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What a Waste! Plumbing has commenced.

Well, yet another month has gone by and I sure am glad the snow now seems behind us (just wish the rain was as well).  I have been building for 3 winters now, and of all the years to have the worst winter in decades, Mother Nature pics the winter I had the house partially framed and without a roof.  But we survived and stayed reasonably dry.

Notice the depth of the snow under the Genie basket. I had to regularity shovel the snow off the garage roof so that I could try and lift the tarp back up so it would drain properly.

When I last left you, I was having a heck of a time with my electrical service.  I had found out that a vendor had sold me the wrong tech cable for my underground service.  Well I am pleased to advise that I worked through the hurtles and we were connected to permanent power a week yesterday.

Yes there is a difference between the OD of the new tech cable (bottom) compared to the old wrong one (suspended in air). But only a well trained eye would have noticed.

Of course, the fix took forever (just under two weeks) but at least was cheap. As mentioned on my last entry, prep included extending the partially dug trench all the way back to the house, coring through the foundation, trenching by hand through the basement gravel (thanks to labourers from Embers). I was able to then lay in the newly purchased 250 kcmil aluminum 3 conductor teck cable into a sand bed (I used aluminum as is the norm, but did up-spec it to 250 kcmil as I plan to use every bit of the 200 amps with the shops I will have on site).  Of course, this is the week that we had record setting rain and all of my exterior trenches were filled with 1-1/2 feet of water.  So there I was kneeling in and reaching down through the murky water to make sure I had 4″ of sand under the cable before dumping another 6″-8″ or so on top (I wanted a generous cover, you only need 3″).

While I had the coring vendor on site, I also had them core the two holes needed for the main sewer line going out of the house. This could not have been a tighter fit. Notice the drill jig is sitting inside the first cored hole in order to start the second. I used Urban Sawing & Scanning Co and they did a awesome job at a very competitive price
All water is finally displaced. Grey conduit is for tel/cable lines between pole and house.

My next challenge was installing the service conduit from the meter base to service head.  I had some old rigid metal conduit on hand but do to a communication error thought I could not use it.  So I bought two lengths of EMT and a coupling (I was just over the standard length of EMT).  I had the EMT clamped down and the conductors and service head installed when I noticed that every time I looked into the meter base, there was a significant amount of water resting inside.  I would re-torque the coupling and the compression fitting into the meter base, but day after day there was always fresh water inside the base.  I finally did a water hose test and it would gush in around the coupling and no amount of torquing would stop the flow.  Fortunately, by this time I found out I WAS still allowed to use the rigid metal conduit I already had on site from the temp service, so 15 minutes later, I got rid of the EMT and had the rigid installed with the conductors run.  Guess I had a bad compression ring, but what is the odds???

Finally on March 29, I passed the Municipal inspection of the service, but now of course I had missed my carefully setup window with Hydro and they were now penalizing me, both financially, and by making me wait till the very last day of their ‘connection window’ on April 10.  Many thanks to my neighbours Ron and Anna for sharing their ‘juice’ with me over this ordeal. Without it, I would have flooded out pretty badly.  Thanks also to my inspector who made me feel better by announcing he used to charge $5K to run a service from a meter base to a panel.  Even with the wrong teck cable costs, and including the pole purchase and installation (he charged extra for this), I was less than half of that!

In addition to completing the electrical service milestone, I am thrilled to also advise that I framed my last wall yesterday (well almost, I will frame the basement much later in the process including after we move in, and I have two walls on the top floor that create the two sets of closets between the four bedroom, but will not frame those till I am installing the ventilation ducts as they hide the ducts).  I am thrilled to have this milestone basically behind me.  I started framing the first floor in May of 2016!  The roof assembly took far too long (September through February).  I will try to create a video walk-through of the house in the not too distant future.

I now and starting on the plumbing waste lines and have purchased all my materials.

What a Waste! My ABS Waste piping system ready to go.
In addition to the first photo showing the fittings I purchased, I will also be utilizing some of these fittings that a local builder ‘recycled’ last fall by putting out on the curb (his wife made him clean up the garage).

It is my hope to have the majority of the waste system plumbed by the end of the month.

Thanks for visiting.

“To succeed in your mission, you must have single-minded devotion to your goal.” —A. P. J. Abdul Kalam (1931-2015) Former President Of India

“I know the price of success: dedication, hard work, and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen. ” —Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) Architect

“Never mistake activity for achievement.” —John R. Wooden (1910-2010) Basketball Coach, Author

“Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement. ” —Golda Meir (1898-1978) Prime Minister Of Israel

2 Responses to “What a Waste! Plumbing has commenced. ”

  1. Hi. I am fellow owner building out in White Rock and have been following your blog for quite a while! I am two years into my build and about the same stagw as you. Firstly, really enjoy reading about your adventures, thanks for sharing,

    I am curious how you were able to get a owner plumbing permit? I am having a heck of a time with white rock. I’ve asked them what they require from me but they are telling me they refeuse to issue permits to unlicensed plumbers!

    Any insight would be greatful!


    • Sean Wiens

      Hi Phillip,

      Thanks so much for visiting my site and leaving a comment. It is really nice to hear from folks that have visited my site.

      I pulled my plumbing permit fairly early in the build (back in Jan 2015). The inspector met with me at the District hall and said he would accept my application, BUT stated “If I tell you to change something, I want you to do so with no arguments”. I readily agreed and we have had a great relationship ever since. And indeed, there was something he had me change when he inspected my below footing drains (I had used 90’s instead of Dbl-45’s).

      I am not sure if technically they can stop you if you have your Owner Builder designation from BC Housing. A work around if you cannot reach a consensus is to contract with a plumber to pull the permit and ‘inspect’ your work. You should be able to find one willing to do so.

      I have been lucky, the actual Municipal inspectors (Building, Electrical, Plumbing) have been awesome, and generally recognize I know what I am doing and take care in my installations. But they also know that I am more than willing to ask for instruction when I am not clear on something and have been very helpful during these times.

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