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Should plumber be advising me?

I've employed a plumber to install a new bathroom of approx 10 sq m. In May we agreed a price and start date of mid June which he pushed back to mid July then early August. Estimated duration was 3 - 4 weeks (incl decomissioning old bathroom).

I ordered the sanitary ware and bathroom furniture and I sent him spec of everything for review. He confirmed all was suitable.

It became apparent during first week he had not looked at specs because among other things, he was surprised the bath sat flat on the floor rather than on legs. When I asked him if he'd looked at the spec he said he didn't remember seeing it! Anyway we agreed he would raise the floor to accommodate the plumbing. 7 weeks on I simply cannot see 7 weeks work.

That's is not the only thing. Today he complained that bath waste was not 'standard' and suggested I get on to supplier to establish what the problem was. I told him I thought he should get on to the supplier to find out!

Eventually I contacted the supplier and the matter was easily resolved (fitting was standard after all just faulty!). Another issue was the radiator. I sent him spec of rad I wanted to order and he confirmed it was suitable. When it arrived he said BTU wasn't adequate. When I asked him why he didn't mention that before confirming it was ok he said he didn't know at that point what the BTU was of the towel rail I''d already bought which was sitting in the box in my spare bedroom!

Those are just two examples of issues that have arisen and my argument is that as the so called expert 'he should be advising me of these things well in advance. He also now says that he did look at the spec of everything I'd bought but doesn't have the time to spend trawling the internet to establish if all the fittings are standard or not!

At the rate he is going he will make little if any money out of the job and I'm beginning to wonder if he's working at my home all day every day or fitting me in whilst he does something else. Essentially my questions are should he be advising me in the way I think he should and why would a 3 - 4 week job become what now looks it's going to be a 12 week job. Sorry to waffle but I am at my wits end! Thanks.

7 Answers from MyBuilder Plumbers

Best Answer

Phew! Seems like you have got a bit more than the bathroom you wanted here? Whilst I am no legal expert, I can offer a few pointers to you, however, you will need to consider the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982.

I would advise you to be patient and be reasonable when dealing with your plumber. The vast majority of tradesmen, ourselves included, want to do a great job and receive payment at the end. However, your plumber could take you to court if you do not pay and his case may be more credible if you do not take steps to ensure that you have been reasonable and fair.

Take pictures of the work so far. Advise your plumber verbally, and follow up in writing, the reasons why you are unhappy with the service he has provided and state in your letter that you are offering a reasonable completion date, say two weeks after receipt of the letter, for all works to be completed. This puts the emphasis on the plumber to ensure that he can complete the works using reasonable skill and in a reasonable time scale.

This is also a little more difficult as you are providing materials and your plumber is providing a labour only service. As you have specified the materials, unfortunately, it is up to you to ensure that they are fit for purpose and not the plumber. He can of course advise on suitability, or not, prior to ordering but not after.

However, do not employ anyone else just yet? The reason for this is that no-one wants to pick up where someone else has left off and all of the problems that may entail. Also you may not have any comeback if your plumber says that he could not finish as you had "locked him out" and not given him the opportunity to allow him to rectify any defective work. This would normally be done at his own cost, after all no-one wants to do a bad job. By locking him out he could still be entitled to charge for time spent and his reasonable costs for you being in breach of contract. So don't worry if he is not making any money on the job. I am sure he will learn the hard way?

If you require further help, look up your local Citizens Advice, or look here for more information.

All the best.


Answered 17th Sep 2012

Your intuition and suspicions are correct.

Any plumber who is worth his salt would have fitted your bathroom to your requirements in accordance with your will and could have guided you through any technicality with the minimum of fuss.


Answered 13th Sep 2012

It would be far too long winded to tell you exactly what i think of this carry on but under NO circumstances would i allow a crumpet as unhelpful as this on any of my jobs.You must be very easy going:)


Answered 13th Sep 2012

hi gayle,
any proper tradesman should be advising the customer what is best for them, the problem you have is that you dont have a proper tradesman, rather than check to see if he is going else where id be looking for his horse.
good luck alex


Answered 13th Sep 2012

I'm a bit shocked at 3-4 weeks to be honest. 7 weeks is extracting the urine. Get shot of your plumber and get someone else in!!!! You should have fired him when he kept changing dates.


Answered 13th Sep 2012

Tell this guy he has one week to finish this work or you will get somone else in ,and do not pay him one penny untill you are happy with the work. This type of work is done on trust, you trust that he will do what he said he would do and he trust that you will pay him when he completes to a good standard.So sack him , he will not win in a small claims court.


Answered 13th Sep 2012

Hi Gayle, sorry to hear your problems any good plumber would advise you from your first meeting right the way through your project.
As for 7 weeks think that is way too longhope you found someone else.


Answered 23rd Sep 2012

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