Contractor Punking Me

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I am adding a bathroom to an empty room upstairs. There is no plumbing upstairs, but there is a bathroom right below the new bathroom. 1920's house.
I repeatedly asked the contractor during the negotiation if it would be a problem to run the pipes. He kept telling me he'd been doing this for years, yada yada - never a problem.
We made him take the thing out of the contract that said it could cost unlimited dollars to run the pipes, we capped it at $250.
Now the underling is telling me they are going to run the pipes down the corner of a closet below the new bathroom, and case it in with a fake wall.
I consider this a lame shortcut. He kept telling me it's not a problem to run pipes in the walls, now he doesn't want to do it? Well, obviously it's not if you're just going to run the pipes down a closet!!
Am I being unreasonable to protest this move??
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You may be unreasonable for the $250 limit! Figure that is only around 5 hours of time to relocate the pipes and refinish any walls the get tore open to do the move. I bet if you raised the max to a $1000 he would be more willing!
Relocating plumbing and electrical is never a problem, untill the money runs out! Greg
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Thanks for the quick reply. Here is a little more information.
The contract has $3900 for the plumbing line item. That includes 5 drops. A tub, a two headed shower, two sinks and the can.
I would think for that kind of money they could spend the time to get the pipes down inside a wall instead of a closet. But this is my first big project, so I don't really know what to expect.
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Apparently neither you or the contractor you chose bothered to work out a way of doing the work or work out an estimate of the cost.
You are certainly in a legal position to veto the method of providing the new bath. You are not, in my opinion, in a position to tell the contractor how to do the job.
TB
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snipped-for-privacy@bellsouth.net wrote:

I'm not sure I agree with all that. He told me, repeatedly, it wouldn't be a problem to run pipes in the wall, now he doesn't want to do it. We had an agreed upon line item for plumbing. By saying I didn't "bother" you make me sound almost reckless, which I don't think is accurate.
Maybe I should have had that in writing. My first lesson, you can't have too much in writing.
Regardless, I'm not really looking for legal advice, I'm more interested in whether this is normal, running the pipes through a closet. And a small closet at that.
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news:walshbj-

Normal? Perhaps if there is no other option.
I would get togather with the contractor and let him know you find his way of running the pipe unacceptable and see if you can come to some agreement. You may have to throw more money at him.
Keep in mind it is pretty hard for people sitting at a computer to give advice on a given situation. It may be close to impossible to hide the pipes any better. It may be what the contractoer was intending all a long!
The company I work for did the heating with a remodel in a multi-million dollar home. The architect would no give us enough room in a wall to run venting for a water heater and boiler located in a room below. We had zero options, the venting had to go up inside the wall. I walked off the job after talking to him about it. He was pissed because "we" were holding up the job. I told him he better call my boss an figure out what to do. The wall went from 2x4 studs to 2x8 the next day. Greg
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Your points are all well made, and I will bring it up and see if they can explain why they want to do it this way.
Do you think $3900 is a lot or a little for a 5 drop bathroom? The entire room has been gutted to the studs and joists, so the upstairs part should afford easy access.
Downstairs they have to deal with plaster walls and then a basement with a somewhat confined crawlspace.
I ask with the understanding that I might not be providing enough information.
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Not a clue! One of the last houses we did the master bath cost more than my house! Greg
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The total for this will be over $30k. The biggest line item is tile. We're spending about $2k on fixtures. There isn't anything all that far out of what I would consider 'normal'.
Some contractors wanted over $50k. I'd use a bucket before I spent that on a bathroom. I feel a little weird as it is, spending what I am.
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"Greg O" wrote

You've got a good point. There may be other options, but which ones are practical.
I was called to a job, where they ran new pipes for steam in the corner of a living room of a high dollar home. I ended up boxing in the pipes by building a decorative built up column. Did the same on the opposite side of the room for aesthetics. After the base/shoe/crown was all done, it looked awesome, built them to go with their decor.
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On 15 Dec 2004 15:52:01 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@bellsouth.net wrote:

BS. When a contractor works for me, he does the job to my liking or not at all.
If he starts telling me how he's going to do a specific part of the job and I don't want it that way, I'll tell him. I'll tell him to do it the way I want.
You guys need to remember where your $$ is coming from.
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this interesting note:

I think the point being made is, why bother to hire an expert if you don't trust what he has to say about how a job ought to best be done?
Remember, this shouldn't be the first time this contractor has done this. The contractor should have many, many times the experience you do with this kind of work. To put it another way, would you tell your surgeon how to do his job or would you listen to what he advises, ask some good questions, and come to understand what the expert is telling you?
Doing the job to "your liking" may not be the optimal way for that particular problem in construction to be solved, despite what "your liking" may be. This isn't a put-down, just an observation based on years of dealing with particular people's likes and dislikes when it comes to construction projects.
Not liking what the expert has to say does not change the real possibility that it is the very best advice you may get. Chasing off someone who has the guts to tell you what you may not like to hear...well, let's just say that may not be the best solution to the problem.....
BTW, the person who suggested that there may not be room inside the wall for the line from the new toilet has the right idea. There isn't room inside a 2X4 stud wall for a four inch cast iron pipe. Now the wall inside that cedar closet could be torn open and the inside size of the wall could be adjusted to accommodate that big pipe (essentially making it a 2X6 instead of a 2X4 stud wall) but does your wife really want all that cedar torn out? Besides, having a chase in that closet might be really handy some day if you want to run something else up to that floor.....................(just make sure the contractor leaves it such that a portion of it can be opened up easily, which is a good idea anyway...he could even install a clean-out there just in case you ever need to clean out the drain!:~)
-- John Willis (Remove the Primes before e-mailing me)
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Lots of people making good points, I appreciate all the feedback.
As far as trusting the expert: A lot of times you've never worked with the contractor before, you have to do the trust dance, he has to earn it, despite his references. Because he obviously wants to keep within his quote as he turns around and pays subs. The subs hadn't seen the job site until the contract was signed, so they could burn the contractor. So - your point about the surgeon is good, but with tools like alt.home.repair it makes sense to get a second opinion. And plenty of people are second-guessing their doctors via the Internet too!
At this point we are looking at a triangular chase in a corner of the room, which will match the room across the hall. For some reason the room across the wall has this diagonal wall instead of a standard corner, only in one corner. So now this room will match. It's kind of a quirky look, but it's nice. That will preserve the cedar.
Good point about the chase. I already have them running some ethernet for me. But I don't think an access panel will fly. Probably would have in the closet.....
Thanks again
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On Thu, 16 Dec 2004 18:01:01 -0500, Bobby Walsh

You can do wonders with the right kinds of hinges and magnetic catches!:~)
-- John Willis (Remove the Primes before e-mailing me)
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magnetic and friction catches are our friends...<G>
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Is the *case* being constructed in "the closet" or is there an existing closet that will then have a small corner "cased"? In any case running pipes through a closet is not "abnormal". That is how my upstairs bathroom is supplied in my (1970's) house. It is actually a convienance as I can get at all my plumbing in my house because none of it was put "in wall" - yet unless you go routing around the back of the one closet you'd never know the difference. YMMV.
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It's a cedar closet, my wife is worried it will add a 'moisture' factor to the closet. Cast iron drop, copper supply. I don't know if my wife's concern is valid or not.
He wants to put the case in the corner just inside the door of the closet. It will take up from the inside of the door to the wall.
I think I will ask him to show me why they can't go down inside the wall.
So - to answer your question. The downstairs cedar closet already exists, and the case will be built around the new pipes.
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Ok. If it were me I'd ask the contracter. In my case the closet is an unfinished 2'x2' (roughly) space that acts as a utility closet. I would be concerned if it was a "finished" closet for the moisture aspect myself - as my cold water pipes do sweat somewhat during our humid summers..
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Moisture? The pipes are solid, they don't give off any moisture. The chances of condensation are about zero if insulated.
Running inside a closet if a common way of piping in old work. Can it be done another way? Possible, but since we cannot see the job from here we can't give an accurate assessment. Even new homes often have a chase built into a closet wall for wiring and plumbing. Ed
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Building a chase is normal way it's done.
Minimum pipe size for a water closet is 3" ID and PVC DWV is 3 1/2" OD. You'll need a hole in the top and bottom plate 3 5/8", so a regular 2 x 4 wall is not wide enough. Keep in mind that there will be fittings with the pipe that will be 4 - 5". So, Do you really want to cut the upper and lower plates completely in two?
Let him install chases and bulkheads where needed.

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