Some simple plumbing problems can be handled by homeowners themselves. And in cases when plumbing problems are beyond the capability of common homeowners, one can always plumber to go fix it. All of those things are true, unless one happens to live in a condo; condo plumbing is very much different from single home plumbing.
What complicates plumbing in condo units is that many units share a water system, and multiple units may share the same shut-off and supply valves. That generally means that whenever there is a fault that needs fixing in one unit, the supply for many condo units or even the whole condo may have to be interrupted. Usual condo rules require that all plumbing repairs be coordinated with the homeowners’ association.
Having to go through the condo homeowners association to schedule plumbing repair on your unit usually means you have no control over when it will happen. The homeowner and the plumber will have to make themselves available when condo homeowners association allows the repairs to happen. Nobody can unilaterally decide to fix anything in the condo association plumbing system.
Because many families are affected each time something in the plumbing system needs to be repaired, people and plumbing contractors are always on the lookout for technologies which would reduce downtime. One of the technologies used, especially for larger bore piping systems is the use of cured in place pipe. This method is especially effective for drain and sewage piping repairs.
For pipes with .1 meter to 2.8 meter bore, the installation of a pipe liner allows repair of damaged sections of pipe without having to excavate and physically replace pipe sections. What they do is install an epoxy pipe liner which is left to cure. The inflatable bladder used to set the liner tight against the old pipe’s walls is then removed. This significantly reduces the repair time because little or no excavation is required; there’s also no pipe removal and replacement.
The use of pipe liner technology also results in considerable cost savings which you can easily quantify by asking for a cured in place pipe cost estimate. You can then also ask another plumbing company to provide an estimate for conventional pipe replacement. You will be pleasantly surprised at the difference in cost. And of course, asking a condo homeowners association for a shorter repair window makes it more likely it will be approved sooner.
There are also epoxy pipe lining technologies available for small bore pipes. Instead of using liners installed through the use of inflatable bladders, liquid epoxy is sprayed on pipe internal surfaces to repair pinholes, cracks and other types of damage.
Because condo owners share the same plumbing system, they also share disruptions. That generally means they need to have licensed plumbers working on their pipes – handymen won’t do. Damage unqualified people may do will make the disruption unacceptable. There are many trade organizations such as the Plumber’s Residential Council Ontario who can provide a list of professionally certified plumbers.
Living in a condo involves being mindful of others who share the same resources. It would help to keep the name of a good plumbing contractor handy.