanted to make sure all OSHA guidelines were followed. I did not take this bid.
The third bid was from a Calabrese plumber that I had used before and who had done good work. I had contacted him about the job back in October, but he was busy and didn’t get back to me until Christmas Eve. We were able to negotiate a decent time-and-materials contract and he got the job.