How To Install New Plumbing On A Ground Floor/Basement Using Trench Cutters

15 May 2018
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In a public municipal building, you might have plumbing so old that sometimes you do not know how old it is until it has to be replaced or updated. While government buildings are frequently inspected for safety and violations of building codes, the building inspector only makes note of the age of the plumbing. He or she is not responsible for replacing it.

If you are in charge of making necessary repairs and updates to the municipal buildings in your city, it may be time to replace or install new plumbing in these buildings. You will need the help of good concrete contractors, as most municipal buildings are made from concrete, stone, and/or marble. The contractor will bring a crew and a concrete trench cutting machine for the work that will be done on the ground floors and in any basements. Here is how this installation process will likely go.

Starting in the Basement, If Applicable

Most of the plumbing for any building will run through the basement. Adding restrooms to the basement level of a municipal building is always a good idea, as it not only adds additional toilets and sinks, but it also adds additional tornado shelters inside the building. In the basement, your contractor will locate where all of the plumbing goes underground, based on the building inspector's maps and/or old building plans from when the building was initially constructed.

Next, the contractor will use a concrete saw to make a precise cut in the floor of the basement over the top of the known plumbing locations. Then the trench cutter is brought in to cut a trench through the slabs of concrete that have been cut more precisely. The purpose for first using the concrete saw is to avoid damaging all of the rest of the concrete around the area with the trench cutter, as the trench cutter chews through and breaks up the concrete, sending it in all directions as it goes.

Chunks of the trenched area are removed by shovel or by hand and placed in a wheelbarrow. The trench is excavated a little bit more to reveal the underground pipes. These pipes will be tapped, removed, replaced, and remodeled to accommodate all of the new toilets and sinks that will be installed here.

When There Is No Basement

Not all municipalities have municipal buildings with basements. When your city's buildings do not have basements, then your contractor burrows through the first floor to install and/or replace plumbing. The process is essentially the same as previously mentioned for a basement project, with the exception that everyone in the building will have to use the restrooms located on another floor of the building until the first-floor project is complete.

When You Are Working on Both the Basement and the First Floor

If the city has decided to renovate the plumbing and install basement-level bathrooms at the same time, the basement project is often conducted as mentioned above. The first-floor renovations do not require a trench cutter, since that would cut a hole through the floor into the ceiling of the basement below. Here, a concrete saw may be used to get through the first floor's material and expose pipe, while leaving the basement ceiling below undamaged.

The exposed first floor pipe may require extensive cutting to replace most of the old pipe with new pipe. That means that no one can use the first floor bathrooms without risking injury and without the water flowing through these pipes. The floor will be repaired and/or replaced once all of the new plumbing has been replaced and updated.