Late last Friday afternoon, I received a call from a number I didn’t recognise. Usually I would have let the call go to message bank, but I decided to answer it. In case someone was calling to tell me I had won $10,000.
I hadn’t won $10,000, but the lady on the other end of the line sounded desperate and she thanked me for answering her call even though ‘you don’t know who I am.’
The lady had rung me for help and advice for a plumbing problem she had seen me write about on my blog.
Her apartment in Sydney had a skew toilet pan (a toilet where the waste of the pan is at a right angle) and she had engaged a builder to renovate the bathroom. The builder said he could replace the toilet for her, but 6 months later and a lot of mucking around, the toilet was unusable and in need to be replaced. The builder, obviously inexperienced with this type of plumbing installation, made suggestions on elevating the toilet to meet the current waste position. The lady was not impressed with the suggestion.
In desperation, she rang me to ask on who I could recommend to replace her toilet. She had been reading my blog post about how dad and I had changed a skew toilet pan to a p trap and wanted to know of a plumber in Sydney who could replicate my blogpost. But on her toilet.
I was able to recommend a plumber who coincidentally was located not far from where this lady owned her apartment.
The lesson from the call is this. Builders are great project managers for bathroom renovations, but their qualifications do not go as far as replacing toilets – or any type of plumbing work (we’re talking pipework, fixtures and tap installations). Plumbing is a licensed trade and a licensed plumber needs to be engaged to do all plumbing work. A builder that advertises he or she can install the plumbing without engaging a plumber is doing the wrong thing by you and the law.
In Queensland, the Queensland Building and Construction Commission are always on the look out for unlicensed work being carried out. At the QLD Plumbing Conference, the people who are most likely to do unlicensed work are tradies without qualifications. They see licensed work being done onsite and think ‘that doesn’t look too hard, I can do that myself and earn an extra buck or two when charging the client.’
I’ve mentioned before that you can void your insurance and be fined for engaging someone to do unlicensed work. The other negative outcome is the project can lapse for months if the right tradie isn’t engaged to fix a problem as they are inexperienced to solve it.
As has happened to this lady.
If you need to find a reputable plumber in your area, check out this post.
If you reside in QLD, I recommend searching the Master Plumbers Association of QLD website and searching by postcode which will bring up the master plumbers in your suburb.