Would you classify buried underground piping....

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by DVS Hardscaper, Jun 13, 2009.

  1. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,580

    ........as an Underground Utility????

    Here is what I have:

    We have a client with existing piping buried underground. This pipe is piping water from 3 roof downspouts.

    In my opinion, there are two types of utilities:

    1: Public (electric, telephone, cable, gas, water and sewer)
    2: Private (well lines, septic lines, electric running from house to pool, shed, garage, lamp post, etc., Gas lines running fom buried gas tank to pool heater, oil lines)

    Ok, do you guys think that buried piping for roofing downspouts would be considered an underground utility?? I would be interested in hearing legitimate opinions from as many as possible here.

    We're currently doing a job and I'm learning from this job that I need to go back and make modifications to 3 different clauses of our contract.

  2. mrusk

    mrusk LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,260

    DVS when I do a hardscape job, I always include in the price piping out the downspouts. If the downspouts are already piped out, I still factor it in since chances are they will be tore up anyway.
  3. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,580

    MRusk - thats exactly what I do as well, and I state in the proposal that we will be installing and or replacing piping.

    However, my question IS would you or would you not consider the underground downspout piping to be considered an "underground utility"?

    An example is, a septic sewer line (the line that goes to the tank) IS typically considered an underground utility.
  4. Isobel

    Isobel LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 548

    I would think its not, but I don't have anything to really base that on. It's not covered by digsafe--as its really not a public line.

    I suppose it could be considered a private line, as downspout lines usually just stay on private property.

    In our contracts we have a part that says the client needs to tell us about any sort of underground lines on their property--irrigation, lighting, french drains, etc. But I also let them know that if we come across something we're not expecting, there could be additional costs.
  5. kabrac

    kabrac LawnSite Member
    from Alabama
    Messages: 234

    No. You're thinking too much. Rest that brain.
  6. Bru75

    Bru75 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 582

    I wouldn't consider it a utility.
    I do have a clause in my contract that it is the owner's responsibility to tell me the location of anything burried other than public utilities.
  7. Kizzelwhix

    Kizzelwhix LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    its not a utility, but you should include that in your pricing, as you may hit it and need to replace it

    I just did a wall job where the homeowner marked all the private utilities (wires running to septic, well, garage) - however the septic pipe that carries all the crap (literally) from house to tank was not marked. I hit it with the excavator and ended up having to replace a section - ironic thing is I hit it while digging the septic wires deeper because they would have been coming out the face of the wall otherwise.

    PVC isn't all that expensive and if you include it in an estimate, and you hit it, you're covered. If you dont hit it, dont charge them for it. A quote is another story, but its good to cover your ass.

    IF you have a metal/wire detector, you can run a snake through the piping from where the downspout meets it and mark it yourself.
  8. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,580

    We're doing a job where it was a mutual decision between the client and I to access the work area from a different place than origianally discussed and from what the contract was based on. Turns out.....3 down spouts are connected to a buried pipe, and it's been raining like pistons and sparkplugs lately, we're moving close to 200 cubic yards of fill soil into the backyard......therefore the piping is trashed! I always factor in replacing underground drain pipes, but I didn't with this job because I origianally wasn't planning to traverse on that side.

    We're replacing the pipe. And we're also upgrading from what was origianally there. The client is paying for the materials and we're providing the labor. No worries. And all is well.

    13 years in the construction business and this is the first time we've changed course (meaning decided to access an area from a different location than origianally planned). Our disclaimer page addresses underground utilities, however it's time to specifically state specific examples (along with the wording "but not limited to"). Had my proposal specifically stated examples - I'd be able to charge the client to fix it.

    Like I said, 13 years and never any problems. Thats a long time. I suggest everyone else make sure your contracts account for this.

    Would you folks like to chime in and provide examples of what should be listed?

    Last edited: Jun 13, 2009
  9. Mid-Ohio Scaper

    Mid-Ohio Scaper LawnSite Member
    Messages: 135

    The Owner will be responsible for disclosing all property lines, corners, downspouts, underdrainage, “invisible fence”, irrigation, etc. prior to commencing work.

    Basically the homeowner is responsible for telling me about everything on their property that the utilities protection service is not responsible for marking.

    I also state I will exercise extreme caution in marked areas, however, these items may still be damaged and I cannot assume liability for these items, and repairs will be passed on to Owner at cost on final billing.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2009

    STRINGALATION LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 777

    funny but i was really waiting to hear your punch line DVS. I HAVE READ YOUR THREADS AND LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR POST so i said to myself why is he asking this
    i said he tore it up and wants the customer to pay for it because he did not know it was down there. i was pretty close

    now for the record i feel a buried down spout is a public/private utility i thought so at first but the definition of utility cleared that right up in my mind it is def. a utility

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