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Mark Leininger
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Default Advice needed on new basement - sump hole higher than rest ofbasement

The floor needs to be sloped toward the drain not the sump pit. Our
county ammends the Illinois plumbing code to require a drain within 5
feet of each water heater and furnace. The drain is then connected to a
pipe that runs under the basement floor and is pitched down toward the
sump pit. If you look in the sump pit you will see the knockout has been
removed where the floor drain connects. It is usually about a foot below
floor grade. You indicated there was some water on the floor so I would
check the drain to see whether it has been hooked up yet. Sometimes the
finishers stick a rag in it to keep it from getting filled with concrete.

If your water heater is at the opposite end of the basement from the
sump pit, if (when) it leaks, you don't want the water to run through
your entire basement to get to the sump. You want it to go into the
drain that's closest to the water heater.

The last thing in the world you should worry about is the concrete level
by your sump pit. It's the one place you'll never go, no one will ever
see it, it's damp, it smells. Save your anxiety for something you'll
have to look at the rest of your life, like the woodwork or the drywall
or something.

A member of my family is having a new home built. The basement has been
poured (it has poured walls) and they are waiting for the walls to fully
"set." Well, yesterday it rained, and what we observed was that the entire
basement floor appeared to be covered with a significant amount of water (a
piece of electric wire laying on the floor was completely submerged),
EXCEPT for the corner where the sump hole is. I then recalled that the
side of the basement where the sump is was the part that the concrete
finisher did last (it is the side by the egress window) and therefore, if
there was a small bit of extra concrete, that was likely where it wound up.

In any case, it appears we have a situation where as much as an inch of
water at the far end (give or take a little) would have to run UPHILL to
reach the sump. Now I should also mention that this basement is built on
pure sand (literally - there is a sand mine just a mile or so down the
road) and drainage is very good, so I don't really expect that there would
be too many situations where the basement might flood - but on the other
hand, if the unforeseen ever did happen, it would be much easier to deal
with the problem if the water naturally ran toward the sump. I should
probably also mention that this basement was constructed with extra
headroom, so pouring more concrete over the existing floor would be doable
(in terms of not losing space). And, the general contractor seems like an
honest person, but I'm not sure that he's aware of this problem yet.

So I have three questions:

1) Realistically, is this anything to worry about? Or am I concerned over
nothing? Should I keep my nose out of this?

2) Would this violate any codes or building standards (in other words, is
this something a local government building inspector would take an interest
in if they knew of the problem? This is in Michigan, if that makes any

3) If there is a problem here, what would be the best approach to take with
the contractor? Should my family member insist that a new layer of
concrete be poured that slopes toward the sump, or would that create other
problems? Would the excellent drainage of the soil indicate just leaving
well enough alone? If you are a contractor, would you categorize this sort
of defect as "serious" or "minor"?

4) If additional concrete should be poured, is that something that the
homeowner would have to bear the expense of, or would that be considered a
serious enough flaw that the concrete subcontractor should be required to
fix it on his nickel?

Neither I nor the family member in question have ever done anything like
this before, so I guess what I'm wanting to know is whether this is a
significant problem, or something fairly normal? I have a feeling the
contractor is not going to think it's anything to be concerned about, and
if that is the case, is it worth making a fuss over? Time is of the essence
here - if the situation is going to be rectified, it will be much harder to
do so after another week or so.

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Mark Leininger
FAX: 2783

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