Moving Plumbing in a Condo Unit???

Dec 22 '08 11 Last Comment
Dec 22, 08 4:21 pm

I'm helping a friend to design her condo remodel. Eventhough I charge very little money, I think it is a good sample to start my own business. Layed off in Nov., and see no openings so far matches my experiences. I think this project maybe help me to find my way out. I didn't have problem finding job after 9/11. But now think about if maybe because I was intern and much less expensive then

One thing I'm not very clear is if I can move plumbing with the bath and faucet fixtures in the unit. I worked on a couple of projects with 200-400 units condo or apartment. But I usually work with mechanical engineers and usually the plumbing lined up top to bottom. It won't be a problem for single family remodel. But for condo unit, I'm not sure if you can move plumbing in the unit, and how that will affect the whole building? But I can see the reason my friend want to make the change to make the master bath and walking cloest work more efficient.

Have you done condo unit remodel and moving plumbing with fixtures? What is the limitation? I really appreciate your help.


Dec 22, 08 4:38 pm

wow, i think this is a major issue if the association found out or if there were problems. i would read the condo association by-laws, i am sure they'd have something to say about renovations.

Dec 22, 08 4:45 pm

yup- what he ^ said... HOA/Condo associations have some pretty nasty lists of things you can/can't do, approval processes, etc...

a buddy of mine ripped out his nasty carpet and did a click together floating bamboo floor in his condo - it was a huuuuuuge ordeal for his condo board.

be careful and charge more!

Dec 22, 08 5:02 pm

if you are not going too far you can fur out walls and/or use toe spaces under cabinets to run plumbing. I'd still get board approval though.

Dec 23, 08 1:34 pm


Listen to all the advice above. Most condominium associations have strict rules governing this kind of work. DO NOT start until your friend/client has completely researched this issue.

Insurance companies working with architects typically limit how much condo work a firm can do per year, because the potential for liability is so great.

Dec 24, 08 4:18 pm

I haven't been involved in Condo work for years. My recollection is you own air space or a volume of space wall to wall floor to ceiling.
I don't recall if it is from face of framing or face of finish. Everything else belongs to the association. Your association dues pay for all those odd ball things that require fixing or replacing outside of your unit. I'm sure it has become much more of a cluster f**k with lawyers
dabbling with Condominium Association By-Laws. So you might want to take a look at them and see if they are written in a laypersons terms. If not have you client consult a lawyer at their cost to review the by-laws.

If your not adding fixtures you should not have a physical problem.
If your adding will most likely need to access the situation. The plumbing code is specific to number of and type of fixtures and line sizes.

Other than that the old plumbing rule holds up: "S**t doesn't flow up hill and payday if Friday."

Dec 28, 08 1:30 am

Thanks for all the responses. I did asked my friend about their association rules before doing the design, especially the part related to moving plumbing. She said their rules are pretty loose. Since she is on the committee I assume she knows about the regulations. My concern is more about how practically feasible to move the plumbing, since you can only work within your space mostly. Can you change the plumbing in the walls between the units, and the floors between the units? Any one has experiences with that? Thank you!

Sep 30, 13 12:14 am

It is very inspiring to hear that you are actually brave enough to take the risk of starting your own venture, even though just a small one first. Plumbing requires skills but it is also something that you learn as you progress forward. That means you will become better at it as each day passes by. I think the idea of helping your friend with the fixtures at her condo is a good start as you will not be charging much and since you are still new in the industry, it is just the right approach to start small.

Jan 8, 14 11:41 pm

Doing a plumbers works at home is little makes people little excited about the tasks. But most of home owners are not sure that how to complete their task. Few days ago one of my friend start fitting a ecosmart tankless water warmer . Starting was so good but after few steps he get complication with his fittings. A plumbing  contractor visit him and complete the job. "Without knowledge and skills never get connected to DIY"

Jan 11, 14 10:41 pm

Well, if you are relocating a tub, shower or toilet, you will need access to the underside of the floor, so unless this unit sits conveniently on the ground floor above a crawl space, it will be complicated and possibly disruptive to other unit-owners which is probably why they frown upon this type of work to begin with.

boy in a well
Jan 12, 14 1:52 am



like snake hair kinda said.

'underside of floor'

like snake hair.

will gallowaywill galloway
Jan 12, 14 3:15 am

you are thinking to do the work yourself? wouldn't recommend it myself

Where you are working will make a big different, but in general it is possible to move pipes a certain amount, depending on how the floors and ceilings and walls are built.  Definitely cannot make a change that affects your neighbors above or below, which usually means no touching pipe spaces. Beyond that its just a matter of distances and slopes.  Drains to sewer have pretty big pipes so are harder to play with. Hot and cold water are less of a problem, but still not something you can take for granted.  Check how much space there is under the floor and see if the rerouted pipes will fit is the easiest place to start.

We do renovations of condos fairly regularly and move things around easily enough. It takes planning and some time but is not the biggest challenge. Do be careful of permits that may be needed and especially what kind of info needs to be communicated to the condo association. Even if they are lax they will want to check out what you have done and need to inform neighbours about noise at the very least.

after that its just about cost and oversight. Renovation work is a pain. Often there are surprises and also quite often the work is not as good as you can get when doing new construction. It takes more supervision to get quality work than normal. At least that is how it is for us, even with fairly large budgets.

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