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86 m2 of concrete floor with underfloor heating to be broken up, as plumber forgot to put down drainage for the toilet in my build

50 replies

QuintessentialShadow · 12/11/2008 11:30


I have a meeting with the boss at the plumbing company tomorrow to discuss options.

If they are to install a standard toilet, they need sewage, which is not there. They will have to break up the concrete floor to find and connect to the sewage pipe. The concrete floor has the underfloor heating embedded in it. Therefore will have to break up everything, and redo the underfloor heating.

The alternative is to install a toilet that does not require sewage but only wastewater. It has a pump, and a filter and it churns the "hard deposits" to a mash before mixing it with the wastewater.

I am not keen on this. The toilet itself is ugly, it needs to be attached a box that conteins the pump and the "poo grinder", and it will ruin the serene look of my bathroom. (It is the guest bathroom, so will also be used by visitors, dinner party guests, etc)
It requires maintenance, and heavens forbid we dont get a blocked toilet, as then the box with the grinder will have to be opend up and the grinder cleaned....

What would you do?

Would you let them break up the floor, connect to standard sewage and redo the underfloor heating?

Or would you accept the "poo grinding toilet", plus compensation in terms of chosing from their nice stock of bathroom accesories, including high quality shower enclosure?

OP posts:
lalalonglegs · 12/11/2008 21:16

You won't alienate them if you behave professionally. (You probably would alienate them more by going for macerator as that would scream that you are a soft touch and they would just start taking piss.) Sit down with the project manager and the main contractor (I'm taking it that there is one and that you are not subbing out all the jobs yourself) and explain that a macerator and a shower enclosure will not do and that if digging up the floor is what it takes to rectify it then that is what it takes.

You may want to think about getting another project manager because that is a pretty bad mistake. If he takes it on the chin and agrees to rectify it, fine; if he starts making excuses and trying to make it your problem, then wave good-bye.

QuintessentialShadow · 12/11/2008 21:20

No, he wont refuse doing it. He told me today that we would not go for a solution I was uncomfortable with, if we needed to hack up the floor, then that is what we do.

I cant sack him. He goes hand in hand with the house manufacturer. You pick your house out of a catalogue, tailor it, he manages the architects that finalize drawings, subcontracting work and ordering all supplies. He is the House Manufacturers Rep and project manager. House building is maybe a little different here. look

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abraid · 12/11/2008 21:24

Either way, it's time to remind people NOT TO FLUSH TAMPAX down any loos, conventional or otherwise. They end up in the sea. Yuck.

QuintessentialShadow · 12/11/2008 21:25

No you are wrong. With the poogrinder toilet they will end up in my hand, together with a pick and mix from lots of peoples bowel deposits.

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abraid · 12/11/2008 21:27


QuintessentialShadow · 12/11/2008 21:27

I am so stressed and upset about the whole thing that I am seriously tempted to go eat icecream (for the second time today), just because I am a shortsighted brains for cream woman with no current regard for the long term effect of icecream. Raaaah!!!

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lalalonglegs · 12/11/2008 21:27

OK, so it looks like it is a kit house built by a big manufacturer. You have no problem: they will sort it out; he will get his butt kicked by his bosses but if you aren't happy with the service you are getting from him then I am sure that they will have other reps who can take over (or are you somewhere very remote in Norway?). It sounds as if he is acting honourably, though so just grit your teeth and don't let them talk you into anything that you aren't happy with.

Now for the nosy bit: which of the house types is yours? (This is vicarious house-building, I know I will never be able to do it as just found out the site round the corner - formerly biggish house and large garden - sold for £8 million to a developer last year and I really don't think I can compete with those sorts of prices ).

QuintessentialShadow · 12/11/2008 21:30

Mine is the Sirius 6. But my friend who is an architect (and knows the project manager as they used to work together for the same building company before) has stretched it out quite a bit..... So much larger than in the picture, and with a balcony going around much of the house, and with a garage with a flat roof with roof terrace. It WILL be lovely.

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morningpaper · 12/11/2008 21:33

do the proper sewage


my brother has a saniflo unit but once a year some bastard will flush a tampon or condom away in a blind panic and then my brother has to mess around and usually ends up with 30-foot of raw sewage shooting into the air

not good

lalalonglegs · 12/11/2008 21:33

You're so lucky - you'll laugh about this in years to come. Honest.

QuintessentialShadow · 12/11/2008 21:42

Thanks to Morningpaper, I found this The box is built in the toilet base.

I have printed out, and if it DOES look like the best option, I shall ask for that model.... Nobody needs to know.....

I hope I will laught about this in years to come, lala!

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QuintessentialShadow · 12/11/2008 21:43

I did have one hillarious moment today, though. I rang my friend (the architect) to ask her advice. She was at her mums they were cooking some christmas meats together. And I heard her repeat out loud "A poo grinding toilet???!!!" - and in the background, the trilling laughter of her mum as she repeated POO GRINDER incredulously!

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tissy · 12/11/2008 21:47

Quint, don't worry, this will be over soon.

We were having an extension built to our house. We discovered that the drain we were going to use for our sewage didn't connect to the septic tank at all, but went into open ground down the hill.

We ended up having to dig a drain through the house to connect our back wet room to the septic tank at the front. We dug through the dining room, which was spposed to have a concrete floor but discovered that the concrete was about 5cm thick and poured onto bare earth, no screed or foundations (very old farmhouse0. This wouldn't be too much of a problem, but the architect discovered that the roof was supported on walls that were built onto the 5 cm of concrete, so if we dug that up the roof would collapse . So we had to prop up the roof, dig up the floor, build proper foundations, lay the drain, put suspended floor in, replaster walls and ceiling. We doubled our budget, and it all took about a year, rather than 14 weeks, but it's all over now!

lalalonglegs · 12/11/2008 21:48

But why not just get them to do the job properly? (OK, I am now leaving this thread because I have made my point and it really is your decision.)

QuintessentialShadow · 12/11/2008 21:49

LaLa, you are making very valid points, and I am grateful. It will be much easier tomorrow to go to the meeting having cleared my thoughts here tonight.

At least I will know what options there are and not look a fool regards the toilets on offer.

I will want a proper toilet.

OP posts:
QuintessentialShadow · 12/11/2008 21:51

Wow Tissy, our is a minor problem compared to that....

But you got through the other end, with much more knowledge about how your house is built!

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tissy · 12/11/2008 21:58

Quint, it is something you come to expect with this house, whatever the problem, it is always far far worse than you imagine it is going to be! It's a 350 year old farmhouse, that is obviously very solid, but the alterations over the years have clearly been done by cowboys

QuintessentialShadow · 12/11/2008 23:33

But it sounds lovely, and I bet it is, otherwise you wouldnt have gone to the trouble!

I guess sometimes it is worth taking the trouble.

In the grand scheme of things, having this delay and getting a proper toilet is not so bad.

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QuintessentialShadow · 13/11/2008 21:56


I had a meeting with the project manager and the boss at the plumbing company.

Basically, they showed me where they needed to join the pipes. To do this they need to dig up the concrete, sever the UFH, dig up the gravel etc and put pipe down, dig a big whole in the area of the joint. Then concrete over. 25m2 is too big to take up ALL the concrete and UFH, so they will forget current UFH and put new on top of the concrete floor as it is now. Put another layer of 3cm concrete in the hall.

This means the hall will be 3cm higher up than 3 bedrooms, one bathroom and and the technical room and the storage room. Thre will have to be some interesting shape joinery between the different levels in the doorframes to each room.

The staircase which has been made to order and specially tailored, will be too high, and needs to be discarded and a new will have to be ordered.

We are between a rock and a hard place, as neither option is good.

The Saniflo (poo grinder toilet) has advanced quite a lot from what my parents have. It will be totally hidden in the wall, with a maintenance door to it from the Study in the adjoining room.

We will get top of the range wall hung toilet. They will sound proof the box around it.

They are offering 5 years warrantee and guarantee for product and free repairs.

They have offered me a top of the range wall hung toilet for downstairs bathroom.

Beautiful frosted glass tailored door for the shower niche in the downstairs bathroom.

Top of the range shower enclosure for upstairs.

Basically nearly 5k worth of sanitary products.

I think we have to go for it.

OP posts:
lalalonglegs · 14/11/2008 10:38

When builders have done something wrong they are really good at making the remedial work sound a huge trauma. It may be but that's the case but their problem not yours. This is your perfect, dream house and I don't see why they should be allowed to compromise it because they messed up. You're not happy with the solution so demand that they do the work as per the original speicification. I think you would be well-served by getting in an independent surveyor or some such (whatever Norwegian equivalent is) to advise you and argue your case as the project manager has conflict of interest: he seems to be employed by housebuilder and it was, in some respects, his mistake.

silverfrog · 14/11/2008 13:28

I wouldn't go for their solution.

3cm is quite a big difference (well, it's small on the face of it, but big enough to be an annoying level to trip over).

That is exactly what our bathroom company suggested to us. that they would just lay a new floor on top of the redundant UFH and tiles. We told them to stuff it.

If you had wanter steps between your rooms, you would have designed it that way.

the staircase you have ordered will not fit.

the capentry/joinery between the rooms where there is a height difference will need careful consideration, and may well end up being gappy, leaving dust crevices that will forever annoy you.

I would be asking them to redo the whole lot (it really isn't your problem - the mistake is there, and needs rectifying satisfactorily).

they should not be offering compensation as a way of easing their mistake. Decide whether you can live with the height differences (what age are your children? Are they likely to forever stub toes/trip up on entering and leaving the rooms in question?) and take it from there.

In your postion, I would be more interested in them rectifying the problem to MY specs, not theirs, and seeing if compnesation was offered on top for the added stress and delays.

SpacePuppy · 14/11/2008 13:58

I'll only take it if it comes with a lifetime maintenance contract including someone to stick their fingers in the poo!


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QuintessentialShadow · 15/11/2008 10:22

Thanks guys.
We have a solution, which I am amazed they did not come up with before. If the move the toilet to the opposite wall, it can connect to the sewage pipes by the downstairs toilet. It will be a normal toilet by reshuffeling the units around. Yippeee! They compensate me for "emotional trauma and inconvenience" by getting me some really nice shower doors and a villeroy and bock wallhung toilet upstairs.
I am very pleased.

OP posts:
ilovemydogandPresidentObama · 15/11/2008 10:28

Get it redone....

However disruptive it will be now, it's worth it in the long run (and this is coming from someone who has been living in practically a building site for past 9 months!)

lalalonglegs · 15/11/2008 13:00


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