What Can Happen to the Unsuspecting?

The first two photos are an example of DIY (Do it yourself) with what is known as "compression fittings" inside a wall at each change of direction.

Compression fittings are a system of joining copper pipe work together that relies on the satisfactory tightening of service nuts to ensure a reliable union between the pipe and the fitting.

It goes against plumbing regulations to have fittings of this type within a wall, but they are readily available at hardware stores and often used by non-qualified people (that includes the handyman and handywoman) because they are easy to install.

We became aware of these fittings within the wall because we had to disconnect the laundry tub they were servicing and the pipe work was loose,  floppy and moving from within the wall when we were handling it.

This type of thing is one of the fears for qualified tradesmen, because if we are the last to touch such substandard work without realising the issues hidden in walls, we are often the first to be blamed when something goes wrong.

The sad part is, quite often it’s the hardware stores promoting the sale of such fittings to non-qualified people, telling them. “It’s easy, you don’t need a plumber, you can do it yourself.

You can be very sure the hardware stores will deny this, and you can be doubly sure they are nowhere to be seen when something goes wrong and there is a liability issue.  

Insurance claim will be refused if non licensed people have performing regulated works.

The tragedy of such advice is, as was the case in this instance, the non-compliant plumbing / renovation work performed by the non-qualified person was being done to ready the house for sale. This means the new owner unwittingly takes on ownership of the shoddy workmanship and runs the risk of any short comings performed by people not qualified or remotely competent.

Whoever installed these compression fittings has no idea as to how they work.  “White Teflon tape has been used on the fittings when there is no need for it”.

The fact the pipework was so loose, floppy and moving within the wall just confirms this was a recipe for disaster.

This new owner was very lucky he had decided to perform a small alteration to the laundry prior to moving in, which highlighted the problem and allowed for its correction.

The last photo shows the same area after we performed the correct alterations and made the install reliable.

People should be asking questions and 
most importantly, requesting evidence of renovated work having been performed by qualified tradesmen
when they are looking to purchase an older home that has been renovated or had alterations done.

It amazes me that people will be so careful when asking questions about a second hand car they want to buy, but ask very little to no questions or neglect to seek any evidence of the professional integrity of renovated works when buying a home worth several hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Over the years we have seen some really scary results for the unwitting buyer who simply takes it for granted that everyone who renovates has a conscience.

by Tony

August 2015