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Gawd Almighty Gray Glue

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by PurpHaze, Dec 12, 2006.

  1. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,496

    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:

    Oak Grove Main Line Leaks 12-06 IV-01.jpg

    Oak Grove Main Line Leaks 12-06 IV-02.jpg

    Oak Grove Main Line Leaks 12-06 IV-03.jpg

    Oak Grove Main Line Leaks 12-06 IV-04.jpg
  2. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,799

    I don't get why they don't give you a bigger crew and let you do the installs to?
  3. jerryrwm

    jerryrwm LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,274

    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.
  4. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,496

    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.
  5. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,496

    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.

    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.

    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.
  6. bobw

    bobw LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 807

    So, is the problem poor design, poor materials or poor workmanship?
  7. NC_Irrigator

    NC_Irrigator LawnSite Bronze Member
    from NC
    Posts: 1,415

    Ive seen guys put glue on the threads of valves. LOCO!

    On the side of a TORO valve,
  8. jerryrwm

    jerryrwm LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,274

    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.
  9. cush

    cush LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 352

    Why not just require them to warranty the systems for a longer period of time.
  10. jerryrwm

    jerryrwm LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,274

    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.

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