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Discuss How to claim against a plumber? in the Insurance for Plumbers area at

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  1. yelf

    yelf Member

    It was actually a sparky, but they do plumbing too, and im guessing the principles are the same?

    Our boiler has been losing pressure since we turned the heating on 3 weeks ago. The installer has been out 4 times and was at a loss. This afternoon water started dripping, then streaming down from the kitchen celiing. We called out an emergency plumber who found the problem was that a nail had caught a pipe that ran under the bathroom floor. To find this out a number of tiles had to be pulled up, but the actual nail was just on the edge of the tiling. We had a burglar alarm put in in the summer, and they pulled up the boards to fit one of the sensors in the kitchen. It is this board that as it was nailed back down a pipe got caught. There was sno sign until the heating went on (and where its situated walking may have made the pipe nick worse). The plumber will have to drain the system, and fix the piping - we will then need new bathroom tiling, and a new kitchen ceiling.

    I just rang the electrician (who is on holiday) but spoke to his son who actaully did the job. He is claiming it wasnt them and denying any responsibility as "Its a pressurised system and so any leak would have been noticed straight away". He also categorically stated that they dont nail boards down they screw (nails are blatantly in place). I have told him he needs to come round in the am before our plumber sgarts to fix it.

    How can i prove it is their fault? they are part of NIC EIC. I am actually very happy with the job they did, and would still use them again.

    Appreciate any quick answers.

  2. Barry98

    Barry98 Guest

    I think given the time scale it's been since done you will have a job on , what does there contract say that you accepted prior to the work commencing
  3. yelf

    yelf Member

    what contract?
  4. Gray0689

    Gray0689 Trusted Plumber GSR

    Sorry not nice to say but you have no chance
    Claim on your house insurance
  5. kozak1968

    kozak1968 Plumber GSR

    Unfortunately for you i don't think you have a claim because of the time scale plus the other work you have had done. It is very hard to prove that one trade has caused a problem. You may have to swallow the cost of the repair.
  6. Gray0689

    Gray0689 Trusted Plumber GSR

    And to be honest I have seen nails and stews in pipes for a long time before it actually starts to leak
  7. yelf

    yelf Member

    ?? There's been no more work done.
  8. Gray0689

    Gray0689 Trusted Plumber GSR

    Ps why you want to claim against your plumber as topic says??
  9. yelf

    yelf Member

    The nails in this board are clearly new nails comapred to all the other ones
  10. secret squirrel

    secret squirrel Guest

    sparks do plumbing to!

    principles are the same!

    I think you should ask the same question on the electricians forum!
  11. jase158

    jase158 Guest

    as said before, you will need to proove that he nailed that nail down.
    your best bet is to get the work done, take photos and speak to the father when back from holiday, he may be willing to help you out to keep his reputation.
    As you dont have a contract there is not much you can do as he does not have any legal obligations.

    But a contract can include emails, and if you have photos of the work when it was done, then you may be able to prove it. the cost of taking him to court will be much higher then the cost of repair.
    However I dont agree with what people on here say, time is never a factor for me. if he did the work then you have paid him to do a job properly and not worry about things like leaking pipes and wobbly floor boards.
  12. secret squirrel

    secret squirrel Guest

    what about if you did the job 8 months ago and there is evidence of other work?

    what if a diyer had taken up floor boards to do a job and put the nail through the pipe and is blaming you?

    Time is a factor as any insurance company will tell you, circumstances is another key factor.
  13. Ray Stafford

    Ray Stafford Guest

    Firstly, I should say that I am not a lawyer, and if you are serious about pursuing this, you should take legal advice.

    However, my understanding is that to successfully sue someone in a case like this, you need to be able to prove three things:

    1) That the person you are suing owed you a duty of care
    2) That they performed an act (or omitted to perform an act that they might reasonably have been expected to perform) which was negligent. It doesnt matter whether it was deliberate or not.
    3) That you suffered a loss as a consequence of that act or ommission

    In this case, you 1) is pretty clear - if they were working in your house. The contract thing is a bit of a red herring - there may not have been a written contract, but there is an implied contract if they did work for you and you paid them money.

    3) is also fairly clearly established, although you would have to quantify the loss. Courts tend to be quite restrictive about this - they often limit claims to actual cash paid out, and ignore things like the time and effort you spend on it.

    So the point in question here is 2) - did they do anything negligent? In this case, nicking a pipe with a nail. In a civil case, you only have to prove it "on the balance of probabilities". (Unlike a criminal case where the burden of proof is "beyond all reasonable doubt".)

    We don't have enough evidence to help judge that, and its often in the lap of the gods which way the court will view it. If they believe the sparky involved that he always screws boards down, you will have gone to a lot of trouble for nothing. If the amount at issue is enough that the judge makes an award of costs against you, you could be seriously out of pocket.

    My advice would be the same as some other posters above - when the father returns, talk nicely to him and explain the situation. If he is an honest bloke, and thinks it might be his fault, he will probably cover it, or at least make you an offer. If he sticks to his guns, it is probably more cost effective to claim on your household insurance, and get on with your life.

    In my experience taking legal action over relatively small amounts is a good way of making lawyers rich and wasting your time. My solicitor drives a Porsche. I drive a Hyundai. There's a lesson in that!
    • Like Like x 11
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 15, 2012
  14. Howsie

    Howsie Plumber

    Well said Ray!
  15. petercj

    petercj Guest

    You will need photographs of the work done, and the damage caused - close up, and of the general area.

    Two written estimates detailing the problem, and what it will take to put it right, and the cost.

    Write up your claim, and enclose the copies of the estimates, with photographs, in a letter to the person who caused the damage.

    You will need to make the damage available for inspection by the person you say has caused it, and give them the opportunity to put things right.

    If they refuse, then you can make a claim for recovery of your loss in the County Court. You can do the paper work on line, and it won't cost you a lot - fees start at £25 for small claims, and increase on a scale related to the level of the claim.

    However, before you make the final registration, send copies of all the papers to the subject of the claim by Recorded Delivery, and give them 14 days notice of what you intend to do, which gives them chance to change their minds.

    If it gets to Court, then you explain what happened to a Judge (informally, i.e. Judge in Chambers) s/he will look at the photographs, read your statement, look at the estimates, possibly ask a few questions, and make a judgement either in your favour, or not. Judgements are made on the balance of probability in the County Court, not on forensic evidence. You don't need a solicitor, and the Judge won't expect you to know the in's and out's of the relevant law - that's his/her job.
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