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Water shutoff to individual apartments

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  • Water shutoff to individual apartments

    I've lived in high-rise apartment buildings. And I've lived in high-rise apartment-style condominium buildings. And each time I had the same bad experience: Any time there was a plumbing problem in any of the units or apartments, the plumber had to shut off the master water supply valve to the whole side of that building--or sometimes to the entire building--to be able to do the repair. The laws of probability being what they are, it's inevitable that at least one apartment out of fifty apartments in a building has some plumbing problem somewhere, meaning that the rest of the occupants have to suffer through frequent shutoffs of their water supply.

    Where I'm living now, the water has been shut off to my building (including my own apartment) twice in one week, each time to repair a plumbing problem in a different unit in my building. This is a pain in the neck.

    What do the modern building codes say about this? Aren't there high-rise buildings where it's possible to isolate a single unit or a single office or a single floor and just shut off the water to that one, in order to fix its plumbing, rather than to inconvenience the whole damn building?

    I can't believe that if just one men's room has a plumbing problem in the Empire State Building or Sears Tower, the plumber has to shut the water off to the whole building! How does that work?

  • #2
    Re: Water shutoff to individual apartments

    I would say 90% of the buildings in this area have individual shut offs in the bathroom and kitchen. We call them Croton Valves(which I believe is a local name for them). Now if they hold 100% is a different question. They are required by most local municipalities.


    • #3
      Re: Water shutoff to individual apartments

      i say it has to do with $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ there are a lot of contractors that will not put in valves unless it is in the specifications when they bid the job

      the co i work for gets to do the service work for 90% of the new jobs we do so we put in more valves then is called for . it makes you look good when 2 yrs down the road you need to fix something and do not have to shut down the hole building .

      we say valves are cheep when you put them in during construction then to do them later

      My seek the peek fundraiser page

      new work pictures 12/09


      • #4
        Re: Water shutoff to individual apartments

        The code says there must be a way to shut off the supply to the fixtures which is as simple the angle stops under the fixtures or integral stops at tub/shower valves. Depending on the engineer and the budget he is working with you may also have SOVs for each unit or riser SOVs for each riser.

        "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

        I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!


        • #5
          Re: Water shutoff to individual apartments

          depending on the layout and design of the building. we typically have riser shut offs accessible in the lower level garage or ceiling access panel.

          i have super freeze units that will freeze the pipe to allow me to isolate lines if the situation calls for it.

          there are valves called "add a valve" that are designed to be installed on a live line. very costly, but in an emergency, it's worth it.

          phoebe it is


          • #6
            Re: Water shutoff to individual apartments

            Hi Sinz, I'm from MA...and actually work in the greater Lowell area.
            You're correct, multiple units are now required to have seperate shut-offs.
            Most inspectors are requiring seperate valves on multi residential units now, even when they're apartments, in the event they switch to condo's after the fact.
            In your situation, the possibility of seperating units all depends on the way the main is piped to each unit.