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A**hole Builder - Adapted Bathroom

  • 14-12-2021 8:02pm
    Registered Users Posts: 18 Quoideneuf

    Apologies in advance - this goes on a bit, but I'm livid!!! I'm currently having a bathroom in my home adapted for my father and my a**hole builder is not doing anything that I ask him to!!!

    The first red flag came on day one, when I asked whether or not I should go ahead and order the shower, toilet, etc. for the bathroom, so everything would be there for when it needed to be fitted. He said "oh, the plumber has ordered that already. It all comes in a pack." I was aghast at this and said, "but I thought I'd have some input" and he said "there's all the rails, a shower and a standard high toilet for a wheelchair. It all comes together in a pack". I had wanted a particular shower and different bits, but I was now faced with having whatever bog standard one that was ordered that came "in a pack". He had discussed none of this with me, nor had he checked what my father's individual needs were. It so happens that there is no need for any rails, as my father will be in a wheelchair, as he has now lost his mobility and he needs a low level toilet so that a shower/commode chair of a specific height fits over it.

    When I checked what had been done later on that first day, after he'd gone home, I was horrified to see that he had instructed the plumber to place the pipes for the sink on the wrong wall and to place the pipes for the toilet very close to the sink. When I called him to tell him this, he said that I had told him to put the sink on that wall!! Well I know I didn't!! However I'll take that one on the chin, as I assumed that he knew what I meant when I pointed to the position I wanted it in and I had wrongly assumed that if he wasn't sure, he would've asked me.

    Regarding the positioning of the toilet, the front of the sink was facing the side of the toilet with very little space in between the two for a wheelchair. When I said this, he said that the plumber knew what he was doing in a clipped tone and that there was definitely enough space. When I hung up, I was beside myself. My father is quite a large man and his chair is also large to accommodate his size. It just looked like a tiny space. Luckily, the Occupational Therapist was coming to the house the next day anyway regarding a different matter, so, I mentioned the situation with the bathroom to her. She was was able to confirm, on inspecting the bathroom, that the specific shower/commode chair wouldn't fit in between the sink and toilet and that the toilet would need to be moved further away (there was loads of room to do this!!!).

    The builders happened to arrive without the contractor himself when she was still there and so, they called him for her to chat to him. When she spoke first, she mentioned the maximum toilet height needed and I think he thought it was me he was speaking to, because, he started to mansplain that it was a special high toilet for a wheelchair that was already ordered. She explained that she was the OT and that it couldn't be a standard wheelchair toilet, as it had to be a low level toilet for a special shower/commode chair. She gave the exact specs of everything that was needed to the contractor. She also asked for the toilet to be moved, as the wheelchair wouldn't fit in front of it and they had no choice but to oblige, whilst probably privately cursing us all in private. I was so thankful to the OT and thanked her profusely for her help, as she had all the correct measurements and was able to get around his mansplaining far better than I would've managed to. Flushed with relief I thought that was that. But now my heckles were raised to not trust him and by God, I was right.

    We have a small shower room above the main downstairs bathroom that is currently being adapted. The shower above has always leaked through the ceiling on and off for years, to the point where we've had to stop using it. It is our intention to gut that bathroom and redecorate it eventually, but at a later stage. The contractor was asked to install a suspended PVC ceiling in the downstairs bathroom, so that in the likely event that any issues ever again arose with the upstairs shower after the remodel, we could at least access the pipes above more easily, without tearing down the whole ceiling again, as has happened several times over the years, with no real resolution.

    When the lower bathroom ceiling was taken down, the main gable wall beam was found to be rotten, black and had chunks missing and from all the leaking over the years. Unfortunately, the (still in use) upstairs toilet was also found to be leaking. He said he'd investigate the toilet leak and I asked if he would remove the rotten beam. He said that he would remove it. But, he went ahead and put up the PVC ceiling, without mending the leaking toilet (it's still leaking - he said he just couldn't find the leak), but nailed the PVC directly onto the rafters above using nails at the sides instead of the usual slots, without suspending it. When he'd left for the day, because the ceiling was so roughly put up with nails and chipped away at the edges, I was able to put a knife up to check if the rotten beam was still in situ - it was. Moreover, I was able to easily chip into it with the knife and crumble the broken-off pieces between my fingers to dust. This was despite him agreeing to take it down. I have yet to mention this to him. The tiler has been in since and he has done a terrific job. I'm very happy with his work, but I'm now left with a ceiling that is warped in the centre and chipped at the edges, which is all the more evident given the lovely straight tiling job.

    I also wanted a new window initially, but he refused to put one in, stating that there was nothing wrong with the one that was there. Well, it doesn't open, is nailed shut and it's so ugly now with the shiny new tiles against it that I'm not sure even a lick of paint will improve it, but that is what I'll have to do, now that it's tiled.

    The icing on the cake came today. He rang and said that the plumber was coming tomorrow morning and he asked if I had ordered the shower I wanted (he said I could order that myself when I said that I wanted a specific one). I confirmed that I had the shower and I happened to ask again about the toilet, as he'd come to me last week and said he'd had trouble sourcing a low-level toilet. I couldn't believe it when he again said that the plumber was bringing a special wheelchair toilet, taller than specified (sounds much like the one he'd originally ordered... perhaps the same one?!?!). I said that this cannot be, as my father's chair can't be above the specified height, or it will not fit over it and so, it will be pointless putting the higher one in. He said in a very clipped tone "well it can't be sourced and it's ordered now and the plumber will be there in the morning. He brushed me off by be again asking about the shower and that was that. I was and am still livid!!! I mean, what the actual f*ck?!?! The OT gave the exact specs for the toilet to him over two weeks ago!!! I've been ranting and raving to anyone who will listen ever since. I called a local builder's merchant to check if they could source this type of low-level toilet with a separate cistern and they confirmed that he they could. What a farce from the offset!!! He's supposedly a friend of a family member, so that makes it all the worse!! I don't really know him on a personal level, but had I known his personality before I hired him, I'd never have ever hired him!!! Never again!!!

    I have a fair idea how I'm going to handle this, but my question is, if you were me, what would you do?!?!


  • Registered Users Posts: 18 Quoideneuf

    Thanks - I fully intend to not let him install it. The effin cheek!!! I've also left a message with the OT to doubly confirm things, even though I've already confirmed it and am sure. We shall see what happens...

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,289 ✭✭✭✭ Leg End Reject

    If it were me I wouldn't let him in the door tbh.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,403 ✭✭✭ cj maxx

    Ring the plumber and tell him to pay no attention whosoever to the builder and to take instruction from you and the OT. Hold back any money until the OT is happy.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18 Quoideneuf

    Thanks - I don't even have the plumber's name, never mind his number - I'll just have to say to him when I open the door to him in the morning. That should be great fun!!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 9,403 ✭✭✭ cj maxx

    Tell the OT lambasted you when they saw the plan. It'll take the heat of you.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18 Quoideneuf

    Will do. I mean, there's no logic to what he's at!! He's only making me very sure never to hire him again and to tell everyone that will listen about the sh1tty experience I've had with him.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,380 ✭✭✭ tphase

    try to find another builder who knows what he's doing, this guy will never get it right. You're probably under pressure to get this job done but you and your dad will have to live with the shoddy workmanship of this assh0le for a long time.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,294 ✭✭✭ the_pen_turner

    1. what was the spec you gave him.
    2. what does his quote spec
    3. leave out the mansplaining crap , that just makes you look bad. keep your self profetional and keep your high ground.. he is just an asshole
    4. meet him at the door and make it very clear that he is on last warning that the work to the ceiling needs to be done properly. rotting beams need fixing and the leak has to be found by what ever means neccisery (even changing the toilet and fittings etc)
    5. fire him if he doesnt agree to fix it

    the toilet issue depends on the original spec and quote whether its a change to the contract or not but either way that only comes down to money and not whether the toilet goes in or not.

    preumably he is paying the plumber so remind him that he can fit it all he likes but if it was quoted for a diferent toilet then he will be changing it at his cost

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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,033 ✭✭✭ Ray Palmer

    Is this a council paid job as opposed to a private payment?

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,504 ✭✭✭ Outkast_IRE

    If the council or another public body is contributing to the works then they have their hands tied in some regards.

    1. The sanitary ware must be a Doc M pack. However there are different versions of Doc M compliant sanitary ware available but if a grant is being administered their hands may be tied to get the standard one. However a good builder may allow you to cover the uplift cost to one of the other versions.
    2. The space requirements for a Doc M compliant WC bathroom are documented and available. Usually the manufacturer supplies these with the pack and are available online, But there are restrictions on where Sanitary ware can go in relation to one another.
    3. With regards to the other issues such as the rotten beam, the window, the ceiling etc. If they are working on the basis of a grant from the council or similar they arent really allowed to increase the scope of the work. They could do so with agreement of payment from yourself, but by the sounds of it i doubt you want this crowd to do the additional works anyway. You may be better off getting someone else in to resolve the other issues.

  • Registered Users Posts: 21,757 ✭✭✭✭ ted1

    sounds like you never sat down and gave a brief at the start, that should have all been agreed in writing before hand. along with a drawing

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,294 ✭✭✭ the_pen_turner

    how did you get on today

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,135 ✭✭✭ corks finest

    That’s great advice I got a grant to do similar to my bathroom earlier this year

    AMS were the main ppl involved who brought a gang of imbeciles up from Kerry to do the plumbing/ electrical work

    celtic something or other- destroyed my wooden floor- bathroom wall in parts - I got the the Cluid housing officer involved who put manners on them- I was offered compensation but just wanted them out ASAP -

    I ended up repainting H Stairs and landing ,Floor- lesson learned i trusted them and was let down

    PS tiling wasn’t great either

    sort for the original posters woes

  • Registered Users Posts: 21,864 ✭✭✭✭ mickdw

    Call a halt. Send plumber away.

    If directly council funded, bring out their inspector and have written confirmation from OT of requirements and demonstrate to council that this is not being complied with.

    If funding this yourself, I just pray that you are the right side of this cowboy money wise.

    If you are, let him do the running to get back in.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18 Quoideneuf


    Thanks for all comments and suggestions. I've not been on this forum for the last little while, as my father had been in hospital and just got out last week We are still adjusting to him having lost his mobility, having carers come in and having new conditions to treat.

    Regarding the plumber, it all worked out in the end. The OT called right before he arrived and advised to let the toilet be installed, that she would order risers for the chair and she would hope that it would fit over the toilet. There is a commode on the chair and it would mainly be while he was using the shower that he would need the toilet, as the collection container wouldn't be attached during the shower. The commode would be used the other 90% of the time. So crisis averted, we hope. 

    The bathroom is more or less finished now and it's mostly (apart from the window, which I will paint in the near future) looking fabulous, as they were able to trim the ceiling to neaten the wonky edges and I love the tiles!! There is one remaining snag with the shower, but we think it could be a faulty unit, so we will hopefully get that sorted in the new year.

    Regarding the beam or any extra work to be done, e.g. the window, I know that these repairs wouldn't come under the original quote and of course would cost extra - I'm not expecting anything for free, just consultation before action (I've learned that this is most important to me through all of this!!) and if something was agreed before the job commenced, that this would be carried out. We had discussed the possibility of the beam or beams being rotten before the quotation was given and before the ceiling came down, the need for a suspended ceiling, given the history of the leaking shower above and the possible resulting extra costs way before any works commenced. In fact, I originally asked for another separate piece of work in a different room in the house to be done by this builder before the bathroom was mentioned at all and I'm still waiting for it to be looked at. I'm truly glad that it hasn't been done now, given what has happened on the bathroom job. Dodged a bullet there, I reckon.

    Regarding the overall situation, in hindsight, I've been guilty of being most naive and trusting regarding my interactions with the builder and I'll definitely do things differently when getting any work done in the future. For example, getting any agreed works to be clearly defined in writing before the job commences, as advised above, is great advice. I'm still learning. I'm just glad it's almost over and we can now look to the future and get on with the business of actually caring for dad, without the additional stress and anxiety that we've been experiencing these past few weeks.

    Thanks again everyone. It's been really helpful to hear different perspectives and to learn what to do and what not to do next time. I also realise that I'm lucky and that it could be a lot worse - especially when I hear about experiences like corks finest's above - how awful! Hopefully, others going through the same or similar experience will also be able to take the good advice given here in the future and not make the same mistakes that I did. Happy Christmas!!