Case Study: Plumbing Leaks in High-Rise Condo

The Problem

This project involved a mixed-use 12-story art building that was built in the early 2000's. The first four levels of the building are a combination of retail and parking, and the upper eight levels are residential units. Beginning in January 2008 and continuing for the next year and a half, leaks from burst pipes in the CPVC plumbing system were discovered in the fourth-floor garage, residential and commercial units. The Owner spent $575,000 repairing the damage, so the subcontractor that installed the CPVC plumbing system in the building was served a "notice of defect". The Owner then retained an Expert who recommended a full water distribution system replacement.

The Solution

PFCS was hired by the plumbing installation company, and applied our Building Performance Analysis (BPA) Process to the problem:

  1. Document & Information Management
  2. Meetings & Interviews with Key People
  3. Building Information Management
  4. Inspection
  5. Analysis
  6. Testing
  7. Estimate
  8. Report / Repair Recommendations

PFCS reviewed the original design documents, product installation manuals, product testing, and required code compliance. Conflicts between drawings, project manuals, product manufacturer literature and code were discovered and then resolved through numerous expert meetings. PFCS also attended testing by a 3rd-party forensics company, and surveyed and mapped out the building plumbing system, with isolated issues noted throughout. A favorable resolution was negotiated between the original subcontractor repair scope and the full system replacement as recommended by the Owner's Expert, with the value of the negotiated repair scope being less than 10% of the system replacement! PFCS was notified afterwards that, "The case has settled, in no small part because of your help."