How to Repair a Butchered Floor Joistcomments (13) November 29th, 2012 in Blogs
Do all plumbers hack away offending pieces of framing as they run drain lines, set toilets, and otherwise go about their rough-ins? Of course not. Yet this reputation, or maybe we should call it an urban legend, has a way of lingering. And Tackitybits could tell you why: He's seeing first-hand what happens when the only thing standing between a plumber and a successful toilet installation is a floor joist.
"Eleven years later I find the toilet, flooring and subfloor all failing because of the sag in the floor, created by sawing through an I-beam joist that runs the length of the house," Tackitybits says in a post at Fine Homebuilding's Breaktime forum. "The joist was cut to make room for the PVC waste pipe for the toilet.
"Only a small section in the Master Bath is affected but it looks like I will have to pull the vanity, cut out old sub flooring and figure out how to support that section of the floor where the toilet will rest, once all the repairs are done," Tackitybits continues. "It's possible I might be able to sister up about a 14-foot length of joist to the I-beam that's been sawed through. Is that the best way to go? What about the sag?"
It may look like an open-and-shut case of plumber malfeasance, but some of the replies to the original post disagree. Maybe the plumber tried to get the framer to fix the problem but was ignored. Why didn't the framer anticipate the plumber's dilemma and move the joist? Where was the general contractor while all of this was going on?
And, as important, what the heck is Tackitybits supposed to do about it now?
That's the topic for this month's Breaktime Spotlight.
Homeowner has an 'easy' lawsuit
In a situation like this, it's easy to heap scorn on the plumber.
"It pisses me off to no end when plumbers do that," writes BossHog.
MLB_Construction is not far behind: "Do you know the plumber that did this? Is he still in business? If you know his name and he's still around, I would contact him first. He has codes he has to abide by and he knows what he can and cannot drill through. You can plumb through I-joists but not like that.
"You have an easy win with a lawsuit," MLB continues.
And finally this tongue-in-cheek addendum from DanH: "Ah, but part of the 'code' is that a plumber has to saw through some structural member on every job. If he doesn't they'll drum him out of the union. Same as the rule that an electrician must drill through at least one drain pipe."
"...There is NO excuse for the plumbers' action," adds Renosteinke. "It violates the first rule tradesmen are taught: Don't mess with the structure. When the plumber discovered the problem, THEN was the time to stop work and say 'I can't do my job until the framing is changed or the toilet relocated.'
"I can't understand how pumbers get away with this all the time - somehow inspectors have no problems nailing electricians for similar issues. Let a few plumbers get charge-backs, and you can be sure the problem will disappear. Let a few jobs grind to a halt, while the 'fix' is approved and the framer gets a charge-back, and the problem will disappear. Let a few architects and engineers eat the change orders, and suddenly the framing plans will improve."