pipes before stop cock


Postby acsimpson » Sun Jan 18, 2009 11:46 pm

I have just had a plumber working on my new kitchen as I could not find the time to do it myself. I was rather surprised to discover that the pipe feeding the kitchen sink comes from a t before the main stop cock. There are isolating valves for the hot and cold under the sink with about 1m of pipe between the t and the valve.

As my plumber has also managed to fill half the cupboard under the sink and leave burn marks inside the cupboard from torch work without a heat proof mat I wonder if he actually knows what he is doing. Can anyone confirm if it is acceptable practice to effectively have 2 stop cocks working on different sections of the house or if (as in all other situation I have seen) there should only be one with all pipes spiting after the tap?

He has also installed the stop cock under the cupboard so that the kick board will need removed if the stop cock needs accessed, while I can reach it, the tap is almost an arms length under the cupboard and only accessible while lying on the floor. Once again could someone please advise if this is an acceptable standard.

Thanks.
acsimpson
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Postby swidders » Mon Jan 19, 2009 4:57 pm

no it's not acceptable.

the stopcock should be in a readily accessible point with a drain off valve sited just above it to allow for the system to be drained. and isolator valve is not a stopcock by any stretch of the imagination.

all pipework should feed from this point to whatever outlets you require depending on the system.

as for burning your kitchen units, i suspect he really isn't qualified for the job - one of the first things you learn is the importance of doing hot work safely and with minimum of damage (as you know, our reputation is second to none). pipework under the sink is necessary at times, but most of this is usually hidden behind the rear panel - hence why theres a space behind it.
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Postby Stelf » Mon Jan 19, 2009 8:42 pm

Hi
First of all your plumber must have turned the water off somewhere else to connect the sink supply if it is before the main stopcock, unless he froze the section of pipe first before where he teed, off or you have floorboards and another stopcock under the floor. Isolating valves seem OK as they are supposed to be for repairing taps if necessary. Most plumbers will fit them quite close to the taps.
To leave burn marks is not acceptable and you should ask for some recompense. Don't really know what you mean about half filling the cupboard, unless you mean with pipework etc. but this can sometimes take up a fair bit of room.
Best wishes
Stelf
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Postby plumbbob » Mon Jan 19, 2009 11:53 pm

This one has me confused. Why should anyone go to the extra trouble of teeing off BEFORE a stoptap. It's wrong and more work. I don't see the point.

If he went to the trouble of cutting the pipe before the tap, why didn't he raise it up into the cupboard where it should be? What happens if it needs to be replaced?

Hey Swidders, tried fitting an Ikea kitchen? They don't believe in cupboard voids! Just an 18mm backboard flat against a wall - a nightmare to fit if the wall is out and all plumbing in the cupboard.

No, he should not have marked the cupboard, but to be fair, all plumber's have done this at some point or other regardless of how careful they are.
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Postby acsimpson » Tue Jan 20, 2009 10:36 am

According to his website The plumber is has taken training in the Water Byelaws (Scotland) 2000. Can anyone confirm if there are rules in the Scottish byelaws which he has broken or provide a link to a copy (I don't want to pay HMSO £20 for it)? If not then I probably don't have a leg to stand on to get it re-done as nothing was firmly agreed before the work was done. It is part of a larger alteration project so nearly everything is comunicated through my main contracted builder.

Swidders,
The rising main leaves the stop cock and crosses the kitchen under the floor before going up the wall to be distributed around the house. so there was never really an option of a drain point and there was not one previously so I'm not too bothered about that.

Stelf,
I don't think he turned the pipe off or froze any of it. I'm guessing as I was not in on the day the work was done but the day he did the work and before the cabinets went in the floor around his new pipe work was sodden and our towels were also wringing wet. So looks like he just cut the pipe and worked quickly. Although why he didn't use his own towels or stop the flow I'm not sure.

I do mean the cupboard is half filled with pipework. It's hard to describe so I'll try and get a picture tonight. The hot and cold pipes come in about 4 inches from the back of the cabinets and then go up about a foot before returning to the back of the cupboard. There is then 2 lines of waste pipe across in front of the water pipes.

Plumbbob,
I don't really know why he did it either. We had asked for the stop cock to be moved from the corner cupboard to under the sink but seems to have decided it couldn't be done due to the extra pipework involved. Then instead of leaving it cut into the back of the corner cupboard he decided to drop it into the void under the cupboard. The kitchen comes from Howdens (Schreiber units) and so has plenty of space behind the cupboards.

I'm inclined to agree that the burn marks are incidental. It looks like he was repairing a weeping joint but there shouldn't have been a rush as he could have turned his isolating valves off. However it is the cupboard under the sink and so will only contain cleaning products or a bin. The real purpose they serve is to make me doubt wether he takes pride in his work.
acsimpson
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Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 11:33 pm


Postby swidders » Tue Jan 20, 2009 10:07 pm

Obviously difficult to be specific without actually seeing it, but:

1/. since he had room to cut the pipe before the stopcock to put his (compression?) tee in, he could have put the stopcock here or rerouted it to a more accessible place, after which he could have put a drain off point, a tee to wherever it was going before returning the pipe to the original route. Wouldn't have taken more than an hour or so.

2/. somehow i doubt that even he would have managed to cut into a live mains pipe and work quickly to get his tee and subsequent connection to the sink service valve on (please tell me it's not a plastic speedfit!) He is more likely to have turned it off elsewhere (can only assume the pavement) and the water that was mopped up came from inside the pipework running around the house. Funnily enough, if there had been a drain off point, this wouldn't have caused a flood since it would have been drained off!! That's why it's useful and standard to put one in, and remiss of him not to take the opportunity to do so now.

3/. To plumbob - must admit I haven't had the undoubted delight of installing an ikea kitchen yet (mostly magnet trade, howdens, wickes and bq). I look forward to NOT having the opportunity!

4/. Sounds like he doesn't seem to take pride in his work at all. I take it you're not likely to give him a word of mouth reference. Don't know where you stand legally on this due to lack of contract etc, and suspect you won't get much joy in complaining/asking for recompense. But if you don't ask, you def won't get. So good luck - keep us posted.
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Postby acsimpson » Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:13 am

1) I'm afraid I don't remember if the tee was compression or solder (does it make a difference?) Given that other areas of his pipework are longer than they need to be the only reason I can think of why he didn't re-route would be laziness. The position of the stop cock is awkward but as it is now under the kitchen unit it seems unlikely it can be moved.

2) Fortunately he didn't use speedfit joints before the pipework leaves the floor. I guess he must have used the pavement valve (or frozen the pipe).

4) No, I'll not recommend him, and although I would recommend the contractor I would suggest that people use their own plumber alongside him. The project is architect supervised so I'll bring it up with him at snagging time if I don't speak to him first.

I can't work out how to switch BBCodes on so I guess they're disabled. I've put some pictures online. The first one is the best and shows the burn marks along with the dishwasher pipe coming to the other side of the cupboard.

http://img232.imageshack.us/img232/9128/p1040104qj2.jpg
http://img93.imageshack.us/img93/7378/p1040105nr8.jpg
http://img232.imageshack.us/img232/1751/p1040106ou6.jpg
http://img232.imageshack.us/img232/8266/p1040107ue6.jpg
http://img232.imageshack.us/img232/4513/p1040108dp6.jpg
http://img232.imageshack.us/img232/2199/p1040109wu0.jpg

I hadn't noticed before that the pipe appears to continue rising after the u-bend. I'll need to take a closer look at that when I'm home.
acsimpson
Posts: 213
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 11:33 pm


Postby Stelf » Fri Jan 23, 2009 4:44 pm

Hi AC,
Not a great job, I'm afraid. The burn marks being in two places shows it is not just an accident, but poor workmanship. The pipes to the wastes and supplies to taps could have been run much tidier and the waste pipes look as though they have backfall in a couple of places. By all means let the architect know it is not acceptable.
Best wishes.
Stelf
Posts: 42
Joined: Tue Dec 23, 2008 7:44 pm


Postby htg engineer » Fri Jan 23, 2009 9:48 pm

The waste pipe does seem to rise, not fall. Also why so many fittings ? you can get a trap to fit the 1-1/2 bowl sinks with a WM waste connection.

Abit of thought and a heatproof/soldering mat would have prevented any damage.

Also looks like earth bond has been disconnected and not re-connected

Not the best job I've seen - but not the worst either, easily and cheaply put right by a competent DIYer - although you shouldn't have to when you paid a 'professional'.

htg
htg engineer
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Postby swidders » Sat Jan 24, 2009 12:47 am

Certainly a lack of forethought gone into his pipe layout. Also not too happy that he soldered the tails of the taps to the supply pipes - means you can't do any maintenance (a compression fitting would have been preferable).

Others may disagree here, but the use of yorkshire fittings to join the pipe makes me question his skill level, as does the lack of effort to bend the pipe to shape instead of relying on elbows. Pipework not really attractive and it wouldn't have passed basic college assessment.

Since architect is involved, have you got a percentage retainer subject to completion?
swidders
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Postby acsimpson » Sat Jan 31, 2009 11:44 pm

Thanks for all your help. The architect didn't seem to think that it was unacceptable. I guess it's a bad job but fits the letter of the regulations so there's not much can be done, except DIY.

It didn't go entirely according to plan :_(. Until desperation set in with a weeping joint before my new stop cock (connected directly to the supply pipe) we couldn't get the supply valve turned off. Now the kitchen's drying out though and I should be able to put the floorboard back in place tomorrow.

All the fun meant I ran out of time to sort the plumbing in the cupboard, although I have an accessible ballofix to do it later (and dryer).
acsimpson
Posts: 213
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 11:33 pm


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