View Full Version : Plumbing in/under slab dilemma

05-25-2011, 04:34 PM
I've worked on jobs where the plumbing had already been installed under/in slabs but I've done very little plumbing where slabs are to be poured. I've got a customer telling me to just lay the pipe on the ground. I've always trenched to set the slope of drain pipe and to protect all of the pipe from equipment running over it. What is the RIGHT way to do it? Most of all I don't want to waste time and don't want the customer thinking I'm incompetent or an idiot. Of course, he thought my price was too high and that it would only take a couple of hours to completely plumb this job... yeah, right. This is in a high dollar neighborhood and I do want to pick up more business, especially repair business since it is right up the road from my home and I live far out in the boonies...

05-25-2011, 04:47 PM
You have to have slope to the pipes, and the pipes need proper venting. I like to stake them out to prevent the concrete pour from moving the pipes around. The pipes should be below the concrete except where the verticals so through the slab, and those should be wrapped or sleeved.

It's easy for him to say, just lay the pipes on the ground, and don't charge so much.
If there is a problem after the pour, it will be you going back and redoing it on your dime.
Get the job permitted and inspected, and the homeowner should pay for that.

05-25-2011, 05:03 PM
I totally agree....BTW, where we are, there are no codes, only the state license compliance officer, no inspectors, no permits.... definitely out in the boonies.

05-25-2011, 05:14 PM
oh yeah... part of my reason for trenching is to get the pipe under the forms without disturbing them or having to cut through them. Most seem to think the gravel fill is going to take care of the need for trenching.

05-25-2011, 05:19 PM
I sure am glad I'm not the one who hired you...

You're a "master" plumber, are you?

05-25-2011, 07:29 PM
I'm glad you didn't TOO... I won't work for just anyone who has money. It sure helps if they've got blue prints & plans rather than a sketch. I've done plenty of new construction plumbing but the slab thing just happens to be something I'm not familiar with... just glad I'm intelligent enough to ask questions rather than doing guess work. I laugh at guys all the time who think they know it all and try to jack leg jobs. I see a lot of messed up junk work around here by big time plumbing companies and carpenters with a pick up and tool box. One good claim to fame I do have is that I do LOTS of work on a gentleman's agreement, no signed contract, have never been sued, have never been audited, and have collected for my work 100% of the time after 10 years in business for myself.... and I've never worked for another plumbing company.

Gary Swart
05-25-2011, 07:50 PM
It's just a matter of time before the odds catch up with you. This slab job could be the one. Get everything in writing before starting the job. This guy that wants you just to lay the pipe on the ground could very well be the one to sue for for not doing the job right. He'd forget all about telling you that he want you to do it the quick cheap way when the whole thing goes to hell. Tune in "The People's Court" any day you want and you'll almost always fine a lawsuit where no contract was signed and now there's a dispute. OK, so there's no local code enforcement, but do by code anyway. It could save your butt.

05-25-2011, 07:55 PM
Yeah Gary, I know what you mean. Fortunately almost all communications have been via email, sketches and all.. and definitely I take pictures each step of the way and email them to him. So far he has been pleased with the work ... enough that he has added on more work. At the most I could lose $200 that I'm out...; hardly like getting screwed for thousands... if it were a serious/big job I would want a contract and a lawyer to read it over. BTW, if I do plumbing it is to code regardless of where it is.

05-25-2011, 10:09 PM
At the most I could lose $200 that I'm out...; hardly like getting screwed for thousands... if it were a serious/big job I would want a contract and a lawyer to read it over.

You'd only lose $200 on an underground? Wow! Are you interested in coming up here and doing some sub work?

05-26-2011, 06:18 AM
quote; At the most I could lose $200 that I'm out...;

Wow, you are like the guy in this story.

A building superintendant calls a company to do a plumbing job and gets a price of $200.00 from Randyj. When he asks for a breakdown he is told it is $100 for labor and 100 for materials. Then he calls another company and gets a price of $500.00. That breakdown is $350 for labor and $150 for materials. Then he calls a third company and that price is $1,000.00. When he asks for a breakdown he is told, "$400.00 for me, $400.00 for you, and $200.00 for Randyj to do the job." You are either the FASTEST plumber in the world or the cheapest, because $200.00 would just barely pay for me to pick up the materials, drive to the job, and unload them.