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Journal of nicholas (3034)

Saturday October 30, 2004
02:26 PM

the ongoing shower farce

[ #21606 ]

I live in a rented house shared with 3 other people. One guy lives in the top floor room which has an en-suite bathroom; the rest of us share a bathroom with a shower and bath. In mid August we noticed that if anyone had a particularly long shower a drip would start into the kitchen, so we reported the problem to the management agency.

Quite resonably they started with their usual approach of attempting the cheapest possible solution to the problem - they sent a plumber round who re-sealed the edge of the shower tray, hoping that this would solve the leak. Unfortunately it did not, as we discovered when the drip returned about a week later during a long shower. So they sent the plumber round again. Here starteth the farce...

The plumber reported back that if re-sealing had failed, then the existing shower was past it, and would have to be replaced. More over, the kitchen ceiling was looking decidedly shakey - we must not use the shower again, as any further leaking might cause the kitchen ceiling to collapse (on to the cooker) which would not be good. Because replacing the shower was a big job, the management agents needed to get a set of alternative quotes, and then contact the landlady (who is out in the middle east somewhere) to get approval. So we were stuck with just a bath.

After about a week they still only had one quote, from the original plumber. It seems to me that plumbers are much keener to come out and fix things that they get paid for, and do this in preference to going out to give quotes for work that may never materialise. There was also another issue with the house (now resolved) which I had been chasing with them, and the agency weren't exactly keen to talk to me. So one of the others took over.

Still we heard nothing

About 3 weeks ago they rang me up at work (while I was upside down under my new desk adjusting the height - how did they know?) to say that a quote had been approved and work would be starting the next week and take a week (if we were happy, which we were). Finally!

So on Monday the plumber came, the original plumber, and ripped out the tiling and the old shower tray. I noticed that the old shower head and controls remained. Also, removing the shower tray revealed that the floorboards below were not in a great state - 1 was missing, 1 broken, and 2 waterstained. All the rubish was neatly bagged up, and the bathrooom left very tidy. I had a bath that night, and the work site didn't get in the way at all. So far, so good.

On Tuesday a large sheet of plywood arrived, about the same size as the shower enclosure. Presuambly this was to go over the floorboards. No other work appeared to be done, but the bathroom was still tidy and usable, so all seemed good.

On Wednesday 4 pieces of 6x1 timber and once piece of 2x4 arrived. Nothing else seemed to change. Tidy, which is good, but little progress, which is not.

On Thursday the timber was moved into the area of the shower. Is someone involved in creative timesheeting here?

On Friday, there was a lot of ringing of the doorbell (while I was in the bath), and a new shower tray was delivered, accepted by a housemate, and left downstairs. When I came back in the evening, it was moved upstairs to outside the bathroom. This was the visible extent of work that day. The delivery note on the tray said that it was to be delivered on the 19th, which was Tuesday. Maybe it being 3 days late is causing the work to be 3 days late.

We have now reached the end of week 1 of 1.

On Monday, the piece of plywood was shaped to fit, and placed in the bottom of the shower area. The remains of the tile fixings were cleaned off and new plaster applied in places. This seemed like the first reasonable amount of work done since the first Monday, and even this would not take an entire day

On Tuesday the plaster dried. Apparently the plumber came, but it's unclear what he did.

On Wednesday the plater dried further.

On Thursday somebody popped round to look at the kitchen ceiling. We then got an update from the agency. To quote my housemate who took the call The floorboards under the shower need replacing as well, and they want to claim this on the insurance. There's supposed be be a lose adjuster from the the insurance company comping around tomorrow morning to give things the once over. Apparently they're going to claim for the floor boards, kitchen ceiling, and the wall outside the front bedroom room. (Although I mentioned that my shower still leaks from time to time). I did mention to Jo [the agent] that it was nice to get an update, since we were curious as to what the delay was. Jo seem to imply/hope that they'd get approval tomorrow, and then continue next week. Note that they've had the floorboards visible since the previous Monday, yet it's taken them this long to work it out.

On Friday Jo accompanied someone to the house, presumably the loss adjuster.

We are now at the end of week 2 of 1, with the work still not finished. We've also been without a shower for 2 months now. There's even a degree of "told you so", in that I certainly thought that the floorboards may be bad when first reporting the problem, although I'm not sure if I said it outloud. It starting to feel like moving out would have been easier, but you don't know that when you start all this. Certainly, I'm not renewing the tenancy, nor will I rent from these agents again. I await act 3 of the farce. I hope that it's the final act.

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  • I'm an avid "This Old House" watcher and they've added a show called "Ask This Old House" where they do routine repairs. Anyway, I seem to remember a show where Rich Trethewey, the plumber, went out on a similar house call. He checked all the normal drain things, but the leak remained. It turned out it was in the shower valve, not the drain at all.

    This didn't make sense since it only occurred when people were showering. Why wouldn't it leak all the time if it was in the input lines? He had some explanati
  • restoration of an authentic British shower complete with leaks and brown water stains on the ceiling and walls since such things are standard equipment in every home. You probably shouldn't enjoy your morning repast underneath that thing while someone is taking a shower.