There are no skilled workers left II

A while ago some of you may remember we had a condensing boiler fitted to replace an old none condensing boiler, well...
There were a few obvious problems when I got in from work to check the job over. The boiler had been fitted on the wall a good 1/2" out of true and despite the drain pipe being fitted with clips, he had forgotten to actually drill the wall to fix the clips. They were recalled to sort these out - a 220 mile round trip. Bricks had been cut on the bare concrete of the drive and cement mixed on the drive and left to set hard - not much to be done about that.
The loft has plaster boarded sides and ceiling, sealing the main useful part off, from the low roof wings with access panels to into each side. It just makes it warmer and much nicer up there. Both header tanks being in one wing. The tiles in each wing lacks any felt under the tiles, so gales can blow in there and both tanks are (were) well insulated.
I noticed the installer had not bothered refix the access panel after he had done, in fact he had not even bothered to put it back at all - just left the panel on the floor. So I put it back myself without complaint long since, without even checking the tanks.
This week end I was up in the loft to run coax to a new TV antenna, which needed me to go in that particular wing. The useless bugger had taken the lid off and left it off, taken the insulation off the pipes and left all of that off too. Just minutes of effort for the installer to refit them, but too much trouble and it could have frozen up doing thousands of pounds worth of damage had I not noticed it.
Now less technical and old people might be in a position of having to trust these 'skilled workers', luckily I do not have to. Now someone who has turned up to do a job, warned in advance that the owner likely knows as much as he about the job - might think I had best take care to get it somewhere near right.
--
Regards,
Harry (M1BYT) (L)
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On Mon, 02 Jun 2008 20:59:40 +0100, Harry Bloomfield wrote:

<snip>
Wasn't a Warmfront install was it?
Your tale of woe just reinforces my opinion that the vast majority, if not all, "professional trades people" are a load of cowboys to a greater or lessor extent. I don't think I've ever had a trades person round that has done complete and satisfactory job.
--
Cheers
Dave.




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Dave Liquorice wrote:

It does make me wonder. I reckon I've never had a satisfactory experience with a garage, barring tracking and tyre fitting.
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Absolutely agree for the main dealer servicing. I was told they don't spend any money on the actual servicing staff, so they don't get good experienced staff, and they don't stay long.
I found a local back street garage and have used them for the last 8 years. They've had the same staff all the time, and I know them all. I trust them (sometimes they've found a problem was not what was thought and was something trivial and not charged), and they trust me (often the bill isn't printed when I turn up tp collect and they let me come back later and pay, or they just drop the car off in my driveway anyway).
I've suggested this to some others who have had bad experiences with main dealers being unable to diagnose problems, and they've all switched to various back street garages now. In terms of servicing and experience in diagnosing problems, I think that's where the expertise now is.
--
Andrew Gabriel
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On 03 Jun 2008 08:02:13 GMT, Andrew Gabriel wrote:

Trouble is with modern cars if the garage doesn't have the right computer to talk to the computer(s) in your car some things are impossible to diagnose without a lot of work.
Certainly for routine stuff (oil changes etc) and broken/worn mechanical parts I'd use a know good garage. But sometimes you just have to use a dealer to see what the computer(s) are complaining about, unless you are fortunate to have a local independant specialist for your car who can justify the cost of the maker specific diagnostic system.
--
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Dave.




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On 3 Jun,

There is a (supposedly) standard interface for talking to the vehicle electronics. This should sort out most things. Manufacturers can (and do) add on their own things, but most garages should have enough kit to sort. Expertise may be a different thing though, mechanics aren't usually high techy computer literates.
I have the appropriate interface and suitable software for my own vehicles, but I will usually check first before letting the local small garage loose on the odd occasion I have problems. Some places (including main agents) just change bits at random (at your expense) until they find the right one -- and no refund for the bits changed (unnecessarily) earlier.
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B Thumbs
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Thanks, that's interesting. I know my garage does hook up to the computer, but I didn't know how they handled coping with a large number of different makes. I know there was a legal ruling some decades back that vehicle manufacturers were not permitted to restrict servicing information to affiliated/franchised merchants, as they had tried to do.
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Andrew Gabriel
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On Jun 3, 6:55 pm, snipped-for-privacy@cucumber.demon.co.uk (Andrew Gabriel) wrote:

OBD now OBD II, lots of interfacesand personatlity modules for it, gives a fault code that may not be that actual faulty item, my money is still on `back street garage` having knowledge and experience to interpret the results more accurately than a main dealer tech on bonus, that the computer spits out.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OBD-II#OBD-II
Adam
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We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the
saying something like:

Indeed, and when a vehicle's been out a couple of years there's usually enough of them been through the non-main-dealer workshop that experienced mechanics are au fait with the common faults of that model, thus saving diagnostic time. This applied long before on-board diagnostics and is still the case, OBD or not.
--
Dave
GS850x2 XS650 SE6a
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Indeed, many main dealers do not retain good staff due to cost. They make the money on financing, above invoice & maintenance where the latter is a standard 100% markup on parts. A marque workshop manual which is basically a flowchart of "check continuity, check signal in range, fix wiring loom, replace part A, replace part B, replace ECU, replace car". The code & part may actually be secondary to the cause of the fault and it is there where experience counts to avoid a costly spiral of parts & labour
On fault codes, always force them to come back. If more than 1 fault code, well advised to ignore and force one/them to come back. Certain cars are plagued by problems "well known" to everyone but the dealers. Good groups exist, try www.honestjohn.co.uk or one specific to your marque
Certain cars are affected by very expensive problems, beware before you buy. Common rail diesel promise high mpg, performance, perceived reliability. Very often they have incredibly expensive problems, costly maintenance. Dealer network lacks the knowledge and fobs people off with costly fake diagnosis until someone uses a marque call-centre "technical support database" whose first entry is "can we get the fault diagnosis outside warranty?". I recall a Mobil oil engineer stating he was not sure how future diesel engines would cope, because the carbon loading of oil was now beyond what oil engineering could handle. The end result being coking, lubrication failures of turbos, bearings & eventually reduced longevity of engines. All it takes is a slight problem, and engine viability can be compromised. That was in 2000 and quite a few CR diesels are proving far less reliable than their previous incarnations. R&D may solve the issue, but it could be an expensive one for the buyer due to failure modes.
Many cars are increasingly trying to "proprietarise" their maintenance & repair. OBD-II readers are fine, often just different plug adapters required. However some ECU are conformance coated (rendering repair impossible) or even epoxy encapsulating, which I could hardly believe considering their thermal dissipation until I saw it myself. That rules out cheap repair solutions, and the ECUs no longer cost 350-650 but in some cases quite far into 4 figures.
Remember to counter any fob offs under warranty. Get any problem investigated & written down on invoice. If there is a major failure out of warranty, you can then claim back as the problem pre-existed under warranty. That whine could turn out to be a turbo failing, differential, gearbox and labour plus parts can be eye watering.
Cars are being treated as a "flash upgrade & fix appliance" with R&D continuing into ownership, and trying to proprietarise marque service networks. So beware the flashy car going cheap, sometimes the market prices them cheap beyond mere "not fashionable or VED".
DIY, absolutely.
The problem with the UK is high baseline cost of living which means the pros are seeing profits erode & cowboys whilst charging less are making so little they are not able to do a proper job. That is compounded by not so much the scarcity of skills, but the most common skill being incompetence. There are some very skilled tradesmen, but many who are not which merely devalue the work. Education is not helping, we seem to be migrating to standards that are lower and taking many more years to achieve - erosion on two fronts.
Still if you view the West as "run for what makes bankers richer", then you will soon realise that its population is expendable because it can be substituted by that elsewhere. So far that has been "making & service", the real hit will come when that population elsewhere becomes the "spender" where at present it is somewhat constrained (India & China). They the West will neither need people as skilled, nor as consumer, and that could see living standards peak for following generations (if it not already has).
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Andrew Gabriel wrote:

Having said what you did, my tame ex foreman Rover mechanic, who was Rover trained, bought out all the equipment that he would need to start up his own garage and he gets other garages in the area bringing cars to be hooked up to his ex Rover computer.
Dave
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That's sad. Spouse and I used to do all our vehicle servicing, repairs - the lot. But one day I rebelled and said that he'd spent enough time on his back in the drive when it was snowing and that it was time to have work done professionally.
The place where we'd bought our most recent car belonged to the family of two lads he taught at school - or rather tried to teach. They knew that they'd be going into the family business, weren't interested in anything at school and couldn't wait to do what they wanted. They've made a very good fist of it too, they run a reliable and efficient service and we wouldn't go anywhere else now to have the car seen to.
The scooter is a different matter, it's difficult to find a good place for repairs. A son has the same model as Spouse and he's had a chronic problem which can't seem to be addressed by anyone. They've taken to doing work themselves, together.
Ah well - but at least it can be done under cover now and we don't get s much snow anyway :-)
A good motor mechanic is worth a lot.
Mary

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Dave Liquorice wrote:

I bet this is why many of us DIY. The time it takes to book then chase a handyman, the bodgy work, the high price... DIY is easier, quicker, better quality and cheaper.
NT
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snipped-for-privacy@care2.com wrote:

and more importantly, you get to buy & keep tools :)
NT
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We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the drugs began to take hold. I remember "Dave Liquorice"

Hey, fuck you. With your attitude it's hardly surprising you piss people off.
--
Dave
GS850x2 XS650 SE6a
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On Tue, 03 Jun 2008 11:54:25 +0100, Grimly Curmudgeon wrote:

Who said anything about pissing people off? If I'm paying a "professional" to do a job I expect a) that job to be done by them in it's entirity from the knock on the door to the removal of any waste and the majority of any cleaning required afterwards. b) to a standard equal or better than I can achieve. c) At, and in the, time scale they said.
I would love to be proved wrong in my opinion.
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Dave.




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On Tue, 03 Jun 2008 12:35:06 +0100 (BST), "Dave Liquorice"

I've no doubt there are good tradespeople out there but they must be in the minority. I would do less DIY if I could find a good one. Unfortunately I always seem to end up snagging their work or listening to sob stories about why they can't do the job they quoted for to the agreed price, quality and timescale. I've often wondered if a tradesperson's own house is full of the same bodges and shortcuts, or if it's just something they reserve for the punters?
And before I get flamed, no I don't have a habit of pissing people off, nor do I always go for the cheapest quote, nor do I have unreasonable expectations.
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I support that 100%.
And as for attitude pissing people off ... somethng about pans and kettles comes to mind :-)
Mary
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On 2008-06-03 11:54:25 +0100, Grimly Curmudgeon

Ummm.....
Why is it pissing somebody off if they are asked to do what they said they would do, when they said they would do it, to an agreed high standard and at the agreed price?
If somebody wants to deliver me 80% of X rather than 100% of it, then they ought to make that clear at the outset. Then we can agree to pay less than the quoted price and everybody is clear on the objectives.
It surprises me how some suppliers feel affronted when delivery of 100% of the goods and services agreed is requested as opposed to the 80% that they thought would be "good enough".
I see genuine shock, sometimes. Amazing.
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snip
I come across this sort of thing every week. Even tonight, I went out to fit 2 new lights fittings for a lady, and found the previous owner had put a flourescent fitting in, with cables held together with sellotape. I then went into the loft to extend the cable and noticed a scattering of 22mm pipe. There was around 5 metres altogether - the header tank had been changed, they had cut up the old feed pipes, dropped the bits where they were cut off, and left them, along with 5 assorted 22mm solder fittings, and a near full, large, reel of lead solder. Well, that was a bonus for me. They hadnt bothered to refit the polystyrene insulation box around the new tank, and the roof space also had no insulation in it, even though it is an Housing Association house. The house I am working at in the daytime could have a book written about the hotch potch way things have been done there. Alan.
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