When plumbers say no (or make you sign a waiver)
19 December 2018
Every now and then, Master Plumbers’ national office is contacted by homeowners who have bought plumbing fixtures, only to find their plumber refuses to install them.
Why would a plumber do this?
- Plumbers have professional obligations to avoid creating a risk of serious harm or endangering life
- Plumbers can be held liable if a product they install proves to be substandard.
We advise our members to refuse to install products they know, or suspect, to be defective, faulty, inappropriate, non-compliant with the Building Code, or that may create a risk of serious harm to someone, or significant property damage.
So, when a plumber says no, they probably have everyone’s best interests at heart!
If you have purchased a product the plumber is not familiar with or has concerns about, the plumber may:
- ask to inspect it to determine its quality and appropriateness for the job
- advise you to talk to the product supplier and ask if it meets applicable standards; and
- explain the potential long-term problems and possible costs if the product were to fail.
Overseas products purchased online may simply not be compatible for installation in New Zealand. ‘Bargain’ fixtures could prove costly if they don’t perform, fail, or damage your property. You may end up having to buy a replacement and getting the plumber back to install it.
Determined to go ahead?
If you’ve purchased a plumbing product and are determined to go ahead with using it, even though it’s unclear if it’s compliant and safe, the plumber may also ask you to sign a ‘waiver’ letter, which limits their liability by showing you acknowledge the risk.
When renovating or building, we recommend you always talk with your plumber before purchasing plumbing fixtures. Your plumber can help ensure products comply with the New Zealand Building Code and relevant standards.
Plumbers have invaluable knowledge about which products are reputable, fit for purpose and perform well – and also which ones to avoid.
Find your nearest Master Plumber with our online search tool at: www.masterplumbers.org.nz