Bathroom Pipes Experience Belly Issues of a Different Type
Pipe-related issues, especially those involving cast iron, appear to be on the increase, as Guardian Group, Inc. is conducting a record number of claim investigations of this type in certain states. Recently, Guardian’s Property & Casualty experts were called to investigate plumbing problems within a residence in the Southwest. The purpose of the engagement was to establish Cause & Origin on behalf of a major carrier and its insured.


The carrier-client requested that our engineering expert investigate a reported back-up occurring in a hall bathroom. One year prior to this claim, the homeowners of the 2,100 square-foot residence had already submitted a claim in regard to significant soil and structural movement, and remediation efforts had already been executed, as reported by both the carrier and their insured. Remediation had included the installation of new shallow piles along the structure’s entire perimeter. The specific scope of this investigation was to determine whether the bathroom’s toilet issue was the result of its underground drainage pipe not functioning properly.
Immediately dispatching to the residence, Guardian’s Property & Casualty experts completed an onsite inspection and conducted some very minor non-destructive testing that confirmed the inoperability of the toilet. (While the cause of the structural movement was specifically excluded from the scope, Guardian’s Property & Casualty Group was asked to photographically document signs of interior and exterior structural cracking and to include these in the report.) A neighborhood plumbing company had previously inspected and tested portions of the property’s drainage; their report contained an estimate for repair. Testing was performed that included a video camera inspection, accessible from the roof vent, and ball testing of portions of the drainage pipes.
According to the plumber’s report, the cause of the slow to non-draining of the north hallway toilet was the result of portions of the drainage pipes being “bellied.” After inspecting the property and reviewing the test footage, Guardian’s Property & Casualty Group immediately issued a report stating:
The “bellying” described in the plumber’s estimate intends to convey that portions of the drainage pipe of the subject toilet are sloped in a downward, then upward curve. This condition allows water from the toilet to flow downward; however, with a “bellied” pipe, one is working against gravity when the water needs to flow upward, thus causing the observed backup of the discharged toilet water.
  1. There are no leaks in the tested drainage pipes of the north hallway bathroom toilet.
  2. The bellied curve of the discharged toilet water of the north hallway bathroom toilet is most likely the result of the past soil and/or foundation movement, which had reportedly been through remediation.

Of course, as always, Guardian Group, Inc. in no way offers opinions of insurance coverage and does not review any applicable policies. The Property & Casualty Group provides carriers the unbiased, fact-based reporting they need, so they can deliver reliable service to their and resolve all claims fairly and expeditiously.

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