Like many things, if you’re not in the trade (or know someone who is) it can be daunting deciding who to go to for a CCTV pipe inspection. Large companies with good reviews and a solid reputation to protect are a relatively safe bet, so long as they have the targeted expertise in all aspects of what you need done.
So before you just throw a dart at the wall or trust fate to lead you in the right direction, we’ve done the research to help guide you a little more strategically along the path toward deciding for yourself which company’s got the goods to most accurately and effectively inspect and assess the state of your underground pipes.
This article summarises the most important things you need to find out before you decide who to call when you need a CCTV pipe inspection.
10 Things you need to know about CCTV Pipe Inspection Companies
One of the most important questions is whether they have adequate, up-to-date CCTV cameras and recording equipment as well as the latest in software to enhance their capacity to report on what they find. Ask those who quote on your job how old their equipment is, what it can do and why they purchased it in the first place (its advantages). Ask for an example of the footage you’ll receive. Is it in colour and not too grainy, dark or blurred? Also check that the footage inspection was slow and meticulous enough so that all areas of damage could be easily noted and evaluated.
As you watch the footage, ask them to explain what you see and if you don’t understand (ie if you can’t see the links between the images and what they’re describing), ask for further clarification. If you can’t get good value from the example they show you, it’s unlikely you’ll get good value of their inspection of your own pipes and you should move on.
The Water Services Association of Australia oversees professional certifications and standards in relation to CCTV pipe inspections (SWA 05-2008). You should always ask to see proof of the inspector’s qualifications or certification prior to any work being commenced. You can find more information about certifications and standards in relation to CCTV pipe inspections.
Their service offerings
If your aim is to only have a CCTV pipe inspection done and nothing else, then additional services will be of little concern. However if there are blockages to be removed and possible damage to be repaired, the other services a company offers may impact how they interpret the damage and advise on what to do.
If your inspection is being carried out by a plumber or drain inspector who does not offer pipe relining as one of their services, they may try to convince you that excavation is the only option. This can result in significantly higher costs, particularly when things like the time of excavation, concrete cutting, damage to property and reinstatement of what was previously there are taken into account.
When a drain inspection is carried out by a company that offers trenchless repair strategies (such as advanced composite resin pipe relining) you will be more likely to be given a price for repair via traditional (excavation) methods AS WELL AS a cost for today’s ‘no-dig’ repair options. This gives you the opportunity to decide which method will work best for you. You will also be able to ask comparative questions and get honest responses, likely to result in the best outcome. Nuflow allows for such flexibility of choice and ensures pipe issues are managed in the most cost-effective way possible.
Whilst fairly obvious, don’t forget to check what they charge. Is there a standard call-out fee and then what is the hourly rate after that? Ask what the standard time spent on a job usually works out to be and ask what sort of things (if any) can make that price blow out significantly. As a guide, the standard cost of a CCTV pipe inspection in Brisbane at present is about $300 to $400 and whilst much cheaper DIY home kits are available online or through hardware stores, few consumers find the capacity of the equipment to move through sludge, and the quality of the footage that results, to be of a useful standard.
As always, check websites and consumer forums for reports or advice from others who may have dealt with that company in the past. Look for testimonials and ask if there are consumers you can speak with (although beware they may only pass on names of very satisfied customers). Reputation is everything in today’s social media environment, so larger operations with good reputations are working hard to protect their good name.
The quality of their final report
Ask how you will receive your copy of the footage and the report. Will it be on USB or sent electronically. Will you also get a hard copy to use as you wish and how extensive will their recommendations be? Again, ask to see examples of what will be provided.
Their warranty or guarantees
Check the terms of their warranty in the case of damage to other sections of pipe. If there is no warranty you should be asking what would happen if a pipe was damaged during their inspection or if they failed to detect damage that led to a major problem. You should also ask whether they guarantee to find the issue or what types of situations could make locating damage impossible for them.
Always ask to see a copy of their public liability insurance. If they are not responsible enough to carry adequate insurance they are not serious about their profession and you should be wary.
You should always obtain at least three quotes before making a repair decision. Ask plenty of questions and make sure the answers you get leave you feeling comfortable and well informed. One great way to really get to the heart of things is to ask one company’s competitors why their product is better than a specific competitor’s. Listen to what they have to say but take it with a grain of salt (some will always just degrade other companies). Then use their comments to guide your research (checking for truth) and to inform a whole new set of questions to put to both of them. Those with something to hide will quickly lose interest in the job and those who are proud of what they do will enjoy showing you why they’re the best.
And finally, trust your gut
Checking these things out is taking due diligence with your property asset and also with your money. But often even after trying to determine a clear winner, you just can’t decide. Our gut will often give us clues about whether someone is right for our job or not. Do they seem keen or like it’s a chore? Are they helpful and interested in making sure you’re comfortable with what they’re going to do or are you just another number? At the end of the day you need to be comfortable you can trust their ability to find the problem and advise you on how to proceed, so don’t be afraid to trust your instincts about their character.
Nuflow is an Australian-owned company based wholly in Australasia. We offer fully guaranteed relining, CCTV pipe inspections and drain cleaning and we’are setting industry standards for best practice. With all necessary qualifications and intensive training and education, our field technicians will establish whether your pipes need clearing or relining and arrange for a quote. To learn more about our CCTV pipe inspection services visit our CCTV drain inspections page and to book a quote contact us.