Leak Following Repair: Who Pays?

On Friday I had the water tank in my loft replaced. The plumber replaced a small section of an old lead pipe coming out of the water tank as it had 'crystallised'. On Saturday morning we found that the lead pipe had leaked a foot or 2 down from the section that he'd replaced. Unfortunately the leak caused damage to a door frame & a wall.
The plumber came back on Saturday & removed another 2 feet of the pipe & it now seems OK. He told me to claim on my buildings insurance & say that he'd originally been called to fix a leak in the lead pipe (rather than to fit a new tank) and that repair had caused the bigger leak. He didn't give me a bill on Saturday but said to wait & see how I get on with the insurance.
I'm not sure if he's just done a lousy job & is trying to get a juicy insurance check or if it's just tough luck for me as it was a very old pipe? Any advice as to what's normal / fair / legal would be appreciated.
Michael
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Lead pipe is notorious for doing just what you have experienced and although (maybe) he should have warned you of the potential risk of more damage it doesn't necessarily say he's bad at his job. The crystals that form do so over a VERY long period (decades) and are cubic which tend to form lined up with the pipe length. The only sure way to eliminate the problem is to replace the lead. I'm guessing that it is probably the cold feed to the tank - the slight movement caused by the ball valve opening and closing will exacerbate the problem.
AWEM
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On 18 Sep 2006 01:20:00 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Firstly if you follow the suggestion of your plumber you are embarking on fraud. Simply don't do it. The plumber has or at least should have insurance to cover problems such as you describe so claim on his insurance.
Secondly you are in a difficult area. The plumber can be held at fault if you can show he has done something that a professional plumber would not have done and as a result damage to the pipe occurred causing the leak and the consequential damage. He would then be responsible for fixing the damage to the pipe. However, if the pipe leaked simply because it was old and had deteriorated and moving it to do the initial job caused it to fail then you are not likely to have much luck claiming the plumber was at fault unless you can show that the plumber was aware that by moving the pipe it was probable that it would lead to subsequent failure.
Thirdly the damage resulting from the leak is consequential damage and it is unlikely you will get the plumber to admit liability for that. As I am sure you will appreciate there is no end to liability for consequential damage. However it is possible your own insurance will cover the damage caused by a leaking pipe but you must read the small print in your policy.
I am not sure what is meant by the lead pipe having crystallized. Lead doesn't crystallize although impurities in the water may precipitate as crystals on the inside of the pipe but will not affect the lead. If you have the piece of pipe that was removed i.e. second leak it may be possible to determine whether or not the plumber caused the leak by rough handling but I suspect the 'evidence' has been degraded when it was removed.
I would think your best course is to get as much assistance as you can from the plumber on a 'goodwill' basis. Suing the plumber is unlikely to be cost effective.
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Thanks for the replies. I'm haven't followed the plumber's advice - I don't think his suggestion would have made much difference & I didn't really want to go down that road.
I spent ages on the phone to the insurance company yesterday & of course they're claiming it's either the plumber's poor workmanship (which it's impossible to prove either way ) & I should claim off his insurance (which let's face it won't happen) or that it's wear & tear & therefore my liability.
Either way it looks like I'm going to have to foot the bill for the plumber & do the repairs myself. Makes me wonder what the point of insurance is for things like this.
Michael
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Building insurance covers you for "a particular unforeseen event". You had a leak, you called a plumber to fix it. What's the problem?
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I have have seen the same issue before. Plumber fitted power shower at mates house and 4 months later tank in loft split, whilst he was on holiday, where plumber had connected cold feed. Luckily water was off but a whole tank emptied out, bringing down ceilings. I supected, from looking at it that fitting was deforming the tank and this caused the split, but plumber on return said "no mate tanks old, thats why is split, claim on your insurance".
Claimed on house insurance and eventually got sorted.
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