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View Full Version : Gawd Almighty Gray Glue


PurpHaze
12-12-2006, 10:37 PM
Been repairing a system at one of our schools that is only three years old and has already experienced many main line leaks. We're currently working on nine leak areas and in the first four cases each one has been due to gray glue failure. We've also found that all the SCH 80 TOE nipples are screwed into the valves with no Teflon tape... just pipe dope. Goes to show you that unless someone inspects contractors' jobs all the good specifications in the world aren't worth anything. I'm suspecting that at this failure rate, as we've alredy replaced four other leaking tees and also had a leak in the main line under a bus drive, we'll probably end up eventually having to replace every connection on the system. :dizzy:

Dirty Water
12-12-2006, 10:44 PM
I don't get why they don't give you a bigger crew and let you do the installs to?

jerryrwm
12-12-2006, 11:58 PM
Been repairing a system at one of our schools that is only three years old and has already experienced many main line leaks. We're currently working on nine leak areas and in the first four cases each one has been due to gray glue failure. We've also found that all the SCH 80 TOE nipples are screwed into the valves with no Teflon tape... just pipe dope. Goes to show you that unless someone inspects contractors' jobs all the good specifications in the world aren't worth anything. I'm suspecting that at this failure rate, as we've alredy replaced four other leaking tees and also had a leak in the main line under a bus drive, we'll probably end up eventually having to replace every connection on the system. :dizzy:
Maybe it is the contractors that your district tends to use. It's that wonderful "low bidder" mentality that ends up with the kind of work that you are finding. Not all contractors install shoddy systems. Some actually do good work and don't get selected because of the GC and/or end user mentality that they can live with a little less quality work is the price is lower. Seems the old saying, "the bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweet taste of low price is gone" rings true. Best way to stop things like that is put them on the 'No Bid' List.

And the failures probably are due to the contractor's workmanship rather than the grey cement. I've encountered grey cement that has held for over twenty years, but it was applied properly and allowed to cure.

Hell man, that's job security for you and the boys. Fix a leak a week and get paid. No worries.

PurpHaze
12-13-2006, 09:21 AM
I don't get why they don't give you a bigger crew and let you do the installs to?

New schools are funded by bond and/or state monies and everything is contracted out. There is a Bond Oversight Committee that is supposed to insure that monies are being spent properly but their main emphasis is the overall picture that projects that are being funded actually get done. They don't deal with the individual specifics. Each new construction project requires a state mandated inspector but it's apparent these inspectors don't overly concern themselves with the irrigation systems.

PurpHaze
12-13-2006, 09:31 AM
Maybe it is the contractors that your district tends to use. It's that wonderful "low bidder" mentality that ends up with the kind of work that you are finding. Not all contractors install shoddy systems. Some actually do good work and don't get selected because of the GC and/or end user mentality that they can live with a little less quality work is the price is lower. Seems the old saying, "the bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweet taste of low price is gone" rings true. Best way to stop things like that is put them on the 'No Bid' List.

Great points that we've thought about. Problem is that in the long run we actually have no say about the subcontractors. On smaller "improvement projects" there are some contractors that are not used based on their past performance but on new projects it's a whole different ballgame.

And the failures probably are due to the contractor's workmanship rather than the grey cement. I've encountered grey cement that has held for over twenty years, but it was applied properly and allowed to cure.

You're probably correct here. On a couple of the tees you can see/feel the areas where the glue was disturbed (leaking with even sand grains embedded) at a very early stage. They were probably handled too soon without allowing for set-up time, but without being there at installation time it's hard to tell.

Hell man, that's job security for you and the boys. Fix a leak a week and get paid. No worries.

For someone maybe. All I know is that we've spent probably close to $100k in the past couple of years correcting problems on our four newest school sites. Each had different irrigation contractors but the three elementary schools were all designed by the same consultant.

bobw
12-13-2006, 03:17 PM
All I know is that we've spent probably close to $100k in the past couple of years correcting problems on our four newest school sites. Each had different irrigation contractors but the three elementary schools were all designed by the same consultant.

So, is the problem poor design, poor materials or poor workmanship?

koster_irrigation
12-13-2006, 06:48 PM
Ive seen guys put glue on the threads of valves. LOCO!

On the side of a TORO valve,
"USE NO PIPE DOPE"

jerryrwm
12-13-2006, 10:21 PM
Ive seen guys put glue on the threads of valves. LOCO!

On the side of a TORO valve,
"USE NO PIPE DOPE"

Then they have just made a long slip valve.

That stamp was put there before teflon paste hit the market in a big way. Many used Rectorseal (the yellow kind) and it would soften the plastic. of the valves. Teflon paste doesn't have that effect.

cush
12-14-2006, 09:31 AM
Why not just require them to warranty the systems for a longer period of time.

jerryrwm
12-14-2006, 09:43 AM
Why not just require them to warranty the systems for a longer period of time.
Price then goes up exponentially. Why? Things that happen after the first year are then suspect as to whether it is warranty or not. We give a one year warranty on workmanship and and manufacturer's warranty on material. But we do charge for labor if a head or valve malfuntions since the manf. doesn't pay for the labor to do the repairs.

PurpHaze
12-14-2006, 10:23 AM
So, is the problem poor design, poor materials or poor workmanship?

Good question... wish I had the answer. It could be a combination of factors.

Mjtrole
12-14-2006, 08:23 PM
Good question... wish I had the answer. It could be a combination of factors.

Not poor design, most everything now is computer aid design with the hydraulics of a system, very rarely is it poor materials Poor workmanship is most likely the answer.

Most job foreman have never had to experience service or better yet service a system they have installed, I broke into irrigation long ago working service for a very large company and it was the same thing then, the boss was more concerned with getting the jobs and getting them done. If you have somebody on a job that does not know it's not going to last then it always gets installed that way. If a job is installed poorly it won't show for a couple of years.