You believe that the dampness in your basement is caused by faulty or old perimeter drainage, so you call a drainage contractor and ask them to provide you with a price to fix it. While this may seem relatively straightforward, there are many variables which can impact the cost of the project and the time that it takes to do the job. The reason for this is that perimeter drainage is an underground service, which means that it can’t be seen without conducting an exploratory assessment. After this assessment is done, the drainage contractor will be in a better position to give you a more accurate estimate. Here are some of the things that a drainage contractor will need to know before they can quote on your job:
The age of the house and, if it’s an older building, whether the perimeter drainage has ever been upgraded. Older buildings often have outdated drainage systems which should be changed regardless of whether they have failed, to avoid catastrophic failures in the future.
If you can see the type of pipe, then this is helpful. If it’s a PVC pipe, there is more likelihood that the system just needs to be cleaned, but if it is an older system of pipework made of clay or concrete then there is a greater possibility that it will need to be replaced.
When was the last time the perimeter drainage was cleaned?
Is there a sump associated with the drainage system?
What is the access to the work site like? What is the distance and grade to the street from the work site and can large equipment access the worksite if its needed or will all work have to be done by hand?
The neighbourhood – this could give the contractor a better understanding of the geology in the area. For example, a property built on bedrock would be dealt with differently than one built on soil that has few underground rocks as would a home that has trees and shrubs whose roots could infiltrate the drainage system.
Sending detailed photographs to the contractor can also help them to identify the issue even before they come to your home to conduct an in-person assessment.
Always use a local, reputable drainage contractor who has experience in your area. If you obtain competitive quotes, ensure that the quotes include the same scope of work so that you can properly compare them and remember that the contractor is quoting on their best estimation of what lies beneath the soil. It could turn out that the project is less complex than they were estimating and moves more quickly, but if they run into large and difficult underground obstacles in the process, the job scope could increase.