Before and after pipe lining

The Best Practices for Condo Pipe Maintenance

We frequently encounter the same problem in condominiums across Ontario: Property Managers are experiencing ongoing backups and drainage issues in their pipes, despite regular flushing and costly, labour-intensive repairs.

This begs the questions: why aren’t Property Managers and Condominium Corporations exploring long-term methods to reduce capital costs when sanitary and storm plumbing systems need to be replaced?

The reality is, the majority of Property Managers don’t have a roadmap for replacing their plumbing systems. Although critical sanitary and storm systems are just as important as roofs, windows, or other building systems, they are not accurately budgeted for and are often run to fail.

If you are a Property Manager, you may be wondering:

  • “Where do I start?” 
  • “How can I proactively approach pipe repair and save costs?”
  • “Do I need to build a maintenance plan?”

These are all questions we commonly receive from clients. To help get you thinking long-term, we’ve answered these questions and more by outlining a few steps you should be taking to prepare for the future replacement of your building’s sanitary and storm systems.

1. Request a recording of the drain that backed up.

If you are experiencing regular plumbing failures or backups, ensure your contract plumber has the ability to record video footage of the problem before and after it has been cleared. Although plumbing contractors are often skilled at removing blockages or flushing a line, if they are not taking before and after video footage, it is difficult to pinpoint the cause of the backup. Be prepared to pay extra for this recording, but the footage can be shared with OPL to review on a complimentary basis.

This video footage will help to eliminate guesswork, identify drains that need increased maintenance, or to reveal larger problems that could otherwise lead to unbudgeted emergency repairs. If your stacks or horizontal mains aren’t undergoing frequent repair, video assessments are still a proactive, cost-effective measure that should be taken on an annual basis at the very least.

2. When stacks are flushed, request the exact scope of work.

The best way to stay on top of problematic stacks is by keeping track of old statements of work.  Ask your contract plumber to outline what stacks were flushed, how many feet were flushed, and where the stacks were accessed (unit numbers, floor, etc). Be sure to keep track of backup history, maintenance work, and flushing dates. It’s also useful to use drawings or blueprints to track cleanouts and repairs in specific buildings or suites and cross-reference back to stack numbers (ie 07, 02 stack etc.)

This documentation streamlines the condition assessment process and gives our technicians an understanding of the current state of your building, its history, and which stacks require scheduled maintenance. Similar to video assessments, it will allow us to spend less time investigating the issue and more time on the repair itself.

3. Look beyond kitchen stack maintenance.

Don’t neglect the other pipe systems in your building. We understand kitchen stacks have the most problems and require frequent maintenance, but it’s important to at least have video footage and documentation of your other pipe systems. Allocate a small amount of your yearly budget to maintaining and assessing each of the stacks in your building. This includes: vent stacks, laundry, toilet, and other wet stacks, storm stacks and lateral mains.

4. Start building a maintenance plan.

At OPL, we focus on being proactive rather than reactive. This means that we want to work with you to conduct regular condition assessments, build an ongoing, sustainable maintenance plan, and ensure reserve funds are spent as efficiently as possible. 

Our goal is to predict emergency repairs before they happen, and a condition assessment is the ideal place to start. For more information on condo pipe maintenance or to schedule your condition assessment, get in touch today.

Hand holding clogged pipe before cleaning

Predict Emergency Repairs Before They Happen With Video Assessments

Are you running your building’s sanitary and storm piping systems to fail because there are no viable solutions on the market? Traditionally, individual pipe sections would be replaced as they become clogged, corroded or unusable. What if there was a way to change that mindset and take a proactive approach to pipe repair? What if a cost-effective solution could be provided that would save 30-50% of these traditional replacement costs?

At Ontario Pipe Lining (OPL), we know that the longer you go between maintaining sanitary drains only increases the chance of major problems occurring in the future. These backups, floods are often unbudgeted, costly to repair and utilize scarce operational resources at the site.

Next time a section of drain pipe needs to be replaced, hire a plumber who can record a CCTV video of the pipe and share it OPL for a complimentary assessment to review and provide you an alternative method to clean and re-line the drain.

The camera will help to identify drains that need increased maintenance (flushing) or to identify larger problems that can be solved with trenchless CIPP repair methods. Not only does this streamline the repair process, but it will help prevent follow-up maintenance costs and emergency repairs from occurring in the future.

OPL technicians use CCTV video inspections to eliminate guesswork and to pinpoint the source of the piping issue. The visual inspection can help to evaluate the location, condition, and diameter of the damaged pipe. 

Depending on the size and scale of a job site, video inspections of multiple drains within a building can typically be completed within a day or two. We can share our findings and partner with operational staff and their building engineers to coordinate a repair plan. Based on our observations, we can offer insight that the majority of traditional plumbers cannot provide as they are less familiar with CIPP trenchless repairs methods.  

Once the pipes have been repaired using our minimal-disruption CIPP (cured-in-place-pipe) method, preventative video inspection can occur on a regular or annual basis to ensure everything is in working order and traditional maintenance programs can be deferred 3, 5 or even 10 years.

We offer video inspections for residential, commercial, industrial, and high-risk spaces (hospitals, other health care facilities, multi-story condos, hotels, and office towers) in Toronto, the GTA, and Southern Ontario. Read more about how we use video assessments to identify complex piping issues in our case study on the E.C Drury School.

Don’t wait until the last minute to get your deteriorated pipes assessed. We recognize that emergency pipe repairs can take a toll on condos, hospitals, schools and other high-traffic buildings with multi-story stacks. Calling the right professionals at the right time can be the difference between an easy repair and a long-term problem. For more information on how we can help, please visit our page How Drain Re-Lining Works or contact us today to book a video inspection.