Discuss Wall mounted sink query in the UK Plumbers Forums area at PlumbersForums.net



I booked a plumber to fit a wall mounted sink in my bathroom, but when his fitter took the old sink out the wall wasn't strong enough to support it. Fair enough, but before telling me it was no good he got his fitter to try fitting the sink. This rendered the sink unreturnable and now he expects me to pay for it. His fitter said the boss should have checked the wall properly before getting him to attempt fitting it and I tend to agree. Am I right, or does the suitability of the wall only become clear when fitting is attempted?
In what way is it not strong enough?
If it’s a stud wall you have to remove some plasterboard and fit extra noggins in the appropriate place to take the fixings, but the wall is strong enough - just requires the appropriate methods. This is obviously more work than just drilling two Fischer fixings into a brick wall - but that just means the cost is higher, not that it can’t be done.
I’d be looking for another plumber.
I'd say this is the risk you take if supplying your own materials.
Should they have noticed - possibly, but without knowing how and where it fixes untill it's open it's a big ask.
If it was specified by and especially if purchased by installer then I would expect it taken care of as untill its properly fitted I would consider it to be his sink!
It will be possible to fit but would req more work.
As Per Knappers. Who ever bought the basin is responsible really.

All partitions are modifiable to allow for it but at what cost? Tiles off the wall, big sections cut out, labour costs will run high quickly. It may be cheaper for which ever party who bought the basin to just write that off and get something more suitable.
The old sink was removed and he had ample time to check the wall before he purchased the new sink, since he did not purchase it or attempt to fit it for a few days after removing the old one. He said the only sink that he could fit to our wall was one on a pedestal so we've gone with that. He actually got us to buy the replacement sink ourselves saying it would be quicker than if he had to get it (!) He's saying that because we chose the unsuitable sink (based on his recommendations) then we should still pay for it since he's out of pocket (about £65) even though he whisked it away from our property without us seeing it (and still has it)
Was this to be fitted on a fixed price, or an hourly rate?
Did the plumber come to look at the job and quote before anything was bought?

If he’d been to look at the job before then I would expect a rudimentary survey at least, highlighting any work that may be needed to complete the job and possibly a range of prices to cover best/worst case scenarios.

If, however, you had bought the basin and he’d just been asked to come and fit it- this is different. But I would still expect a discussion on the potential problems of fitting a wall hung basin.

With cutting into wall, noggins, re boarding, re tiling, altering pipes into wall- this can easily be a two day job and therefore not cheap. It can also be just a couple of hours.
It's a bit difficult to understand the full picture here. Did he buy the sink?
If so then its not your responsibility to pay for it!
The only way I'd expect to pay for the sink is if it was a friend doing the work at a cut price and a genuine mistake.
I wouldn't expect to pay for any of the time involved with the failed attempt to fit it either.

As a self employed heating engineer and plumber I can understand how it's happened and if it were me I'd definitely take it on the chin, some jobs just go that way. I compensate with experience (so it happens less) and with the jobs that go much better than expected.
It's all par for the course!
(I have atleast one sink in the gaurage waiting for a home that it fits in)

I wouldn't have too much of an issue with being asked to pay for the sink but I'd refuse and if it was pushed I'd pay for the removal of the old one and say goodbye - on principle.
Thankyou to all who have replied so far, very helpful comments. Just to clarify based on some of the questions:

The plumber quoted a total price for the job (and some other jobs) after viewing the bathroom and he supplied all materials.

We'd requested a wall hanging sink and he said it was no problem, not even that it might be a problem that he could assess when the old one was removed. He did not offer a best case/worst case scenario, there was absolutely no mention of the fact that these things can be awkward to fit.

He did the other jobs and removed our old sink (or at least his fitter did). We were then told the new sink wasn't yet available but that he'd return to fit it. His fitter returned a week later with the sink but was unable to fit it saying that whoever had fitted the previous sink had damaged the wall so much it was not possible to have a wall hanging sink. We ordered a replacement with pedestal ourselves based on information the fitter gave us (pedestal height etc) and thought no more of it until his itemised bill came and the wall-hanging sink was on it. We queried this but were told we had to pay for it since we were the ones who'd asked for it! Remember that not only did he not mention any possible problems beforehand, but also that he gave us a list of sinks to choose from)

We paid the remainder of the bill (upwards of £800) and deducted the £65 (approx) for the sink. He now claims we still owe him.

My main concern is whether or not he should have anticipated there might be a problem and made us aware of this first, since he seems to think we should have known this already and not even requested such a sink. We feel we trusted him as the expert to assess the job and let us know if there were any possible problems, and his fitter felt he should have been more thorough in his assessment. We are just wanting clarification on who's right.
If you’ve accepted the change to a basin/pedestal I think he’s actually got away with it. As for leaving you with no basin for a week - that’s not good either.
You sound like a very reasonable customer.
There is no way you should pay for the unused basin in my opinion and I can’t believe he didn’t discuss the possible difficulties that may involve extra cost to fit the wall hung.
I also don’t believe it was “not possible” to fit it.
100% don't need to pay for the sink.
Remain cordial but make sure its always clear in any correspondence that the change was due to it not being possible to fit the other sink (as advised by him).
Don't mention to him the possession of the unused sink as in the (likely impossible) scenario that he does take you to court then the fact that he retained possession would be a massive final nail on the day, in the coffin he's already put himself in!
Chances are that nothing more will come of it and I'd think even bothering with letters chasing the money and threatening court action would be too much effort for £65.

If you do recieve any letters I'd advise a short and to the point response in writing allong the lines of 'The sink in question was specified and supplied by you. As you were unable to fit the sink, I was unable to take delivery of it and as such it remains your property.
Because of this I will not be paying for this item and altho you are free to persue this matter as you see fit, you should consider this my final and only response regarding this issue (short of seeing you in court).
Any continued correspondence regarding this will be considered to be harassment and I will be persuing legal action of my own.
Regards ________ '

Respond to any other letters with just 'please refer to my letter dated____'

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