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AquaGuard Waterproofing Corporation basement waterproofing failures went beyond the grossly negligent smearing of exterior roofing tar on the interior walls of our basement. Their utterly incompetent work crew botched practically every aspect of the job. With this posting we will begin to look at how they managed to destroy the sump enclosures; in this case turning the basin that should have held water into a sieve. Why anyone would do this, short of total incompetence, is hard to imagine. As with so many aspects of the work done in my home, had anyone with any experience taken a minute to look at the work, these failings would have been caught immediately.
As the Arbitrator noted: “The two sump pits had holes drilled into the bottoms of the pits, thus allowing the water to drain out of the pits rather than being captured in the pits for pumping to the outside of the house.” You can see the holes the Arbitrator is referring to by looking at the photos at the top of this posting. They are most clearly seen in the photo on the left, mainly because the bottom of the basin doesn’t have a lot of crushed rock in it. The source of the crush rock in the one basin will be the topic of a future posting where we will discuss how AquaGuard’s work crew messed up yet another part of the sump enclosure.
While an argument can be made for drilling holes on the side of the basin, at least several inches up from the bottom, drilling holes in the bottom makes no sense whatsoever. As AquaGuard’s own independent consultant said at his deposition prior to the arbitration hearing , where questions (Q) from my side and answers (Q) are given by the consultant:
Q. I take it that those tubs are intended to collect water. They’re not supposed to have holes in them or anything, other than the holes where the pipes come in?
A. That’s not correct. They’re perforated to accept water from around the well, not just what’s, you know, direct from the pipes. They’re perforated.
Q. And is that pre-perforated by the manufacturer?
A. No, no, perforated on the job site.
Q. Okay. And what is it —
A. It’s they’re collection pits. Any water that’s in — let’s say the water comes up, high water table, so it can enter into the well from below.
Q. Okay. And is the perforations done at some level down from the top of the tub?
A. Couple inches from the bottom and then at four, five, six inches.
Q. And how many of these perforations are placed — first of all, who decides if additional perforation should be added?
A. The foreman.
Q. And what is that based on?
A. That’s based on the water table — well, water table, No. 1. The water’s rising. Otherwise, the water would have to rise up, you know, a foot or two feet to run into the sump well, into the drainpipe, so you perforate it so the water collects into the basin down below.
Q. Now, how far down, you said the perforations go how far down the tub?
A. Right from the bottom. Let’s say we have a 24 inch well, so it would be like 20 inches and up.
Of note in this rather long exchange are two points by AquaGuard’s independent consultant. The first is that the sump basins may need holes in the side to allow ground water to enter the pit at those points where the rising water is below the trench path piping. The second is that such holes are always drilled several inches above the bottom of the basin. The holes in the bottom of the basin, as readily seen in the photos, serve no useful purpose whatsoever.
At the Arbitration hearing, the same consultant was asked about the installation of the pit, a topic we covered in some length in a previous posting. Again, questions (Q) are from my side and answers (A) are from the consultant.
Q. You, I take it, never looked to determine that the sump pit had holes punched in the bottom?
A. I saw pictures of a sump pit. That’s correct. That’s a correct installation.
Q. That’s incorrect?
A. That’s correct installation.
Q. Well, a sump pit should have gravel immediately under it, shouldn’t it?
Q. So if somebody had a hole punched through it and dropped a pen of like this length and it went down, there was no gravel stopping it, there’s something wrong there, right?
A. That’s a void, correct?
Q. And a void is bad, isn’t it?
The presence of the void is clearly indicated in the photos above where one can see the how a 5-inch “rat tail” file blade drops all the way to the handle when placed in one of the holes. Placing the same file in other holes for both sump basins show voids of varying depth. The point is simply this: No care was taken by AquaGuard’s work crew to ensure the sump enclosure rested on a bed of gravel as is standard practice in the industry. See sump basin installation in my previous posting for details of a proper enclosure installation.
Everyone makes mistakes. Drilling holes in the bottom of a basin that is meant to hold water is simply stupid, but not as dumb as hiring idiots to work for you and never inspecting the quality of the workmanship. Dumber yet is hiring people without performing any check on their background BEFORE sending them out on jobs where they can wreck havoc. But the dumbest thing of all is to place the blame for all these failings on the hired subcontractors AND lay the responsibility on your customer for uncovering errors and demanding corrections . Clearly such practices save time and money for a company that engages in them. To what extent AquaGuard engaged in such practices I leave to the reader to decide. The way we were treated does make one wonder just what they mean when they claim: “Aquaguard provides you peace of mind in knowing your basement is waterproofed with uncompromising pride, integrity, and value for life!”