I have a coach house that I will begin a rehab of in April, and have been soliciting estimates from GCs to complete all of the work. The existing water and sewer are tied to the main house, which already has low water pressure, so I believe running a new water line is the best course of action. However, the three quotes I've gotten have all been north of for this work, which seems high to me. Granted the water main is on the other side of the street, so it's a longer trench they need to dig, but it still seems like a lot of money for what is basically put two pipes in the ground. For anyone that has experience with this, does the cost seem about correct?
@Daniel Adler , What is the size of the existing water service, and how many bathrooms is it serving?
The standard in Chicago is typically a 1" lead service, which is sized large good enough to serve a 3.5 bath w/ kitchen and laundry (according to the IL Plumbing Code). Additionally, many jurisdictions allow you to go above the listed WSFU calculation numbers listed because of efficiencies in newer plumbing technologies. Have you looked into determining the exact cause for your lack of water pressure? It may or may not be the service.
Many times in older houses the bulk of the plumbing is galvanized pipe which will corrode from the inside out, leaving a very minimal area for water to actually pass thru. Additionally, the Hot water typically corrodes first, so sometimes you will see that the previous owner hired a plumber to switch the hot & cold lines at the water heater in order to more quickly provide Hot water. This is a temporary "fix" that does not solve anything.
If you have a lot of galvanized plumbing throughout the house, you may want to look into replacing that first; as I had mentioned before this may be causing the issue, and not the size of the service. Additionally, if this is the issue, then spending $20-30K on the increased service size wouldn't even fix the issue!
If you've already done the research, and it was definitely determined that the size of the service is the issue; then unfortunately you will need to bite the bullet and do the upgrade. Those prices are not a surprise to me either; however, with more searching you may be able to find someone with a better price. I may have some contacts to reach out to and see if they could give you an estimate if that would be helpful...
One more note, I know it's a long shot, but sometimes you can get lucky enough that the City is already planning to do repair/replacement work to the mains within a relatively close timeline to when you want to do your work. In this case, it would obviously be a great opportunity to try to coordinate timing with the City's plans which could save you money overall. This is rare, but I have had it happen for a few of my clients; just use caution and hope that the City sticks to their timeline...
@Daniel Adler I have a client in Berwyn doing a very simple water service and the cheapest quote we could find was 12k... you are essentially running it to two different places so there is a lot more work involved. I know this seems like insane pricing, but I had a plumber explain this to me and they actually have to outlay money to put up a bond in case something goes wrong. There is a lot of risk in this job, and very few plumbers invest in the directional boring equipment which costs north of 100k from what I have heard.
What size line is currently going to the property? In some cases you can install a booster pump to increase water pressure, but there are obviously variables on whether this specific property qualifies for that remedy. The cost of a booster pump is approx $1,400 so it's a pretty significant savings if you can make it work.
@Daniel Adler - That price is exactly what I would expect to pay. $20k is the going rate more or less depending on size, which is why the others above asked.
The permits alone can sometimes be up to $6k. There is definitely more to it than putting two pipes in the ground. It's typically a 3-day job with a mini-excavator and typically 3 guys (labor, operator, and plumber). If there is nowhere for the material to go, they might have to haul some off, and then at the end, they are responsible for replacing the asphalt that was removed.
Definitely remember you get what you pay for and this is something you want to be sure is done right.