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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Problem with plumber & contractor

jbrumderFebruary 11, 2013

I'm having some issues with my contractor and their plumber, and would love some advice on how to handle it!

1) The valve was installed at a 15 degree angle off-square. (Originally it was crooked horizontally, and their solution was to rotate it so it is crooked vertically...)

2) The valve was installed way too close to the tub spout. I think it needs to be raised 8" or more.

3) The valve does not produce hot water. There is hot water in the other bathroom fixtures, however, so I know it is an installation issue.

4) The plumber splattered quite a bit of solder on the floor of the acrylic tub (the most eggregious spot is pictured).

I hate conflict and am agonizing over how to have these issues resolved, while maintaining a pleasant relationship with my builder. I have brought this to her attention, and she said it was all "standard."

Thank you for looking, and for any suggestions! ;)
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I'm not an expert but, like you, I am building a house. My contractor would never stand for such a shoddy, nonfunctioning tub. I really understand not liking conflict but you must insist that the contractor fix it. How can you purchase a house that has a tub with no hot water? Good luck!
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 6:20PM
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The buck stops with the contractor. The plumber is his hire, not yours. You want it fixed and you hold the checkbook. There is no negotiating here. That's disgraceful.
3 Likes    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 6:29PM
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Judyg is correct! You are paying the contractor, right? My contractor subs out certain parts of the job and will ask me to pay certain subs directly but that is the rare exception. The contractor has ALL the leverage if he is paying the subs which is why you shouldn't pay them directly and why the general adds so much value. M
4 Likes    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 6:32PM
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Why is there solder in the tub anyway?! The rough in plumbing stage should have happened before the tub was installed in the bathroom.
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 6:34PM
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Ironwood Builders
it is disgraceful. No doubt about it. The valve is set too low, should be about thigh high, no lower. The scar from the solder on the acrylic is repairable..at no cost to you...but the valve and the tile and the plumbing behind the wall need to paid for by your builder. I build, I take the time to talk to the plumber about valve and fixture location on every single fixture on every single job. Still stuff goes wrong, like the toilet angle stop that was in the middle of the top edge of the baseboard...on only one bath out of four. My plumber and my crew fixed it. No charge....heck the homeowner didn't know until I told them. Take my comments to your builder....please. The workmanship is unacceptable. BTW, I was tasked by a homeowner to fix the fact that the plumber, whom she hired, not me, had run hot water to the toilet. I proposed a fix...and a cost...last I ever heard of the problem. No hot water to a tub/shower is a different kettle of fish.
6 Likes    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 6:41PM
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Go Ironwood! Woot!!!
1 Like    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 6:42PM
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Baker + Hesseldenz Design, Inc.
Standard?! What the heck...that's crazy. I'm with Ironwood. Conflict is always difficult, but from the pictures a little conflict in probably warranted. The valve should be straight (it could remain where it is even though it is a little low). And the tub should be perfect when you move in. They need to fix things, and if that means tearing out the tile to replace the tub and to straighten the valve then so be it. If they won't do it, withhold a few thousand dollars at the end and get someone else to do it.
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 7:07PM
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Thank you for your affirmation, guys! It seems ridiculous to me that she is simply saying, "Tough luck: it's too expensive to fix"... I'm very sorry if she loses a cent toward her profit, as I respect how tough her job is, but ultimately her mismanagement is not my problem. @Ironwood, are you anywhere close to Austin? I need someone like you!!
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 7:08PM
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Apartment 46 for the Home
I'm with Ironwood and everyone else. Holy heck I'm ALL over my sub-contractors and I'm a designer! It's YOUR MONEY. Keep saying that over and over again. You worked hard for it, so should they. I would definitely print out the pictures with a letter that states in bullet points what you need fixed and what shoddy bs has occurred and flatly tell her/him/them, "This is not acceptable to me. I need to have this fixed or I will need to hire someone to mediate on behalf." It seems extreme but this is your house and their attitude is so unbelievably outrageous to me.
3 Likes    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 7:25PM
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I had a terrible experience with an interior designer in 2004. We bought a new house and decided to get a reputable designer. We paid her$2,500 retainer. This lady produced next to nothing (seriously she suggested mauve curtains with plastic flowers sewn in). It was a nightmare and I had 1 baby and another 1 on the way, working full time in supply chain management. I simply didn't have bandwidth to deal with this. After talking to my father, he convinced me to just "eat" the $2,500. It was a terrible pill to swallow but he was right. It was so stressful and suing her would have made my life horrible. i might have even lost my job trying to deal with her, So, I just want to say, sometimes it's better to just pay someone else to fix the problem. It depends on how much time, energy and emotional units you want to invest. You have to evaluate that. It does need to be repaired and someone should be held accountable and do the right thing, but if they don't, just get it repaired. I'm hoping your person will just do the right thing. Meanwhile, be sure you review them on yelp, google, or wherever you can so that others learn from your mistake.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 7:35PM
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Apartment 46 for the Home
OMG that's terrible for me to hear! Review the bad interior designer too!!
1 Like    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 7:37PM
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Hue Color & Interiors
Stick with Judyg and Ironwood, hold that checkbook- there is nothing standard about this shoddy work!!
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 7:44PM
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Oh, man! That is awful, calikym. :( You make an excellent point.

Many thanks to all of you for responding!! I feel so much more confident about insisting it be fixed, now!
1 Like    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 7:56PM
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Do you know anyone else who has used this same builder? If so then contact them to see how they resolved thier issues. If the builder feels this is "standard" then I can only assume that "the job done correctly" would be an upgrade. Go to your county courthouse and see if there are any judgments or liens against your builder and plumber, that might give you a clue as to how the outcome of fixing the problem is going to go...then you can decide if you want to persue the current builder/plumber or just hire someone to come in and fix it correctly. If a builder doesn't pay his subs chances are he's going to have trouble finding good subs....and ends up with half a$$ subs that don't have a clue what they are doing. I wouldn't want the same sub to fix it anyways based on what's happened already.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 3:38AM
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Norm Walters Construction Inc.
Sounds like a case of finding the cheapest subcontractors rather than the best. I have been using the same subcontractors for years, no problems. This economy does push contractors to cut costs where possible to compete, although I refuse to compromise.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 4:13AM
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@ncblueii, Excellent suggestion. I will look into that today. I chose this contractor based on the beautiful outcome of their several other renovations in my historic neighborhood... Now I wish I had been more persistent about checking their references after my first attempt! Live and learn, eh?

I have been seeing a pattern with them. I've been feeling paranoid about how the work has become progressively sloppier, until a few minutes ago when the (extremely sweet and friendly) painter let it slip the the contractor told him not to worry about covering his shoes on my freshly laid, unsealed travertine floors! It's very muddy today, and he voluteered to get boot covers at Home Depot when he saw me covering the floors with cardboard... Now I'm not feeling paranoid, just incredibly turned off.
    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 6:46AM
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Maybe you should show your contractor this thread? Kind of hard to disagree with the masses.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 7:16AM
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