Building Management Hawaii August/September2013 - (Page 22)

Project Repipe A local building gets a complete system replacement, and shares what it learned along the way. By Aimee Harris SageWater explains piping components to clients Plumbing A fter nearly five years in the making, 1350 Ala Moana completed the industry’s most intrusive capital improvement project—a pipe replacement project. “This building is 45 years old. I’ve been the general manager here for five years, and from the first day I stepped foot in here we had leaks. We had ongoing problems with our drain and fresh water systems,” Ron Komine Jr., ARM®, says. “Constant water shutdowns and repairs were needed just to keep the building operational. We had no choice but to replace the entire system—the drain, waste and vent lines.” In Hawaii, plumbing problems can be divided into two categories—newer buildings with defective potable piping components, and older buildings with aging plumbing systems that are in need of replacement. The waste plumbing systems of buildings built pre-1980 are reaching the end of their useful life, while buildings built in the 1960s and 1970s are seeing severe deterioration of their cast iron drain, waste, vent and roof drain systems. Most pre1975 buildings will need to replace their cast iron pipes within the next 10 years. “Severely deteriorated systems, such as what was found at 1350 Ala Moana, manifest themselves with constant leaks, backups and even pieces of pipe falling out of the building and down open shafts,” says Peter Page, president/owner A sample from an aging plumbing system 22 August - September 2013 BMH of SageWater, a pipe replacement specialist for occupied buildings with a local office in Honolulu as well as offices across the U.S. and in Canada. Page explains that few of Hawaii’s older buildings are equipped with clean-outs, which are access points to the pipes for cleaning. “Without proper routine maintenance, the useful life of the pipes is greatly diminished,” Page says. “Many older pipes are so fragile that an aggressive cleaning now could cause damage. When the pipes get to this stage there is nothing left to do but replace them.” deductible on a master condo policy is $5,000 per loss, it is not uncommon for buildings that have a pattern of losses to have a deductible of $10,000, $25,000 or more,” Savio says. In some cases, carriers are unwilling to provide insurance coverage unless the pipes are replaced. “While the cost of replacing pipes is not trivial, I believe the investment is well worth it as it will result in higher resale value,” she says. “After all, would you rather buy a unit in a 45-year-old building that has been retrofitted with all new pipes? Or in a 45-year-old building that has mounting water-damage losses and deferred replacing the pipes?” Proper planning prevents poor performance, and GET YOUR TEAM its importance can’t be TOGETHER “You need a total team effort to understated for pipe lift a project of this magnitude off Komine replacement projects. the ground,”projects. says of pipe replacement ~ Richard Furst, ABB Beyond the hassles of leaks, floods, water shut downs, sewer backups and constant repairs, a sick plumbing system can put your building’s insurance in jeopardy. “At 1350 Ala Moana we were at a point where no insurance company wanted to cover us,” says Komine. “Without insurance owners can’t refinance their mortgages, no one can get financial help, etc. After all the leaks, payouts and insurance problems, the board decided it was finally time for pipe replacement.” According to Sue Savio, president of Insurance Associates, Inc., water damage losses are the No. 1 cause of claims in residential condos. “I file an average of 15 water damage claims each week,” she says. As the losses mount, insurance companies will often impose higher premiums as well as higher deductibles. “While the typical Dirk Yoshizawa, a commercial banking officer at Bank of Hawaii, agrees. The bank is actively bidding on repiping projects and acknowledges that these projects are large and complicated. “The first step is to gather all of your experts together. Your team of professionals should include your property manager, lawyer, banker, construction manager and contractor,” Yoshizawa advises. “These experts know the pitfalls, so they can help the board make educated decisions.” What you don’t want to do is assume you know everything, go out to bid and then find out that you did everything wrong. The construction manager is very important, he explains, because that person represents the owners or AOAO. The construction manager gathers the bids for the contract, monitors progress and makes sure everything gets done per the contract. “For these complex projects, you

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Building Management Hawaii August/September2013

ROOFING Top 3 Roof Savers
Mix It Up: cool roofing, wood shake and solar reflective shingles
Townhomes Cool Off From The Top Down
What’s Trending & Why? Smart and sunny solutions
White Out!
A Good Match: New roof gives local shopping center a fresh look.
Stone Meets Metal For Lasting Roofs
Project Complete: When a project goes right, everyone is happy.
PLUMBING Safe & Simple Drains
Project Repipe
Saved From Spots: Small Things can make a big difference
Repiping With PEX
LANDSCAPING Emerging Trends
Irrigation: Too Much of a Good Thing
On Site: An Exercise of Tolerance

Building Management Hawaii August/September2013