Frequently Asked Questions

What causes pipe failures?

There are a variety of materials used in plumbing piping today; and depending upon when your plumbing system was installed, the materials in your existing system will vary. Failure of the plumbing system due to wear over time is a common challenge, which is especially pronounced in the lower mainland of British Columbia, where the water has had a long history of being acidic. We commonly see a number of types of pipe failures. Once the cost of repairing and restoring the damage from pin-hole leaks becomes significant, repiping the building is a financially appropriate solution to prevent future escalating damages. Recent experiences have shown that ongoing plumbing failures in buildings have resulted in significant increases to insurance premiums and deductibles.


Pin-hole leaks develop on copper piping over time due to erosion and pitting from the water. This is especially prevalent in the lower mainland of BC, where the water has been historically corrosive. Once pin-hole leaks start in a building, over the coming years, they tend to increase in number and severity. Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion (MIC) is a situation where microorganisms attach themselves to the insides of the copper piping (typically horizontal piping) and their metabolic process and by-products create pipe corrosion. We have recently experienced a significant uptake with MIC affected copper systems.


Since the mid 1980’s, there were several Hard Polymer (hard plastic) materials used in plumbing system design, as a substitute for copper, and some of these materials have produced a number of failures recently. There are a number of Hard Polymer materials used, some of which have had no issues, others of which have had a number of problems. The key commonality to these Hard Polymer Failures is that in addition to smaller leak failures like we see with copper piping, Hard Polymer piping can also fail with cracks which can be substantially more damaging. A single crack failure has the potential to create very costly water damage. Buildings with even a very small number of failures in a Hard Polymer Piping System should investigate whether a repiping is a prudent long term financial decision.

Why is repiping the best alternative for dealing with failing pipes?

Plumbing pipes are a system, and when pipes fail in one area of a building, this is an indication that the system has damage that needs to be resolved. One need not replace all of the piping in a building at the first sign of a single pin-hole leak, however, once repairs and damage costs start to become significant, repiping is the only comprehensive solution to the problem. Water Treatment and Pipe Coating are often sold as substitutes to repiping, but none of them are a real, comprehensive, long term solution. We have repiped dozens of buildings that had water treatment systems installed, sold as a long term solution to pipe failure. We have also repiped several buildings that had pipe coatings done before, and know of many more experiencing problems. When there are failures in your plumbing system that are causing substantial insurance cost increases, repairs and damage costs for your building; replacing the plumbing piping through a re-pipe is the only effective long term solution.

How do you replace the plumbing pipes in the building?

Replacing the plumbing pipes in a building is a substantial project.

Step 1: Design the replacement system. A specialized independent engineer works with us to design the new system with the goals of ensuring an effective and efficient system for the future and minimizing the impact on residents during the repiping process, while meeting the plumbing code.

Step 2: Remove the existing piping. Removing the existing piping involves cutting patches in the walls of the buildings to access and remove the plumbing pipes. We take extensive measures to minimize the disruption and dust.

Step 3: Install new piping. New piping is installed, as per the design of the new plumbing system. The walls are expertly patched and painted, returning the interior walls to their original condition. Most people say they can’t even tell we did any work !

Step 4: Minimizing the impact on residents. This work is conducted in a staged process, which we have developed over the decades in the business, with the explicit goal of practically minimizing the impact on residents. Although work of this nature and magnitude can not be done without residents seeing the work take place, the substantial majority of residents in the buildings that we have worked in have told us that the process is much less invasive and impactful than they imagined it would be before the work was done.

How long does the process take?

Depending upon the size of your building, the length of time can vary greatly. Good estimates of timelines can be provided once we have reviewed drawings of your building and conducted a site visit. As a very general guideline; a small 10-15 suite building may take 6-7 weeks to complete; where as, a large tower may require 5-6 months of work.

Do residents have to move out while you are doing this work?

No. Residents do not have to move out while we are doing this work.

How much time will you be in my unit?

The work in a given unit depends on three key factors: the design of the plumbing system; the number of plumbing fixtures in the units; and, the layout of the fixtures in the units. For most projects, the span time of work within suites ranges from 15 days to 20 days. Schedules are provided for each resident prior to starting work in any unit. Of this time, the water is shut off for approximately 2 days and only between the hours of 8 am and 4 pm.

What hours will you be working?

Our crews start on site at 7:30 am, to begin organizing for the work day. Work within any suite will not begin any earlier than 8 am, and we will be finished for the day by 4 pm. We understand that a number of residents may require special work hours to accommodate shift work, or other needs, and we always do our best to accommodate these requests in our scheduling.

What areas of my suite will be affected?

Before work in your unit starts you will be provided a notice which clearly outlines the areas which will be affected in your unit. Generally the areas around the kitchen sink and sinks in the bathroom are the main areas affected.

What do I have to do to prepare my suite for this work?

Before work starts in your building, you will be provided a notice clearly articulating any preparation work that is required for your suite. Generally we ask that residents clear out the areas around and below the sinks in their kitchen and bathroom; as well as remove any valuable or sentimental items from any walls or book-cases, etc, where we may be working or moving material. Although we do take great care to ensure there is no damage, we also ask that precautions are taken to protect very valuable or sentimental items.

I have a pet that is in my unit during the day; what do I have to do?

Pets in a unit are not a problem. We will provide a sign to all tenants before any work starts to tape to your door notifying us that there is a pet inside, so that we can take care when entering and leaving the unit, and are aware that we will be working in an environment with a domestic animal.

I am worried about coming home to a mess; what do you do to make sure that things are left clean?

At Brighter we work to ensure that when we leave our work spaces for the day that they are left as clean as when we found them. We understand that we are working in other peoples’ homes and we take that very seriously. On a Brighter Mechanical job, you should never experience that feeling of coming home to a messy house because we were working in your suite that day. In the event that we have left your suite in a state that is not satisfactory for you, if you let our site Foreman know, he will ensure that it is taken care of as quickly as possible.

Who certifies that the work is done correctly and to code?

At Brighter we always work to the requirements of the building and plumbing codes. An independent engineer and a municipal building & plumbing inspector separately certify that the work we have done is to the standard of the plumbing and building codes of the municipality in which you live.

What if my building has asbestos containing material? Do I have to move out?

We are fully qualified to do all medium-moderate asbestos abatement work ourselves and have done this work in hundreds of buildings. When this work is occurring, you may be asked to leave the area for a few hours, but in most instances, you do not have to. You never have to move out when asbestos abatement work is underway, or any of our work for that matter.

Do you do repipe work outside of the Lower Mainland?

Yes!   We have repiped buildings from 25 suites to 280 suites in Victoria, Calgary, Namaimo, Duncan and Sun Peaks.

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