Not a good January for me – builder advice needed..

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  • Not a good January for me – builder advice needed..
  • More sh*t news for me…

    The builder (who HAS been very good up till now TBF) who is doing an extension has just made a right old c*ck up – he was working on the central heating yesterday and somehow (he said something about a lock-off valve or something not working), when he switched it all back on, it started leaking. He didn’t realise as he is working downstairs and the leak happened in the loft room and therefore has been leaking for 24 hours. The loft is flooded, it has come down through the ceiling in the bedroom and spare bedroom, soaked both those carpets, soaked the bedding/matress/base, filled underbed cupboards through. It just started coming into the ceiling in the front room.

    So the question is (it might be obvious) – whose fault is it? He said that this valve that should have been working wasn’t working, but surely he should check, not just assume.

    And if he isn’t liable, would we stand a chance on our house insurnce?

    What a start to a damn year we have had. 🙁


    our builder did this and we negotiated money off the final bill

    Premier Icon bruneep

    his fault, either him or his insurance co should pay. deffo not you.

    Premier Icon wwaswas

    you claim on your house insurance, they decide if it’s worth chasing him for the money would be my view if he won’t do the decent thing and say ‘yes, I should have checked’


    Did he take the cover off? Is he a Corgi-registered engineer? Is he qualified in any way to touch your boiler system?

    sorry MF must ask these questions first before I can give you my honest opinion.


    Claim off your ins co. they will chase the builder

    I don’t know whether he took the cover off – he was working on capping rads/adding new points. No idea what exactly led up to this as we have moved out hist he does this.

    But if he claims something wasn’t working properly would he have any comeback on us, or is it 100% his responsibility to check?

    At the end of the day I don’t want a fight, but at the same time he probably ruined about £400 worth of my shoes which were stored under the bed, never mind the potential damage to carpets/floorboards etc.

    Premier Icon bruneep

    You have £400 worth of shoes??????????

    are you Imelda Marcos in disguise?

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash

    If he’s arguing, go through your insurers and they will then chase him and his insurers

    lol – doesn’t take much. £80 a pair soon adds up.


    Ignore Hora, you don’t have to be Corgi registered to touch a boiler as long as you don’t touch the gas. So he can/could work on the water part without any issues

    Regardless, if you are insured speak to them they will pay out to have it all fixed, and they will claim it back off the builder (if he is at blame). If you aren’t insured then, you are in the shit as you need to get the builder to pay.

    Where are you located? as if you are in Bristol, I have the numbers of a very good plumber and builder who actually turn up when they say and don’t charge the earth

    nb: its not rocket science to spot the leak, as if he had looked at the boiler pressure over 5 minutes he would have been able to see it dropping as the system leaked the water

    My insurers say we are not covered whilst building work is ongoing (as we didn’t inform them up front).

    Hopefully the damage will not be too bad as all the water ran into the centre of rooms and through light fittings so it hasn’t run down any walls – it’s just whether it fecks the carpets. I will have to ask him straight what he would intend to do if it does **** them (he hasn’t said he won’t replace, I am just posing the question to you guys at the moment).

    I am also hoping he won’t be a c)ck about it as his wife is my wife’s boss so it wouldn’t reflect well on his wife if he f*cks us off. The one thing I am worried about is the floor in the loft room as it is panelled out with chipboard and I am sure that will have weakened considerably with all that water running through it.

    It is a combi boiler so it wouldn’t lose pressure would it? It would keep filling up from the feed end…

    Which it did.


    If it’s a combi boiler it would stop filling and empty the pressure unless the filling loop was left connected and open, it wasn’t was it? ’cause it’s not supposed to be.



    Where are you located? as if you are in Bristol, I have the numbers of a very good plumber and builder who actually turn up when they say and don’t charge the earth

    can you give me the number of the plumber you know, asked four to come round two didn’t show, one turned up but gave us a daft price and the other turned up said he’d do the work the sent me a text saying i needed to get all the parts which he hadnt told me what to get, then he started getting pissy.

    Well that’s the thing (going back to th original question) – he said something wasn’t working as it should so I guess it was that. Would that mitigate him of any responsibility if he could reasonably claim that the boiler was not working as it should.

    Premier Icon psling

    You say the leak is in the loft and that the builder has been working downstairs.

    Did the builder do any plumbing work in the loft? If not, then the leak may not actually be anything to do with the work he has been doing.

    Worth pushing your insurance people, especially if the leak isn’t a direct consequence of the building work.

    If it is a direct consequence of the building work then, given your (& your wife’s) relationship with the builder (& his wife) then it looks like you’ll need to sit down and negotiate!

    Beware, water damage is not always visible and obvious. Get it properly checked.

    I think they had drained the system from the loft and left the valve open, but rather than check, they assumed the drained system was fully drained and not refilling. But I could be wrong. My head is spinning with one thing and another.


    And I am hoping (I need something positive to look toward) that his attitude up till now has been very professional and he hasn’t cut any corners so hopefully he won’t try to cover his tracks on this.


    flatfish try this bloke:

    Harvey Heating & Plumbing
    Tel: 07980 845613
    He is very good, honest and turns up when he says he will.


    Also, if you are draining your central heating, you do it from the lowest point not the highest as water doesn’t flow uphill that well.

    As for the boiler, every combi boiler I’ve had is a closed loop once you have pressurized the system you shut the inlet valve off, and the pressure should remain constant (unless you over fill the boiler and then it have a pressure release valve which will honk like crazy until its dropped it down to a safe level).

    Did he drain the central heating or did he use existing isolators in the pipe work? or has your heating been off/disconnected?

    Back… Right, well I think I have got to the bottom of things. The builder was draining from the bottom (naturally) but had opened a bleed valve at the highest point in order to make the system drain properly. He then closed an isolation valve at the boiler end. Unfortunately the valve didn’t close properly (so he claims) and he had left the bleed valve open in the loft room (bit of an oversight IMO).

    If you ask me, they had switched it all back on as they had finished the work, but simply forgot that the bleed valve was still open.

    Anyhoos – the house has been drying out over the weekend and is looking better. None of the wall coverings or ceilings are water damaged (the water ran through the liht fittings) and the carpets are drying out okay, although there is some water marks – the builder is trying again today to shampoo the spots to see if they will lift out.

    Will be sitting down with him next week to have an update meeting and we will see what he has to say about compensation.


    Problems happen, just chat to him, if you try and pursue a large claim he may well go bust, and thenm you want get the job done.

    Claim of your insurance , if possible.

    Our insurance won’t cover the house whilst building work underway (we would have had to inform them up front apparently).

    I am now just hoping we can come to an arrangement regarding the extra work done and offset that against the problems he has caused.


    My dads a builder, if anything happened that was his fault then he would put it right at his expense.

    To be fair, the builder is saying he will try to put it all right and has already had our very expensive duvet and bedding dry cleaned and has Vaxed all the carpets. I am just worried he may baulk at the cost of three carpets if the water marks won’t come out.

    And it has ruined several pairs of shoes including two pairs of suede Merrells 🙁


    sounds like he is doing his best to correct the mistake.


    Teach you to be a fashion queen 😛

    I might be a queen, but I ain’t fashionable in my suede Merrell sandals.



    I am a plasterer to trade, you need to watch out for hidden damage to the boards, if nails start to pop then the boards are warping as they dry. If you have old lath and plaster ceilings then ANY cracks that suddenly appear ned checking, does the ceiling move? If it does, then the lath has warped because of water.Old plaster and lath is heavy, if it comes down of it’s own accord anybody/thing underneath is in for a sore one. Oh, and replace all the fittings water ran into.

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth

    And it has ruined several pairs of shoes including two pairs of suede Merrells

    My god, it sounds like the man did you a favour. Give him a break!

    Anyway, if he held himself out to be qualified to do the job properly, then he would be required to do it with the care expected of someone with suitable experience and knowledge. That would also likely include checking that all valves are properly switched off and that there are no leaks. He didn’t make this check, and so is responsible for the likely consequences (i.e. water damage).

    So, in short he – or, if he’s sensible, his insurers – are on the hook to put it right. However, without getting too difficult, you need to strike a deal as to what level (£) he is going to agree to cover, taking into account the nature and age of the items damaged.

    The danger with his insurance company becoming involved is that they’ll be even harder to neotiate with, and will fight even more not to pay up and blame you. So, best to deal with him.

    ’tis lath and plaster and he says he is regularly checking that it isn’t bowing etc. TBF he does appear to be doing what he can to make sue it is right, but short of making him rip down ceilings and start again, we will have to assume it is drying okay. We are sitting down to talk money soon so I will have to see what he has to say then.

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