Ask The Expert


Hi Robert,

I need to build a swimming pool and am planning on doing a lot of it on my own. I want to install a barbeque and countertop in the back and will have to run gas, water, and a waste line from the side of my house all the way out there. My question: Is it legal to put all of those utilities in one trench? If not, what should I do? Thank you,

Jason L.

Hi Jason,

It’s perfectly legal to put them all in one trench. My only recommendation would be to stack the utilities separately in case you have a repair in the future. For example, I would put the gas line on the bottom. Water supply lines have a greater tendency of breaking, so I would put that at the very top so it would be easily accessible.

Many trades don’t care and will put a supply line at the bottom or intermingled between other lines so you have to cut everything out to get to the supply line leak.

Personally, the water supply line would be the last one I put in. Take it off to the side and make it as neat as possible so that in the future, if there is a problem, it will be easy to repair.

Hi Robert,

I’m a widower and I’m involved in a situation with my upstairs neighbor and I hope that you can find the time to shed some light on my predicament.

It has recently rained twice, and both times I have had leaking in my ceiling. We do have a management company that has told me that they think the problem is coming from the upstairs deck. The owner, however, is out of town, will be returning in 30 days, and in the meantime refuses to let inspectors look at her deck. Everyone is telling me I’ll have to wait but in the interim, my ceiling has been soaked two times and I am worried about mold. Would you please tell me, do I have any other options? Thank you very much,

Rachel W.

Hi Rachel,

You have the legal right to have your home repaired. Mold starts growing within 72 hours. My recommendation is to remove all of the wet drywall and insulation and get some dryers in there.

I would take pictures before you touch anything. Show all of the damages including any pots you may have catching dripping water.

I would send your HOA a letter. Don’t communicate with them on the phone, but instead notify them in writing that you are taking the above mentioned actions and will hold the HOA liable for any subsequent damages. Explain that you don’t want to be difficult, but the other side of the coin is that the HOA has a fiduciary responsibility to resolve this problem.

It’s not fair you live with this for another 30 days. The owner could send keys or contact a representative or come back on her own. If she refuses to cooperate, then the HOA shall provide notice to her that they intend to forcibly enter her unit in order to water test in order to ascertain cause and location of the leaks, and then to make whatever repairs are required.

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Robert Lamoureux of IMS Construction, Valencia, CA, has 30 years experience as a Commercial, General, Electrical, and Plumbing contractor. The opinions expressed in “Ask the Expert” are not to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after a thorough visual inspection has been made.

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