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Pre-Purchase Plumbing Inspections

Pre-Purchase Plumbing Inspections Are An Investment By Themselves

With 90% of Plumbing & Drainage Infrastructure Hidden From View

We all know the excitement that comes with purchasing a new home but a pre-purchase plumbing inspection by Whywait Plumbing Services will reduce the nightmare of inheriting someone else’s plumbing nightmares.

A pre-purchase plumbing inspection potentially saves you not only money but the stress of finding the all too common occurrence of all your drains blocked a week after moving into your new home. Not every aspect of the plumbing, drainage or gas infrastructure of an existing house can easily be sighted but the experienced eyes of a licensed plumber undertaking a pre-purchase inspection will easily see signs such as:

  • drain clearing equipment having been used in the past
  • that a toilet has been removed to access the drains
  • the hot water service has been relocated.

Consistently pre-purchase plumbing inspections by Whywait Plumbing Services show up plumbing problems 90% of the time, which no one else has identified. These problems range from:

  • tree roots in the drains
  • leaking water pipes
  • water hammer
  • leaking hot water tanks and so the list goes on

All of these problems have the potential to lead to major unexpected financial outlays when often you are stretched to the limit financially but also can create a great deal of stress and inconvenience for you and your family.

A comprehensive pre-purchase plumbing inspection and written report by Whywait Plumbing Services experienced licensed plumbers Gold Coast covers all the areas of plumbing, drainage and gas that are never covered in a standard building inspection. Your solicitor will usually recommend  a building and pest inspection be undertaken. Inevitably these are an overview of the plumbing because they are undertaken by builders not plumbers and builders do not have the expertise or equipment to undertake a detailed inspection of the plumbing and drainage infrastructure.

The written report from Whywait Plumbing Services will enable you to make an informed decision on purchasing the property ensuring that all the plumbing infrastructure is compliant and functioning correctly. Any faults will be identified and detailed in the written report along with the cost to rectify so you can go back and renegotiate your purchase price with confidence.

A Whywait Plumbing Services pre-purchased plumbing inspection is fully detailed and easy to read being free of jargon and reports on the following:

  • council as constructed drainage plan (if available)
  • CCTV inspection of house sewer drains
  • CCTV inspection of storm water drains
  • surface storm water flow to determine if drainage is adequate
  • water main pressure test to determine if pressure is compliant & to to determine any underlying issues
  • water main leakage test
  • condition report of gutters, downpipes and roof flashing’s
  • condition report on all taps & connections
  • condition report on bathroom fixtures
  • condition report on laundry fixtures
  • condition report on kitchen fixtures
  • condition report on hot water service tank with working life report
  • condition report on all hot water valves
  • condition report on water reticulation system

To ensure your most important asset, your future home, is not going to become a nightmare due to defective plumbing and drainage infrastructure always get Whywait Plumbing Services to undertake a comprehensive pre-purchase plumbing inspection which will allow you to make an offer to purchase based on factual information. Call us now for more information.

By Gary Mays

Give Yourself The Gift of Clean Water By Maintaining Your Rainwater Tanks

Rainwater Tanks…. Maintaining Clean Water

It is now 6 years since the water management crisis in South-East Queensland was at its peak. Rainwater tanks were flavour of the month and were being sold and installed by every man and his dog aided and abetted by generous subsidies from the Queensland Government.

Unfortunately the panic by the Queensland Government at the time and the relaxation of standards with countless shoddy installations is now beginning to bite. This has lead to a situation where government agencies are picking up the pieces of repairing bad policy.

Fortunately there has been some great publications and research undertaken by the Environmental Health Committee, (enHealth) of the Australian Health Protection Committee which has published an excellent publication called “Guidance on Use of Rainwater Tanks” which we advise you to download and read if you have a rainwater tank by clicking here

Rainwater tanks in an urban environment were always going to be an issue with regards to maintenance and the plumbing technicians at Whywait Plumbing Services see this issue constantly:

  • Poorly maintained or completely failed rain water tanks are everywhere
  • Pumps that no longer work are commonplace
  • Leaking rainwater tanks are common place.

Rainwater tank systems are generally low maintenance but they are most definitely not maintenance free. Regular routine maintenance of a rainwater tank is required to maintain the life expectancy of the infrastructure and to ensure compliance under the Public Health Act.

Maintaining your rainwater tank is your responsibility as the property owner. The biggest threat posed is the potential to create a health risk in the tank becoming a breeding site for mosquito’s. All rainwater tanks must be fitted at all times with:

  • inlet strainers that are 1mm or less to prevent mosquito’s entering the tank
  • All overflows must be installed with a high flow flap valve which automatically close and seal when not in use to prevent mosquito’s entering the tank.

The recommended maintenance required plus the routine regularity is listed below:

  •  3 months: remove debris from gutters, downpipes & first flush devices. Check insect screens on rainwater heads & overflow outlets are debris free, intact & in good condition.
  • 6 months: check roof & flashing’s, remove overhanging branches & repair any defects. Check for signs of mosquito’s & larvae plus any evidence of animal, bird or insect access. Check for algal growth & if detected locate & seal light entry point. Check tank, fittings & pump for any leaks or defects & repair.
  • 12 months: check integrity of tank support base, check pumps & solenoid valves along with all plumbing bypass or backup systems & repair as necessary.
  • 24 months: check level of sediment in tank along with water quality. Generally accumulated sediment should be removed from the tank at intervals not exceeding 3 years.

If you are no longer using your rainwater tank then you are required to cut it up and remove it from site. It cannot be allowed to become a mosquito breeding site or a home for vermin such as rats or mice.

Finally a word of warning. Many property owners are unaware that in Queensland that if you fail to maintain your rainwater tank in a constant status of it being mosquito proof you can receive an on the spot fine of $320.

For more information on storing water please call us at Whywait Plumbing Services today.

By Gary Mays

The Myth Of The “Going Rate or Recommended Rate” For Plumbing Services

Unfortunately, the myth that there is the going rate for plumbers or recommended rate for plumbing services is one of those lovely urban myths that will never go away. Some consumers promote it as a method to avoid paying for plumbing services generally after the work has been completed.

Even more disturbing is the fact that it is also promoted by some plumbing contractors who are:

  • lacking in necessary business skills and cannot do basic accounting equations to work out the cost of running their business and provide quality service at a fair profit
  • engaged in payback against other plumbing contractors to undermine their competitors by claiming they are overcharging

Every plumbing business is not the same. Every plumbing business has different levels of cost structures, overhead costs and productivity levels that are required to set a selling price or a break-even price. It is illegal under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 for business to collude in setting prices or for there to be any set or recommended rates by master plumbers associations.

For many one-person plumbing businesses when they start out, it is just far too complicated to put a budget together and calculate what the cost of doing business is. Reality is they need to do it so that they can ensure they are charging a rate for their services that covers the cost of running the business. Unfortunately what happens most of the time is these one-person plumbing businesses decide that they will charge the going rate for plumbers and be done with it.

So how do these one-person businesses find out what the going rate for plumbers is? Very simply, they ring around all their competitors, pretending to be a prospective customer and find out what they are charging for their services. As no professional plumber can give a price over the phone, they tend to only get prices from like-minded one-person businesses promoting a whole undercutting philosophy based on some mythical hourly rate which then becomes the mythical going rate.

To see how this whole myth of the going rate for plumbers becomes self-perpetuating, consider the following scenario, which is exactly what happens all the time. Consider the scenario where  Trevor decided to buy a van, get a new mobile phone and using his tools supplied to him by his former employer and open up “Trevors Plumbing Service.” Trevor knew his old employer, “Gold Coast Plumbing”, was charging $130 per hour but he knew that his former boss had lots of equipment and paid his employees above the award wages, so he decided to charge only $80 an hour.

A couple of weeks later Jason who does not like Trevor, hears that Trevor has opened up his plumbing business, and he figures he’s much smarter than Trevor plus he’s sure he’s faster and quicker at doing plumbing work than Trevor, so he decides to buy a ute too and open up “Speedy Plumbing.” Jason gets his girlfriend to phone Trevor pretending to be a customer to find out his charges. As Jason does not like Trevor, he figured he could knock him out of business by charging $20 less and getting all his business. So “Speedy Plumbing” is now in business charging $60 per hour.

Meanwhile, Stephen had opened up “Super Coastwide Plumbing” a year earlier and had just had a builder who supplied him with 90% of his work tell him that he was going to be using another plumber to do his work in future. This is despite the fact that Stephen was providing excellent service but at $100 per hour was way above the going rate for plumbers. Stephen panicked on hearing this and decided to call around his competitors to see what the going rate for plumbers was. Stephen discovered that it was ranging from $40 to $160 per hour.  Stephen decided that to keep his business going he need to match the going rate for plumbers and based on where most of his competitors were opted to drop his rate to $65 per hour to be under the rate charged by “Trevors Plumbing Service” who appeared to picking up lots of work.

Meanwhile, over at “Gold Coast Plumbing” the owners are having a meeting. “We aren’t making enough money to cover our costs!” They say. “Well, we can’t increase our rates because we’re already one of the highest in town — $70 higher than some after ringing around to find out the going rate for plumbers is.” The owners are frustrated because they’re gradually watching their business go down, a business that’s been in their family for three generations.

What happens next is textbook accurate and occurs over and over again in the plumbing industry causing unemployment, financial hardship and family breakups.

“Gold Coast Plumbing” starts cutting corners using cheaper materials, cancelling insurance cover, not replacing old equipment, not replacing old utes and vans, charging clients for hours that were not worked, using labourers and apprentices instead of qualified plumbers. Their plumbers become disillusioned and start looking for jobs elsewhere and this forces “Gold Coast Plumbing” to use more labourers and apprentices to undertake the work that requires licensed and experienced plumbers.

Over at “Speedy Plumbing” Jason is struggling to cope with all the work but cannot hire any licensed plumbers because he’s discovered he can’t afford to pay them plus buy more utes and equipment because his rates are too cheap and don’t cover the costs of running the business.

Trevor over at “Trevors Plumbing Service” is still working by himself, so does not need a lot of work to keep him busy plus the customers that hired him because he was the lowest price have left him and gone to “Speedy Plumbing”. Trevor is not concerned as he’s making more money than he did when he was an employee at ‘Gold Coast Plumbing” plus he’s his own boss and he doesn’t have to answer to anybody. Trevor has discovered that he’s got to cut corners to make sure he can pay the bills. He does not renew his QBCC licenses or take out public liability insurance. Trevor adopts a policy of never returning calls to customers that complain, guaranteed to keep him out of trouble from inferior quality materials and workmanship.

Meanwhile, Stephen at “Super Coastwide Plumbing” was struggling to pay bills since dropping his prices to the going rate for plumbers with the losers being his family. Stephen’s wife is forced to return to her old job, working to support “the business” until it gets back on its feet. Even worse cutting corners meant customers were not getting compliant plumbing work undertaken with failures being the norm. Finally, employees started getting reduced or no training with wages failing to be paid on time as there was never enough money.

Every successful plumbing business knows the starting point always is knowing what it costs to do business and setting rates that ensure they can make a profit for the long term which is specific to their circumstances and business model.

No one ever wins in setting up a business based on the going rate for plumbers or recommended rate because they are a myth. The only guarantee is that the business will close leaving employees, suppliers and customers all out of pocket and worse off for the experience in a myriad of ways.

Sadly I witness these scenarios repeating themselves over and over again on the Gold Coast. There are no winners when you don’t operate a business to make a profit after covering every single one of your costs.

Never Attempt To Fix A Gas Leak Yourself

The plumbers at Whywait Plumbing are constantly bewildered by some people think if they ignore the smell of gas that it will go away. Gas leaks are never something you should ignore, even if you perceive it to be that you only have a small gas leak. A suspected gas leak can be dangerous and you should deal with it immediately.

If you smell that distinctive gas smell inside your home we recommend the following:

  • Evacuate everyone from the house and open all of your doors and windows
  • leave the house and turn off gas at the meter (or LP Gas cylinder if that’s what you’re using).
  • If you can and it’s safe to do, switch the power off at the electricity meter box too, so electrical appliances can’t generate a spark.
  • Then move to a safe distance and call your plumber or local gas authority (see below).

If you smell that distinctive gas smell outside your home then we recommend the following:

  • Immediately turn off or remove all sources of ignition such as cigarettes, mobile phones, and any outdoor electrical equipment in the immediate are
  • Call the 000 emergency number and inform you have a gas leak and where you suspect the leak is plus any other relevant information that you have observed
  • Turn off the gas at your meter

Your gas meter is usually located at the side or front of your home and to turn off do the following:

  • Turn the valve at the gas meter to the OFF position
  • If the OFF position is not obvious or has worn off over time then generally the valve is off when the handle is at right angles or to the gas inlet pipe.

Modern gas appliances are almost fool proof  but like all appliance they must be maintained.  Signs to look for and observe that may indicate that your gas appliances may not be operating correctly include:

  • fluctuating flames on your cook top
  • you are running out of hot water
  • you are running out of gas
  • faint smell of gas
  • sudden increase in gas bill
  • hissing noises from pipe joints
  • flames are yellow or red

If you observe any of these appearances or problems then turn off the appliance and contact Whywait Plumbing immediately for a gas-fitter to be sent to your home. Because if nothing else you and your family may be at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Finally never ever attempt to fix a gas leak yourself. It must always be undertaken by a licensed gas-fitter. Repairing a gas leak must always be undertaken by a licensed gas fitter with a gas certificate of compliance issued where pipes, fittings or appliances are modified or replaced. Very simply all these requirements are the law, they are not voluntary options.

When it comes to installing, repairing and maintaining your gas pipes & appliances you can depend on the professionalism, expertise and experience you receive from the experienced gas fitting experts at Whywait Plumbing.

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