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BS: British workmen are crap

nutty 18 Feb 05 - 01:51 PM
kendall 18 Feb 05 - 01:56 PM
Cobble 18 Feb 05 - 01:59 PM
gnu 18 Feb 05 - 02:24 PM
nutty 18 Feb 05 - 02:45 PM
Liz the Squeak 18 Feb 05 - 04:15 PM
Bunnahabhain 18 Feb 05 - 04:58 PM
jacqui.c 18 Feb 05 - 05:17 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Feb 05 - 05:37 PM
Richard Bridge 18 Feb 05 - 10:33 PM
Bert 18 Feb 05 - 11:02 PM
nutty 19 Feb 05 - 02:26 AM
Terry K 19 Feb 05 - 03:50 AM
GUEST 19 Feb 05 - 04:30 AM
Terry K 19 Feb 05 - 05:00 AM
Blissfully Ignorant 19 Feb 05 - 07:39 AM
Bee-dubya-ell 19 Feb 05 - 08:14 AM
Bert 19 Feb 05 - 02:57 PM
Richard Bridge 19 Feb 05 - 06:38 PM
nutty 19 Feb 05 - 07:33 PM
Bert 20 Feb 05 - 01:10 AM
Strollin' Johnny 20 Feb 05 - 04:43 AM
Liz the Squeak 20 Feb 05 - 05:40 AM
Bert 20 Feb 05 - 02:30 PM
nutty 20 Feb 05 - 03:39 PM
Bert 20 Feb 05 - 03:46 PM
dianavan 20 Feb 05 - 08:18 PM
GUEST 20 Feb 05 - 10:49 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 20 Feb 05 - 10:59 PM
Paco Rabanne 21 Feb 05 - 03:56 AM
Gervase 21 Feb 05 - 04:35 AM
GUEST,Partridge 21 Feb 05 - 05:24 AM
Dave the Gnome 21 Feb 05 - 05:56 AM
GUEST,The Beast of Farlington 21 Feb 05 - 06:16 AM
harpmaker 21 Feb 05 - 11:58 AM
robomatic 21 Feb 05 - 03:36 PM
GUEST,British business owner 21 Feb 05 - 04:55 PM
Micca 21 Feb 05 - 05:21 PM
nutty 22 Feb 05 - 01:35 PM
GUEST,Michael Flanders (RIP) 22 Feb 05 - 01:41 PM
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Subject: BS: British workmen are crap
From: nutty
Date: 18 Feb 05 - 01:51 PM

I can't be the only one who is suffering at the hands of the appalling standards of British workmanship. If I am then I must be incredibly unlucky.

My first gripe is about the perimeter wall around my garden which was damaged during the January gales. In order to claim for the repair on my insurance I need to submit 2 estimates. To date having contacted 6 building firms only two have come to look at the job and no-one has, as yet, submitted an estimate. What do I do??????

This week , I have had a new central heating boiler fitted. The plumber came highly recommended and although a bit on the expensive side I was assured by neighbours that he was the best.
He finished the job on Wednesday ...... yesterday I had to call him back as I had no hot water ........ the gas pressure was too low .... the gas board had to come out and fit a new governor to the meter ... Isn't that something the plumber should have checked before he left?????

Today, I found out why the radiator thermostats weren't working. The hot water is flowing into the radiators from the wrong end. The system is connected back to front. Isn't that something the plumber should have checked before he left????????

But he has left and although I rang him today I will have to wait till next week to have things put right as he's gone away for the weekend.

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Blood pressure is far too high.

I'd have a nice hot bath except for the fact that the water pressure to the hot water is so low the bath takes an age to fill. Isn't that something he should have checked before he left????????

He's already delivered his bill. My only consolation in all this is that he will not see a penny of it until my system is running properly.

Thanks for listening folks ....I believe the blood pressure is a little lower now.


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Subject: RE: BS: British workmen are crap
From: kendall
Date: 18 Feb 05 - 01:56 PM

Atta boy! Hold his pay until he earns it.
In this country, if a business screws you, you have the right to go to the Better Business Bureau, and if that fails, you can go to the Consumer Fraud division of the Attorney General's office.
Shoddy workmen and shady companies don't like getting letters from the A.G. In extreme case, he/she can shut them down.
I keep telling you folks, what you need is a good revolution!


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Subject: RE: BS: British workmen are crap
From: Cobble
Date: 18 Feb 05 - 01:59 PM

The gas board had to come out and fit a new governor to the meter ... Isn't that something the plumber should have checked before he left?????

No he's a plumber not a gas fitter.

             Cheers Cobble


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Subject: RE: BS: British workmen are crap
From: gnu
Date: 18 Feb 05 - 02:24 PM

Hold every dime, too. Many will ask for some of the money because, "There's only a little work left to do." My answer to that is, "So it won't take you very long to get your money. And the sooner you get to work, the sooner I'll pay you." Always remember, money talks, bullshit walks.


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Subject: RE: BS: British workmen are crap
From: nutty
Date: 18 Feb 05 - 02:45 PM

Yes cobble but my point was that as someone who fits these boilers for a living, he should have checked if the gas pressure was sufficient for the system or at least checked to see if the hot water was working.

I was the one who told him that it wasn't.


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Subject: RE: BS: British workmen are crap
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 18 Feb 05 - 04:15 PM

Don't hold your breath, we're still waiting for our kitchen fitter to come back and seal in the counter top..... 7 years we've been waiting!

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: British workmen are crap
From: Bunnahabhain
Date: 18 Feb 05 - 04:58 PM

Pope is a Catholic.

Camilla does look like a horse.

Elvis is dead!

A few other surprises, for those who hadn't realised the thread title was true....


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Subject: RE: BS: British workmen are crap
From: jacqui.c
Date: 18 Feb 05 - 05:17 PM

Well, if you haven't paid him yet there's a strong chance that he will come back and do the work. It might be worth documenting the problems you have had and asking for a reduction in the bill for the inconvenience that he has put you to.

Re the wall, some insurance companies have a list of workmen who will undertake the work and bill the company direct - it may be worth checking that out. Were the companies that you approached aware that this was an insurance claim? Sometimes that will make the job more interesting to them, as they will be aware that the cash will definitely be there to pay for the work.


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Subject: RE: BS: British workmen are crap
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Feb 05 - 05:37 PM

You find good people through word of mouth, and you stick with them. They are there to be found, though. And word of mouth can tell youi who to avoid.

They had a TV programme about this business - I think it was called "Builders from Hell" or something like that. There was a bloke who used to sing with us in a pub who was feaured in this one week - the landlord taped the programme and showed it to the regulars when he wasn't around.

Two things struck me - one was how incredibly naive the punters in the filkm were, just asking to be fleeced. The other was what an extraordarily bad workman our colleague was. Mind he was a pretty good musician and singer, pity he couldn't have stuck to that.


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Subject: RE: BS: British workmen are crap
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Feb 05 - 10:33 PM

Plumber should be Corgi registered if he is doing (as he was) gas installation.


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Subject: RE: BS: British workmen are crap
From: Bert
Date: 18 Feb 05 - 11:02 PM

No and No.

All he should have done was to have checked to see if the new boiler fired up.

The gas pressure and the fitting of the radiators should only have been checked if you had asked him AND PAID HIM to do that.

It's not his job to check you whole system or your whole house unless that's what you ask him to do.

Case in point.

I installed a new water heater for a customer. Because he wanted a larger one I had to break into the chimney higher up. On doing this I discovered that the original installation was incorrect and that flue gasses were being piped into his house.

I pointed this out and asked him if I should fix it for him or did he want to do it hisself or get someone else to fix it.

He said go ahead and fix it. This required making up a speciallly designed flue section to bypass the problem area and direct the gasses up the chimney.

When he got the bill he complained that it was too high and that installing a water heater should not cost that much.

The fact that we had protected his family from carbon monoxide poisoning didn't cross his mind.

Also if we had just replaced the heater with one the same size we would never have seen the problem. Of course by your logic that would have been OUR fault.


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Subject: RE: BS: British workmen are crap
From: nutty
Date: 19 Feb 05 - 02:26 AM

Sorry Bert .... I can't agree with you in this case


Yes he was responsible for replacing the boiler   ...... but as the boiler was an integral part of the system I maintain he had the responsibility of making sure the system was working correctly ...... otherwise what was the point of having the boiler replaced.

There were 3 problems

1. no hot water (which is now fixed)

2.hot water entering the radiators from the wrong end - bypassing the thermostats

3. very poor water pressure on the bath taps ..... only a problem since the new boiler was fitted.

I maintain that the system should be at least as good as it was before the new boiler was fitted otherwise what was the point of paying him all that money to fit it.

Is it me thats going mad or the rest of the world??????


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Subject: RE: BS: British workmen are crap
From: Terry K
Date: 19 Feb 05 - 03:50 AM

I agree - any plumber worth his salt should make sure that the job he has done has the right result.

I've generally not had bad experiences, but am constantly frustrated at how disorganised British tradesmen are. It seems really hard to get anybody to respond to your call. Then when you do manage to pin someone down, you never know when, or even whether, he's going to turn up. How they manage to run a business without a diary I really don't know, but none of them seem to have one.

Any tradesmen out there want to respond?

cheers, Terry


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Subject: RE: BS: British workmen are crap
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Feb 05 - 04:30 AM

thats why most of them are UNION bosses in australia


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Subject: RE: BS: British workmen are crap
From: Terry K
Date: 19 Feb 05 - 05:00 AM

ain't that a fact! Though in defence of the other British countries, I seem to recall most were Scottish.

cheers, Terry


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Subject: RE: BS: British workmen are crap
From: Blissfully Ignorant
Date: 19 Feb 05 - 07:39 AM

Not all of them are. My boyfriend's not. He's lovely. *snif, sniff* :0)


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Subject: RE: BS: British workmen are crap
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 19 Feb 05 - 08:14 AM

Ah! So that's what happened to the fellows who used to put Sunbeams together! They're installing water heaters!


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Subject: RE: BS: British workmen are crap
From: Bert
Date: 19 Feb 05 - 02:57 PM

Hi Nutty.

There were 3 problems

1. no hot water (which is now fixed) - Now you said this was because the gas pressure was too low. No he wouldn't have checked that before he left. I certainly wouldn't have waited around for the water to heat up before leaving a job. That would add and hour or so to the cost of the job. It would be much cheaper for both of us for me to come back and fix it (at my cost of course, if I'd made a mistake).

2.hot water entering the radiators from the wrong end - bypassing the thermostats. - Now did HE connect the pipes up wrongly? He certainly should have checked that. Did that myself once, but checked it before I left the job. Had to put in a couple of hours unpaid overtime to fix it. It was a real pill 'cos I had to drain the tank and pump it out of the basement.


3. very poor water pressure on the bath taps ..... only a problem since the new boiler was fitted. - Strange problem that, not something that I would think could happen, unless of course it was related to problem 2.

Questions for you. Did he come back when you called him about the problems? Were any of the problems HIS fault? If so did he fix them?


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Subject: RE: BS: British workmen are crap
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 19 Feb 05 - 06:38 PM

Hi Bert.

Manometer test on gas pressure - about 10 minutes.


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Subject: RE: BS: British workmen are crap
From: nutty
Date: 19 Feb 05 - 07:33 PM

Bert ..... with a Combi boiler of this type , you dont wait for the water to heat up, you just turn on the tap and it happens in seconds.

And no ..... he hasn't yet been back to sort things out ......he's away for the weekend.


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Subject: RE: BS: British workmen are crap
From: Bert
Date: 20 Feb 05 - 01:10 AM

He should have been back the same day or early the next morning at least. If you are without hot water then you have every right to get someone else to fix the problem and back charge him for the cost involved. You should have made it very clear when you called about the problem that you would get someone else if he wasn't there in a timely manner. When we get a problem (problems happen to the best of us) we get someone there right away if it's our problem. If it's a problem somewhere else in the system that had nothing to do with our job then we tell them our rates for fixing it with overtime if necessary and let them decide.

He should also have enquired about what was wrong with the old boiler.

But if the boiler was being replaced because the old one was leaking, but was working otherwise, then he would have had no reason to suspect that there was anything wrong with the gas pressure.

If you start making tests that don't apply to the job in hand then the customer WILL refuse to pay for them.

You said ...you dont wait for the water to heat up, you just turn on the tap and it happens in seconds... Hmmm, and YOU didn't do that at the time, I bet you wish you could reach around and kick your own arse.

Another question for you. WHY did you replace the boiler?


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Subject: RE: BS: British workmen are crap
From: Strollin' Johnny
Date: 20 Feb 05 - 04:43 AM

Bert, I think the point is that the customer is not a plumber/heating installer, and therefore the tradesman shouldn't expect him to be. If I go into hospital for a heart bypass I don't then cut myself open again to check that the surgeon made all the connections properly, and a decent plumber (and I have one or two amongst my friends) would do the necessary testing, not expect the customer to have the technical expertise to do it himself.

It's called customer service. And I suspect that if the number of available plumbers exceeded the available work (instead of vice-versa as it seems to be nowadays) they'd be kissing the arses of their customers instead of taking a 'tough shit' attitude as some are won't to do. IMHO. :0)


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Subject: RE: BS: British workmen are crap
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 20 Feb 05 - 05:40 AM

I took delivery of a new bespoke sideboard yesterday; hand crafted, solid wood, beautifully finished, french polished and delivered and installed in less than 30 mins, less than 3 weeks after I gave the workman the specifications.

I love my sideboard and I'm rather fond of my father in law, who made it for us.

It's who you know, not necessarily what they know (or don't).

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: British workmen are crap
From: Bert
Date: 20 Feb 05 - 02:30 PM

Strollin' Johnny, there IS a lot of bad workmanship around, but in this case it is not necessarily the guy's fault.

Who decided that the boiler needed replacing and why?
Who defined the scope of the job?
Who connected to radiators incorrectly? Was it this guy or the one who first installed the system? and so on.

There are so many unknown factors that it's difficult to know who is to blame - So why automatically blame the plumber.


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Subject: RE: BS: British workmen are crap
From: nutty
Date: 20 Feb 05 - 03:39 PM

Bert .... The answer in all cases is that the plumber did.

He advised replacing the boiler, which was nearly 30 years old after the pump burnt out 3 times in less than 2 years.

He defined the scope of the job

He reconnected the system wrongly ..... the hot water always used to flow through the thermostats first.

He had sorted the boiler out in the past

He was a boiler specialist and Corgi registered

BUT he had just returned to work after an operation on his hand and (if I'm being generous) I would say that he was probably rushing to catch up on work and was not taking the care that he should.

We shall see what happens tomorrow ..... I'll let you know


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Subject: RE: BS: British workmen are crap
From: Bert
Date: 20 Feb 05 - 03:46 PM

Then you're right. His work was crap.


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Subject: RE: BS: British workmen are crap
From: dianavan
Date: 20 Feb 05 - 08:18 PM

Hmmm - I wanted the arm replaced on my gas fired boiler. No such luck, too old. The workman did a quick repair and replaced a broken porcelain plate and then (on his own) decided to top off the system according to how he thought the gages should be set. Wish he would have asked...

I had a renovation done earlier and the carpenter enclosed the overflow pipe. Needless to say, the plumber filled the system too full of water and it overflowed inside the walls. Had to rip out a huge section of drywall and re-route the overflow to the outside.

In both cases, the guys thought they were doing me a favour.

Neither of them asked me what to do when they encountered a problem. They just went ahead and did what they thought was best.

I seem to be encountering this problem alot with workmen. I always say, if you have any questions, give me a shout. They never do.

Is it because they are too proud to ask the 'lady of the house' what to do about a problem they have encountered? Is it because they want to be the one to 'save the day'? Is it because if they don't know, how could I possibly know?


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Subject: RE: BS: British workmen are crap
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Feb 05 - 10:49 PM

AGREED - Music, arts, masonry, craftsman ship in all the trades.

I would never hire NAY ANY - UKer.

Someone from the eastern block - they understand the value of their work. They will work piece rate and stick to it until the job is done and done well. (Not to mention they don't have any of the additional union garbage that inflates the cost. Afgannies are even better than any aprentice I have seen in the past two decades.)


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Subject: RE: BS: British workmen are crap
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 20 Feb 05 - 10:59 PM

Another grand thread illustrating WHY the English lost their kingdoms, the Titantic became an example of British hubris, and the MudCat slowly sinks into midland's-mediocrity.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: BS: British workmen are crap
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 21 Feb 05 - 03:56 AM

We had a couple of leaky radiators recently. We got a plumber in, and rather than do the job properly, he tipped some sort of coagulating sealant into the system. The upshot is that the radiators are clogged solid now, and the warm water won't circulate. Will he come back to sort it out? Will he f##k!! Yes, British wotrkmen are shite!


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Subject: RE: BS: British workmen are crap
From: Gervase
Date: 21 Feb 05 - 04:35 AM

And so are French, German, American and Australian workmen!
Every trade has its cowboys, for heaven's sake, and we all remember and bellyache (rightly) about a bad job. Most tradesmen, however, do a bloody good job. So good, in fact, that we don't get to hear about it.
As other people have said here, never employ anyone straight out of the yellow pages - always seek a recommendation. Ask around neighbours, friends and relatives and then employ someone. For smaller jobs, get them to inspect the job and give a written estimate and then only pay when all the work has been examined and tested by him and you. For larger jobs, agree payment schedules and, if necessary, have a penalty clause.
What really is shite about the UK is the system that makes it impossible to get quick redress for a shoddy job. A trade association with the ability to make a tradesman rectify a problem is what's needed - give the corgi teeth!


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Subject: RE: BS: British workmen are crap
From: GUEST,Partridge
Date: 21 Feb 05 - 05:24 AM

I'm still waiting for three of the plumbers I have called to get back to me. No central heating for over a month brrrrrrrrrr.

Pat

PS You have my sympathy Hazel


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Subject: RE: BS: British workmen are crap
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 21 Feb 05 - 05:56 AM

Mixed views I guess. Yes there are some bad 'uns. But there are some crackers as well. To name but one I would recommend anyone around Manchester to try Martin Hall. Singer, songwriter, multi-instramentalist and builder extrodinaire! Not the cheapest but certainly the best I have come across. If it is something he doesn't do he sub-contracts and the people he gets in for that have all been good as well:-) So, no, British workmen are not crap and to brand all of them the same because you have picked a couple of bad ones is very unfair!

As to 'checking things out' before people leave. I sometimes do hardware and software repairs (when I can't avoid it!) If I replace a stick of memory and the hard disk fails after I leave am I responsible? If I am asked to install Unix on a new server and it then will not run Ingress is that my problem? While I have every sympathy with Nutty and her predicament I would always recommend that the scope of work should be a possitive result rather than a specific job. If the plumber had agreed to 'get the cetral heating and water working properly' then yes, he must come back. If however his brief was to replace the boiler then surely he has competed his contractual obligation?

It's the same in a shop. If you ask your local DIY store for adhesive to stick wood to metal and what they sell you doesn't do the job you have every right to take it back as not fit for the purpose. If however you ask specificaly for a tube of evo stick and it doesn't work then you have no comeback.

Hopefuly your guy will come back, in which case will you retract your opening statement, Nutty? ;-)

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: British workmen are crap
From: GUEST,The Beast of Farlington
Date: 21 Feb 05 - 06:16 AM

You have my sympathies on your experience - I have suffered at the hands of crap workmen.

But there are good ones too.

It is a huge leap of logic to go from one bad plumber to 'British workmen are crap'


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Subject: RE: BS: British workmen are crap
From: harpmaker
Date: 21 Feb 05 - 11:58 AM

I am a rubbish bricklayer


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Subject: RE: BS: British workmen are crap
From: robomatic
Date: 21 Feb 05 - 03:36 PM

so how's that hole in the ground between you and the French holding up?


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Subject: RE: BS: British workmen are crap
From: GUEST,British business owner
Date: 21 Feb 05 - 04:55 PM

I asked my Dad to buy me a cowboy outfit for christmas, so he bought me a London plumbing business.


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Subject: RE: BS: British workmen are crap
From: Micca
Date: 21 Feb 05 - 05:21 PM

Guest British business owner -you remind me of an ad I saw in a West London local paper years ago for an Asian Builders and House repair/roofing company (I think they were Sikhs) their slogan read
" You've tried the Cowboys, now try the Indians"!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: British workmen are crap
From: nutty
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 01:35 PM

My plumber paid me a visit today ...... I have to admit he was suitably chastened. He admitted that he had not considered the age of the thermostats when he fitted the heater (apparently with modern ones it doesn't matter which way the water enters the radiators) and he is coming back on Thursday to change the pipes round.


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Subject: RE: BS: British workmen are crap
From: GUEST,Michael Flanders (RIP)
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 01:41 PM

The Gasman Cometh


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