When you are thinking of building a new home from the ground up, you tend to focus on the size of the rooms, the look of the windows, and the cladding material—siding or masonry? Perhaps you’ve been dreaming of a large, open floor plan with an eat-in kitchen. Maybe you envision a master suite with a separate tub and shower, and a toilet tucked in its own space behind a door that closes.
What you shouldn’t forget is that much of what you dream of won’t work properly if you don’t address the invisible parts of your home properly. This is especially true of underground water and sewer lines. These outdoor plumbing tips to consider when planning a dream home will help you create a checklist to ensure your plumbing systems will last for years.
City Codes, Inspections, and Permits
Your outdoor, underground plumbing connects your home to the city water supply and municipal sewer lines. Strict codes apply in most cities—and certainly in New York City—that govern the proper permits, required inspections, types of connections that are allowed, and approved plans in some cases.
In New York, new sewer line installation and connecting to city water requires specialized knowledge. The plumbing contractor must be licensed for underground work, have a bond with the Department of Transportation, hold the required insurance policy, and be knowledgeable about the regulations regarding types of connections.
Climate and Soil Conditions
The durability of the underground plumbing conditions may hinge on the climate and soil conditions prevalent in the location where construction will take place. In climates like New York City that experience temperature swings in the winter, improper installation can result in broken lines and skyrocketing repair expenses. Shifting soils can undermine pipes and cause cracks or breaks.
Make sure your plumbing contractor is a licensed master plumber, familiar with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Department of Buildings (DOB), and Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations and requirements. Your hookups to city services require excavation, which may involve tearing up city streets to get to the city mains. An experienced master plumber will know what’s expected, how to perform the work so it passes inspections, and what materials are required for the job.
It’s important to talk to your plumbing contractor about planning for the future. If you expect your family to grow or you are building your home in phases, you’ll want the plans to anticipate any added stresses on the underground plumbing connections.
When building your dream home, outside plumbing you don’t see is every bit as important as the gleaming new fixtures you see inside the house. Ensure your plumbing systems are properly installed, code-compliant, inspected, and made of appropriate, durable materials.