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Why plumbing jobs go wrong

The media would have you believe that every other plumbing or heating engineer is a cowboy waiting to rip you off, but the reality is that true cowboys are few and far between. The majority of those in the industry are genuine tradespeople, holding integrity, qualifications and experience. However, we are all human and there can be times when mistakes are made or communication breaks down on both sides.  This blog covers some common problems that arise when plumbing or heating work goes wrong.

1) Scheduling in work
Firstly, use a member of the CIPHE (link to find a plumber). Good plumbers and heating engineers will be busy and may be booked up for months in advance. It is likely you’ll have to wait for the right person to do the job – especially so if you have multiple trades involved in one job. 

To help avoid issues, insist on being given a clear, realistic schedule once you have agreed to a quote. If the schedule begins to slip, do talk to your tradesperson right away so they can explain why and re-arrange key dates to suit you both - many problems may be out of the installer’s control and as frustrating to them as they are to you.

2) Quotes
As a rule you should opt for three quotes. You should give your plumbing/heating engineer some idea of your budget. You also need to work out who is responsible for sourcing tradespeople for additional works (e.g. an electrician/decorator/tiler/plasterer, etc) and who is buying all the materials – will you do it or will you ask your tradesperson to source? You also need to be aware that changing your mind half way through a project is likely to incur additional costs, so be clear on what you want before the job begins.

On larger jobs there may also be some unforeseen issues that neither you, or your installer were unaware of, so it’s wise to put some extra budget away just in case.  If you have any concerns about the budget, talk to your installer straight away.

3) Unrealistic expectations
Buyer beware – the glossy magazines and designer showrooms may sell you a picture of luxury, but is it really going to look the same in your cramped bathroom or that tiny loft space you are converting?  Remember the bathrooms in showrooms are not plumbed in, don’t have to hide pipework, have issues such as uneven floors or walls or have to worry about where the water or waste pipes are.

You need to work with your installer to plan a design for your house which suits your room, lifestyle, adheres to all Building and Water Regulations (Bylaws in Scotland) and suits your current plumbing/heating systems.  If you are sourcing products you will need to ensure that you have all the correct measurements, you have ordered everything you need and that it all hits the relevant standards or it will cause problems and delay when it comes to installation.

Last but not least, please expect there to be disruption, noise and mess while the job is being completed!