Central Heating Poor Installation

25 Dec 2014
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United Kingdom
My girlfriend has just had central heating installed. Her flat has hard flooring and ceiling so the initial plan was to chase out pipework through the floor.

The plumber then suggested plastic trunking as cheaper and neater than chasing out. The finished product however is far from neat (See pictures for some highlights).

Does anyone know a) if trunking over pipes can be done well and b) where we stand in terms of getting the work corrected and paying for it?


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I guess it comes down to how much she paid and whether he explained it fully before starting the job.

If it was the cheapest quote from the cheapest plumber doing it in the cheapest way, and he explained it fully then you've got too expect it to be crap.

As soon as I read trunking and central heating pipes I knew it would be horrendous.

If it was presented as being of a similar quality finish to chasing the pipes out then you may have some come back, but tbh by the standard of the work he looks like a cowboy and your chances of getting it corrected or money back are slim to none.
If she's paid up then she's accepted the work as being to a standard she's happy with. If she hasn't, call the installer back and have him correct the work, it does look pretty awful. It can be done nicely, but it takes time and effort
Talon do a proper range, but it isn't universally stocked and will never be as need as hidden pipe work.

Those pictures look like he started off with the right intention but got bored/over budget /let down by supplier/was working beyond his skill set.
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I would rather see the bare pipes I think. At least they can be painted to blend in a little more. IMO trunking always looks carp whether it's for electrics or plumbing. Concrete floors and ceilings are a pain in the a*** though.

If he quoted to bury the pipes then that's what he should have done but if she agreed to the trunking then she will have to live with it I'm afraid.

I can see that you might be able to get some straight pipes inside some trunking but anyone with a bit of knowledge should know that it would be difficult to hide bends inside it. The trunking should at least be right in the corner of the wall so that it can be painted and appear less obvious.

Maybe as an alternative 'boxing in' could be used, particularly behind the rad where the boxing could extend to the whole width of the wall.
Thanks for all the responses. It has not been paid for and the plumber will be asked to either tidy up the job or remove the trunking completely (Although I'm not sure how we'd verify he didn't charge for it...).

I also agree that painted pipes would be better, the only snag being the exposed plastic wall clips, although I believe vintage-looking metal ones are available.
Well done for not paying at least, I think you have a genuine case for withholding your money until the contract is properly fulfilled, IE the trunking is tidied up. You don't have a case for asking for it to be removed and not charged for though - it was requested in the original contract and as such you are bound to pay for it. Your contract is for trunking to be installed in a neat manner, and that is what you are entitled to, so your installer should be made to improve the installation of the trunking. Requesting a variation at this stage would be chargeable at extra cost - you'd have to pay for the trunking supplied, for the time spent removing it, and for any tidying up of pipework that you wanted doing once the trunking was removed.

Metal pipe clips are available but are about five times the price of plastic ones and also take longer to fit (you need three or four screws instead of one) so they wouldn't have been allowed for. Again, if you decide that you'd prefer this option you should expect to be charged extra for supplying and fitting

I disagree with any of the 'well done for not paying' comments.

If you purchase something off eBay that you want but can't see it, you pay up front and if it's not what you want because its 'not as described' then you have to request a return but only of its faulty or not as described etc.

Coming on a forum after a job has been done and posting '1 side of the events/story' is poor show.

At least put up how much the guy charged, his written estimate ETC. how many other estimates did you get and then we can make a judgement on 'if it is truely poor workmanship' or....if it is simply a case "you pays your money.....you makes your choice".

Personally, it looks gash. I would simply pull off the trunking on a section, paint the pipe work and see how it looks.

The amount of times I've had customers expecting X when they're going to be getting Y is many many times. And I know I go out of my way to explain the situation and have it in writing too.
I believe my girlfriend obtained 2 or 3 quotes, of which I don't think this guy was the cheapest. He is a busy local plumber who is regularly used by family and friends.

His quote was based on chasing out the pipework, but when he arrived he proposed using trunking instead, as a quicker and neater alternative. I understand his mate had suggested going down this route (Which sounds like he has not worked with these materials before).

I personally would not have accepted trunking but my girlfriend took him at his word. I also do not believe a revised price was agreed at this point, which again I would not be happy with.

The boiler, pipework and radiators have been installed well. The issue is with the blatantly poor finish to the trunking, which could clearly have been done better. I agree with Dan_Robinson in that it looks like he was working beyond his skillset and possibly ran out of time/materials.
I have already said that I don't like trunking but the problem with this is that has just been done so badly. He could have at least used proper couplings. It seems as though he is not particularly good with a junior hacksaw or measurements.
Thanks for all the responses. It has not been paid for and the plumber will be asked to either tidy up the job or remove the trunking completely (Although I'm not sure how we'd verify he didn't charge for it...).

This is amazing!

You discussed how to fit the pipework and agreed on trunking.

Now you think that he should undo all his trunking and not be paid for it when it is what you instructed him to do.

It does need a little finishing off in places but that's all it needs.

If you don't like it then you still have to pay for it.

Then to pay for it to be removed if you have subsequently decided its not what you like.

I always like bare pipes painted to match the background. Its only customers who like things boxed in at extra cost!

Yes you can't make a silk purse with a pigs ear.

Should have had the plumber in at the beginning to mark out the pipe run on the floor.
Then a floor specialist in to lift the wood flooring.
Then a chasing specialist to do pipe channels.
Yes, that would have been good but an extra £1000 on the cost!

Chasing walls is also expensive too.

Bare pipes painted to maych the background is the cheapest and in my opinion the best to look at.

In reality they blend in with the wall colour and are virtually invisible.


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