Get a Look Inside Your Pipes: Top Benefits of Forensic Piping Tests | SageWater
Top Benefits of Forensic Piping Tests
Top Benefits of Forensic Piping Tests

Get a Look Inside Your Pipes: Top Benefits of Forensic Piping Tests


Managing a multifamily property often involves navigating a myriad of maintenance issues, but few are as pervasive and hidden as the problems posed by aging piping systems. Frequent leaks can cause a lot of problems for communities, ranging from disruptive water shutoffs and escalating operating costs to emergency service fees and repairs. Health hazards like mold, discolored water, and toxic waste from drain and vent pipes add to the complexity. In addition, insurers may increase policy costs or even decline coverage due to frequent claims, especially if they see that you have no plan to fix the problems.

As piping problems become more frequent and you realize that repeated calls to your service plumber are a stopgap rather than a solution, that’s when we see clients turn to a forensic study and analysis of their failing pipes. It delves deep into the health of your piping systems, providing scientific data about the current condition and longevity of your pipes. With a SageWater Pipe TEST forensic report—a Technical Evaluation of System Threats—you receive both a detailed analysis for understanding whether you need to replace a piping system and what it will cost.


  • Camera your drain lines to find clogs, cracks and sags.
  • Ultrasonically test for pipe wall deterioration.
  • Send samples for lab analysis to identify the reasons your pipe failed.
  • Test water quality, temperature, and flow to help determine the cause of your leaks.

The Power of Forensic Piping System Analysis

A forensic piping system analysis delivers measurable, factual data about the condition and status of a piping system. The results of the study provide empirical evidence about whether a piping system needs to be replaced and increases certainty about when to do it. It’s data that conveys powerful benefits, delivering knowledge and information to help your community make better-informed decisions on how to manage your pipe problems. Here are the top benefits we’ve seen our clients experience:

Pipe TEST Benefits for Apartment Community Owners and Operators

  1. Acquisition ROI. During acquisition due diligence, if you’re considering properties that are 30 years or older or that have a history of leaks, a forensic study is invaluable. Once you know whether a significant investment like a pipe replacement is necessary, you can negotiate the right price and make better decisions about whether you can meet ROI goals during the time you plan to hold the asset.
  2. Capital Improvement Strategy. Using forensics to understand the condition of problematic piping systems is crucial for effective asset planning. For starters, you’ll be more certain about when to fund the project and, with insights from a SageWater Pipe TEST report, you’ll know how much it will cost and how long it will take. Also, if you’re planning to reposition a property or deciding among multiple capital improvements, you can better prioritize renovation investments. For example, you may decide to update a failing piping system before upgrading kitchen cabinets and bathroom tile that will have to be replaced again during a repipe project.

Pipe TEST Benefits for Condominium Boards

  1. Eliminating Uncertainty Among Stakeholders. As a condominium board member, you are often more aware than other community homeowners about the risks that come with rising maintenance and insurance costs due to frequent leaks. Even so, you or your fellow decision-makers may doubt whether the expense and disruption of a community-wide pipe replacement are truly necessary. You may also worry about negative attitudes and objections by other homeowners. A forensic report replaces doubt with concrete, science-based facts about the condition of your community’s piping, which can facilitate informed decision-making and help align homeowners with the board’s strategy.
  2. Capital Improvement Strategy and Reserves Planning. In communities where multiple building components are aging simultaneously, a forensic report is helpful for prioritizing projects. For example, you can make data-backed decisions about whether pipe replacement can be deferred in favor of other urgent improvements like replacing a roof or repairing concrete spalling. With a SageWater Pipe TEST, you gain an additional advantage: For systems that don’t need to be repiped right away, you’ll receive an estimate you can use to start reserving funds for the inevitable future project.
  3. Mitigating Insurance Risk. By obtaining a piping forensic report and using it to make a practical plan for remediation, you may be able to mitigate insurance risks that can threaten your community’s ability to afford increasing premiums and deductibles, or even your community’s insurability.


Source: SageWater
This forensic analysis compares the pipe wall thickness of a healthy DWV drainpipe on top with one that is thinning and needs to be replaced on the bottom.

Source: SageWater
This image from a digital microscope shows one of many pin-holes in a copper piping system. The interior corrosion has propagated to the exterior, producing leaks.

The complexities and hidden dangers of aging piping systems in multifamily communities demand a proactive and informed approach. Forensic piping system analysis, especially the SageWater Pipe TEST, is not just a tool for understanding the present; it’s a strategic asset for planning the future. It ensures that ROI, safety, and operational efficiency are not left to chance and are the result of deliberate, data-driven decisions. This approach is not just about maintaining infrastructure; it’s about safeguarding communities, enhancing value, and building confidence among stakeholders.

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