Washington School District substitutes inferior building materials over advice of their engineers to accomodate piping contractor, according to testimony

Construction workers testified at an August 27, 2012 meeting of the Eastmont School District in Wenachee, Washington, that the District approved use of lower-quality piping and materials for the construction of the new Grant Elementary School. The witnesses claimed that the piping contractor, Three Rivers Mechanical, would probably not have been able to install the originally scheduled materials in a timely manner.

Documents relased under the Public Records Act support these claims. Minutes of an October 25, 2011 Board meeting show that the Board approved changes in the type of copper used in the domestic water piping, the chilled water system, leaving out insulation of the cold water piping, and a change from  Copper to PVC plastic for the condensate drain lines, among other changes.

Meulink Engineers strongly advised the Board not to approve utilization of lower-quality materials as follows; “Typically we do not allow PVC piping to be used on condensate piping, as … it will not hold up (for the 30-year building life.”

Cold water piping is subject to condensation. The condensation will … drip onto the ceiling tiles … and other ceiling construction, which could cause considerable damage.”

“(The change in copper, and use of thinner wall thickness in Schedule 10 piping) … will directly affect the longevity of the piping in a 30 year plumbing (and mechanical) system.”

The construction workers who testified at the hearing claimed that Three Rivers Mechanical would have needed far more time to correctly installed the original, superior quality piping and materials.

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