We get this question from home owners and general contractors alike. How do I control the plumbing cost when rehabbing a home or commercial building? Here are some suggestions as to how to control the impact a rehab has at least as it relates to the plumbing.
Have a good idea of where you want any additional plumbing installed and be sure where your waste, vent and water piping is located. Let us explain in a little more detail. If you plan any significant changes in your residence or commercial building you’ll probably need a permit. If you need a permit and you are changing or adding any plumbing piping or fixtures you’ll probably need a drawing stamped by an engineer. If you know where you want your changes to be made and you know where your piping is to service these alterations you don’t have to pay for someone to look for you and engineer the system.
Try and put your new fixtures close to other fixtures or if you are adding a second floor to a home or office stack the new bathrooms on top of the old ones, minimizing new pipe installation. For instance if you are adding an addition and there is a new bathroom going in a hall or bedroom, try to design the new bathroom using an existing plumbing wall so you don’t have to run new piping to the other side of the addition.
Be sure for yourself what piping materials can be used. Most professional plumbing contractors will give you the piping material that is code required but it doesn’t hurt to do some research. PVC is a lot cheaper and easier to install than cast iron, PEX is a lot cheaper and easier to install than copper.
Look at what fixtures are being used, most times you get what you pay for, however there are manufacturers that offer pretty incredible values for the price. Ask the builder whether or not you can provide your own plumbing fixtures. Quite often the builder or general gives you a credit back for less than the amount the equipment actually costs however it is worth a try. Some builders like it because then they don’t have to guarantee the functionality of the plumbing equipment, if it’s bought by the customer there is no builders warranty.
Ask yourself a question. Do I want to save money now or on the operational costs down the road? If you are going to be in the home or office for awhile (more than 5 years or so) you may want to look at some of the new high efficiency plumbing equipment like tankless water heaters or water saving water closets and urinals. These operational savings will add up.
Finally make sure you have multiple bids. We never like to suggest getting ten plumbing contractors to bid a project but there is nothing wrong with having three or four to check and solidify the scope of your project.