Need advice. I bought CPVC and the plumber used copper.

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by jasperjohn, Sep 6, 2013.

  1. jasperjohn

    jasperjohn New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    santa rosa, california
    Hi,

    I purchased cpvc pipe and fittings for my general contractor to use on a small one room remodel. While I was away he purchased and installed copper pipe without my knowledge or approval. He feels that copper is a better product and he had never heard of using "plastic" inside a living space. He also said he could not figure out how to make the cpvc "work", He lost the better part of a day trying to figure it out (charged me full day). His attitude is that he was doing me a favor. I paid him for his time but am only willing to split the cost of the pipe. This is not a debate of Copper vs CPVC, and thats the stand the contractor is trying to make. Any thoughts/advice.

    Thanks!
  2. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,298
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    You've got to be kidding! Copper is still the best pipe for water supply known to man. I wonder if he really never heard of CPVC in inside a living space, it is done. And, I have no idea what he could have meant about making CPVC "work", but yes, he did you a favor. Just wondering. Did you buy 1/2" CPVC or 3/4"? I ask because the equal the inside diameter of 1/2" copper, you would need 3/4" CPVC. 1/2" CPVC is approximately the same as 3/8" copper. Yeah, I know you didn't want a debate copper vs CPVC, but that's really what this is about.
  3. jasperjohn

    jasperjohn New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    santa rosa, california
    Also he has not provided a receipt for the copper pipe and fittings. Gary, thanks very little!
  4. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    849
    Location:
    ct
    Couldn't make CPVC work? I think he should have cut you some slack on his labor, it's not your fault he doesn't know how to use materials provided, is it? It's not like your asking him to use some super exotic material.

    Unless your water has a really low pH, copper is the better material to use. But I wonder, if he couldn't figure out CPVC, can he sweat a joint?
  5. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,048
    Location:
    Maine
    He did ou a favor, big time. Wether you do or don't want to debate the quality issues, cpvc is garbage plain and simple. Pay the man and thank him.
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,245
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    1. If I were doing the job, YOU would NOT be "buying the materials"
    2. I would use the best material, which is copper
    3. I would NOT give you a receipt for the materials
    4. There is NOTHING to figure out when using CPVC, any dummy can do it which is why it IS used.
    5. Before I started, I would have told you the cost, and if you agreed to it, you would NOT be supplying anything to reduce the price.
  7. jasperjohn

    jasperjohn New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    santa rosa, california
    Thanks guys
  8. asktom

    asktom Member

    Messages:
    514
    Location:
    Victor, MT
    It is quite possible that CPVC is not approved inside a structure in Santa Rosa.
  9. jasperjohn

    jasperjohn New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    santa rosa, california
    So knowbody would have let the customer know? Hey I'm changing up your plan, and its going to cost you.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2013
  10. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,048
    Location:
    Maine
    I would have told you that I would not install cpvc before I went ahead. So yes he should have said something.
  11. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,802
    Location:
    New England
    If you're not there when the work is done, it might be kind of hard to tell you!
  12. dj2

    dj2 Member

    Messages:
    398
    Location:
    California
    Around here, there is no cpvc. PEX was approved 3 years ago, but no contractor will install it. Copper is the only way to go.
    But, some communication between you two should have taken place.
    Pay the man in full and be happy with your new addition, you don't want to end up in litigation, because he'll win.
  13. jasperjohn

    jasperjohn New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    santa rosa, california
    We have email and cell phones now Jim. I paid him in full for labor and half the cost of the copper, which he had leftover from another job. I will never use him again or recommend. If the customer wants PEX or cpvc it's not up to the plumber to decide what to do when your back is turned.
  14. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,298
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    I agree that you should have been consulted, but re-read HJ's post.
  15. Jerome2877

    Jerome2877 In the Trades

    Messages:
    397
    Location:
    BC
    Why, because he refused to use an inferior product that could cause issues in the near future? Cheap people make me wanna puke! If I was him I would remove the copper you won't pay for and take a loss.
  16. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,759
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    That doesn't make any sense. I've heard that one time before from a really cheap customer and swore I would never take a customer like that again.

    Plumbing material on the truck is considered "Inventory" by the IRS. It's an asset that gets listed on our tax returns.
    Because we show up with a full loaded truck ready to do our work; well, that's a moving storefront that we have stocked and shopped and paid for.

    When I get a call from someone that says he has a bag of parts for me to use, I skip the job. I don't buy from home centers, I buy from plumbing suppliers. I don't have time to pull everything out of bags, and time to remove sticky tags on the fittings. Some of them right where the joint needs to be made.

    So a warning to plumbers, like you don't already know this one. If the homeowner has a bag of fittings bought at a homecenter, pass it right by. They can find an unlicensed handyman so he can give plumbing a shot. :)
    You don't "have" to work for those people. Fill your work schedule with customers that "get it".
    We're not in the business of education, we're licensed contractors.

    Sort of like shop lifting I think. Not willing to pay for that stuff on the shelves.

    If I EVER have to make a trip to pick up more fittings and pipe, I don't consider that I "stocked" the truck well enough for the job to start with.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2013
  17. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,048
    Location:
    Maine
    Customer: " I'll supply the materials "

    Me: " have a nice day ". Click

    You don't bring a steak to the restaurant and have them cook it.
    You don't bring the muffler to Midas and have them install it.

    Why would you expect a plumber to install your stuff? Oh, I know this one LOL.
  18. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    849
    Location:
    ct
    Like everyone else we have customers that have gone online and have "figured out" how much we make on the materials we sell. What they fail to realize is that we as contractors have bought, paid for and transported those materials to their job. Plus we are the ones who will warranty the products in the event of a failure.

    Usually, those customers get a G & A charge buried into the bill someplace.
  19. ImOld

    ImOld New Member

    Messages:
    73
    Location:
    In the rumble seat
    I love these kind of threads.

    DIY vs "The Pro's".

    I have been a DIY guy all my life but I did get expert training from various family businesses during my school days.

    I spent a career as an electronic field engineer so I am extremely familiar with customer attitudes.

    I can't imagine having a customer suggest I install some computer parts they bought at Radio Shack and I never had this happen in 35 years.

    Right now I am waiting on a local HVAC guy to give me an estimate on a furnace conversion.

    He already knows I know how much the parts cost.

    What he doesn't know is that I don't care how much he charges since I don't feel qualified to mess with any kind of gas.

    Bottom line is the DIY'r hasn't a clue as to what is involved in running a business.
  20. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,760
    Location:
    New York, NY
    I'm going to weigh in on this. A couple of thoughts:

    (1) Like anybody in business, a lot of the hostile posters on here are lashing out because they have been burned or had their time wasted over time by customers who have put them in a position where they didn't make much money on a job. Understood. Been there. But the original poster should understand that he has become a lightning rod for a lot of folks, based on assumptions they are making about his motives and what his arrangment was with the contractor.

    (2) No doubt the poster got a higher-quality result than if CPVC had been used -- likely a much-higher-quality one. (Assuming it was installed right, which I assume it was because the contractor was using a familiar material rather than an unfamiliar one.) In some sense, the contractor did "do him a favor", but it's not really a favor because the contractor charged him for it.

    (3) How this would come out in front of Judge Judy would depend upon a number of facts which we don't have in this case. I would want to know what was the agreement with the contractor about what work would be done, how much it would cost, and what materials would be used? It sounds like this was a time and materials deal, but I am assuming that the contractor AGREED to use customer supplied materials. I'm not clear how it is that the client went and bought CPVC. Did the contractor say he would use that material, and then couldn't figure it out? Did he say, "Get me 50 feet of 1-inch pipe" and the homeowner went and bought CPVC instead of the copper the contractor expected? There's some sort of disconnect here, and what the understanding was between the folks is going to determine how Judge Judy would decide.

    (4) Anyone who would recommend that the contractor go "rip it out" shouldn't be a licensed anything. Try to invade my home without authority and you could end up in jail or the hospital or both, before the lawsuit I would drop on you would mean I get your work van and tools.

    (5) Note the term "contract" in the word "contractor". The contract between these two, oral or written, would/should have covered what materials would be provided and by whom, and what the charge for installation would be. If the contractor knew he was expected to work with CPVC and that it would be provided by the homeowner and the homeowner provided what was expected, it's one outcome. If there was a different arrangement, then a different outcome. People have a right to ask for a less-expensive, lower-quality product. If someone asked for an Original Drake, Terry wouldn't just show up and put in a Neorest and expect the homeowner to pay him the full price of that product just because it's "better". On the other hand, if the type of toilet wasn't specified, most judges would apply a rule of reason.

    (6) Regardless, in the execution of any contract, communication is paramount. People can and should be able to work things out by phone, email, etc., and it's much better (and often required) that you get approval to make a change if you expect to be compensated for it. In a real AIA contract, changes require a change order. They are a pain, but the very best commercial contractors demand them every single time, regardless of whether the client rep is screaming that this problem needs to be solved now and they'll paper it later. That is a huge trap that many have fallen into, and most of the time the client rep isn't to be trusted.

    (7) No reason for the homeowner to be all huffy and threatening. Same for the contractor. Something unexpected occurred. There's an amount of money that should satisfy both, or equally-dissatisfy both. Life is too short. Assuming that both sides acted in good faith, they should figure out what is fair, based upon the circumstances, exchange that money, shake hands, and move on to do more stuff in the future.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2013
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