Frequently Asked Questions
To save you time, we have provided answers to questions commonly asked by building owners, property managers and tenants who were considering and undergoing commercial, residential or institutional re-piping projects.
If you cannot find the answer to your specific question, call us at 604-253-9330 to speak with us directly. Our Re-piping Information Team can help clarify our unique Re-piping Process and how we make it most convenient and hassle-free for you.
Why Do I Need to Re-pipe?
In most of North America, scale builds up on the inside of pipes so that they become narrower with time.
In the mid 1980s it also became apparent that the Lower Mainland water was causing serious corrosion issues for water pipes. The glacial water was corroding and actually dissolving copper pipes from the inside out. Over time, pipe walls were becoming thinner as more and more copper was dissolved or eroded from the inside of the pipe. Leaks were occurring. This situation was exacerbated by non-conforming plumbing systems and the old building code. All of these reasons can accumulate into a need to re-pipe.
Why is Corrosion a Problem?
The first stage of corrosion usually involves pinhole leaks in the water pipes. As corrosion continues, these leaks increase in frequency to the point that a shut-down to repair one leak will often create further leaks. Once pipes have begun reacting in the latter stages of corrosion, the only viable alternative is usually complete replacement.
How do I start a re-piping project?
There are several ways that an owner can choose to proceed:
- Contacting or selecting a qualified re-piping contractor such as BMS, who would provide the owners with a design build and a firm-priced contract for the project;
- Selecting a professional mechanical engineering company who is familiar with this type of work, and in turn would create a full-tender package for selected contractors to provide bids on the project;
- Creating full, detailed plans and specifications from an engineering company and advertise for bids via a public tender.
In our experience, using the BMS team (who do their own construction management and who have good and longstanding relationships with various trades, property management and city officials) is the most effective way to conduct and complete a re-piping project.
What are the methods involved in re-piping?
There are two main types of plumbing replacement designs in a building. The horizontal system consists of running main pipes, typically in the corridor ceilings on each floor. Fixtures in the suites are isolated by valves located either inside the suites or in the hallways. Entry to each individual suite is minimized and there is better control for isolating the fixtures. This system is particularly suited for high-rise structures that have ample space for new piping in their hallway corridors. With the vertical system, the main pipes run horizontally in the corridor and inside the suites on a particular floor. The piping is then run vertically to service the fixtures on the upper and lower floors. There is more time involved in accessing suites with a vertical system and is better suited for low-rise structures.
Who certifies the work, both in my suite and in general locations?
New installations are inspected by municipal inspectors and representatives of engineering firms on a regular basis. In addition, the company will provide you with a warranty on both materials and labour.
What documentation do we receive after project completion?
We will provide you with as-built drawings, maintenance manuals, letters of warranty and building inspection reports.
Who are the experts in the field of piping replacement?
There are only a few companies and mechanical design engineers who are fully experienced to perform this type of work. BMS is one of them.
How long does it take to re-pipe a building?
Depending on the size of each project, it can take from as little as 4 weeks for a small job, while very large buildings can take as long as 5 months.
Do you have to do work in my unit?
When a building is totally re-piped, we need to have access to all units in order to hook up the new piping to your plumbing fixtures. You will not have to be present and will be notified in writing in advance for suite access.
Which areas in my suite are affected by re-piping?
In most instances, the affected areas are the bathroom(s) and kitchen. The time required to install new pipes and repair the walls and ceilings varies from six to ten working days. Aesthetics are important to us, and the walls in your suite or space will look as good as they did before the re-piping project.
Will I be without water when repair work is being performed?
Yes, you will be without water for short periods of time. However, you will be properly notified. In all cases, you will have full water service by the end of each day.
Can pets stay in the unit when work is being performed?
If at all possible, it is best to have your pet somewhere else while work is performed in your suite. If this is not an option, we would suggest that your pet be held in a secure place where work is not being done.
What are your normal working hours?
BMS’s normal working hours are Monday to Friday from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. No work will be performed on weekends and holidays except in emergencies. BMS are on call 24 hours a day in case of emergency situations.
Will there be any changes in appearance to my suite as a result of re-piping?
In most cases there will be no difference in appearance of your suite after re-piping, except in some cases where we may have to install some minor bulkheads to hide the new plumbing.
What about clean up on a regular basis?
Our team cleans up at the end of each work day, while a final clean up will be performed at the completion of the contract.
For more information, see Re-piping Projects or learn more about our systematic re-piping process.