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Old 03-21-2018, 04:40 AM   #1
Radas
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Issues with new residential construction shower

Hello all! I'm back again and in need of some advice. First of all, thank you all for the wealth of knowledge you've provided me with that has opened my eyes to situations like the one I'll be describing below.

My wife and I are building a new home in a subdivision and chose to have a tile shower installed with a bench. Yesterday, I got an opportunity to walk through the house post-framing, electrical, plumbing, and HVAC. I noticed something was wrong when I walked into the master bath where the shower was located. The plumbers who installed the PVC oatey liner had done so with what looks like a missing preslope, no roofing felt/hot mop below the shower footprint, seams/perforations (on the curb/corners where wall pan meet) sealed with duct tape, and a very dirty drain/weep hope area.

What, if any, recourse do I have? I've contacted the builder and have received no response yet and am planning on contacting our township building department in hopes that they haven't signed off on this monstrosity. Are there sections of the IBC that I can reference telling them what they are doing is 100% unacceptable?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-21-2018, 05:47 AM   #2
Kman
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Welcome back, Ali.

Duct tape on the liner seams. Wish I could say that's my first time seeing that.

Ask them how they plan to tile the bench without perforating the liner. Ask them how the water that gets to the liner will drain, especially if the drain body is above the liner. They could still do the curb correctly, but I bet they won't.

Have them do a flood test. Duct tape is okay if your car window is broken out and you have to wait til payday for a new one, but it's not okay for your shower.
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Old 03-21-2018, 06:07 AM   #3
reefone
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ive actually never seen duct tape on a pan liner and never seen any plumber put in a preslope. so that doesn't surprise me at all.

you wont have tar paper and hot mop as the liner takes its place and we don't use hot mop in this part of the country. every liner in a new house ive seen look as dirty as yours or worse. wait until the dry wallers come and stand on it and drop screws all over it.

in new homes I always rip out the liner and do a preslope with a new liner. you never know what was done to it as its installed during the rough and everyone just trashes it. ive actually had a couple plumbers step up their game after they see me pulling the liner and throwing in the trash.

I'm sure it passed inspection like that as all they look for is if it holds water. ive never seen them look for preslope or corners on the dam. if you can get the builder to replace the pan liner I would wait until a least the house is drywalled or right before the tile goes in.

sorry I don't know the code number for the pan liner but I think its plumbing code and not ibc. I'm sure someone who knows those numbers will show up and post them.
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Old 03-21-2018, 09:41 AM   #4
workhurts
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Is this a national builder or a small town outfit cuz that's pretty horrible.
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Old 03-21-2018, 10:22 AM   #5
Radas
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Thanks for the information!

This is a small local builder duo that has built a few cookie cutter subdivisions with no terrible reviews.

So I called the township inspector and mentioned my findings and he told me the plumbing code does not require a pre-slope under the liner (which is false) but offered to contact the builder and request a flood test. He also said that he's seen plumbers use duct tape to cover seams that have been PVC glued although I don't see any reason for this. He also refused to answer questions about the liner on the shower bench.

At this point, all that's being done is that the builder is going to be forced to perform a flood test. I am otherwise screwed since it doesn't seem like the builder or township inspector gives a shit about my homes shoddy shower construction.

I still have not heard from the builder.

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Old 03-21-2018, 11:03 AM   #6
wwhitney
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There are two plumbing codes in adoption in the US. Each one requires that the shower liner itself be sloped, i.e. that a preslope be installed under the liner:

2015 Uniform Plumbing Code:

408.7 Lining for Showers and Receptors. [ . . . ] Lining material shall be pitched 1/4 inch per foot (20.8 mm/m) to weep holes in the subdrain of a smooth and solidly formed subbase[ . . .]

2015 International Plumbing Code:

417.5.2 Shower lining. [ . . .] Liners shall be pitched one-fourth unit vertical in 12 units horizontal (2-percent slope) and shall be sloped toward the fixture drains [ . . .]

Cheers, Wayne
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Old 03-21-2018, 03:48 PM   #7
Radas
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Thanks guys, as of right now, the builder said this:

"The tape is only the to hold adhesive membrane until it dries.

The slope is created by the tile not the lumber.

Builder, plumber, and inspectors all approved the installation."

Uhh... No.

I spoke with the moron at the township who is in charge of their plumbing inspections and he said "as long as they do a 15 minute leak test, it'll pass."

I spoke with the State of Michigan LARA chief of plumbing who agreed that the installation was not performed up to international plumbing code but refused to provide any further guidance as they do not trump approvals by municipality inspectors.

Looks like I'm going to have to rip out a shower as soon as this home is built or piss off my wife and put it up for sale.

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Old 03-21-2018, 03:59 PM   #8
wwhitney
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Does your contract with the builder not have any language about their performing construction in compliance with applicable codes?

My building department stamps all approved job site plan sets with language to the effect that approval of the plans does not alleviate contractors of the requirement to comply with all applicable codes. I.e. if the inspector misses something or approves it, it doesn't change the contractor's duty to comply with the codes.

Cheers, Wayne
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Old 03-21-2018, 04:24 PM   #9
Radas
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This is their compliance section (#6).

Seems to me that I am pretty screwed and in hindsight should have reviewed with an attorney.
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Old 03-21-2018, 05:08 PM   #10
Mathman
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If he won't build it correctly, ask if he will just leave the tile and materials and you will fix it after the closing. At least you won't have to tear it all out and buy new tile.
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Old 03-21-2018, 06:16 PM   #11
Radas
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That's my next course of action, spoke to my agent about having them get the pile of crap they call a shower enclosure signed off and leave it be. I'll be able to do a much better job myself over a weekend using:

kerdi drain/mud pan alternative/kerdi drywall

Or

ripping out what's there, building a preslope, and affixing new liner, then kerdi drywall around the curb/walls.

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Old 03-21-2018, 07:39 PM   #12
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When you say mud bed alternative you mean foam tray? I have dented a few and the footprint of your shower would mean uneven perimeter most likely. I would do a schluter drain and a mud bed with kedi on top and tying in to the walls with the kerdi there. And you might get a warranty to boot if you follow all their guidelines.
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Old 03-21-2018, 07:47 PM   #13
Radas
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Yeah that's what I meant, the kerdi system with mud bed. I am a fan because of the endless possibilities.

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Old 03-21-2018, 08:15 PM   #14
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If you feel comfortable pitching and packing a mud bed then that is great. I personally use durock membrane but you use whatever you feel comfortable with
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Old 03-24-2018, 07:34 AM   #15
Radas
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So just an update:

Spoke with the builder again and they insisted that my agent and myself were crossing the line by telling the builder how to do their job.

Spoke with the township plumbing inspector and they said it held 2" of water for 15 minutes so it passed. I spoke with his supervisor who said he realizes they don't inspect for all sections of plumbing code and that asking for a preslope is ridiculous. In 30 years he hasn't seen a shower fail with a flat liner. I pointed out sections in the Michigan plumbing code that reference sloped liners and he dismissed it and said that he would not reverse his plumbing inspectors decision. What do I pay tax dollars for?!

Basically I'm dealing with a bunch of idiots.

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