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Asbestos and pin hole leaks

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  • drainman scott
    commented on 's reply
    It was the HO's attorney ... I had a picture of behind the base cabinet and it was black mold and the fact that I mentioned the preexisting mold on my invoice whereas the likelihood where slim to none on the HO winning but still cost me 700 bucks to be rid of it and I agree it does look like that's happening to the OP.

  • blue_can
    commented on 's reply
    Did the letter come from the HO's attorney or the insurance company? Either way they want someone else to pay for the work which is what appears to be happening with the OP. Which is why it is good to have the correct contracts for the work to make sure you are not exposed to claims like this.

  • drainman scott
    replied
    I use a separate Indemnity Agreement signed by both myself and the homeowner . In it it clearly states I cannot be liable for any lead paint ... asbestos .. mold ect. in my participation in a repair ( in your case a leaky water pipe ) .

    A few years back I serviced a clogged kitchen sink drain for a homeowner who had a apartment above his residence .. What was happening was when the line backed up water would come out of a loose slip fit on a P trap and running down behind the cabinet .

    It must of been leaking for a while because you could see the mold that has formed on the wall , so I cleared the drain and tightened up slip informed the homeowner of the mold got a pic and wrote it on my invoice .

    What happened after that is the homeowner contacted his insurance co and I guess the extent of the mold was bad enough to make the whole premise uninhabitable until remediation. Then came a letter from a attorney that my participation in repairing the leak ( loose slip fit ) made me partially liable . Also in the intent to sue letter the attorney requested a copy of my liability Insurance.

    I contacted my liability insurance company explained what happened faxed a copy of letter and there response was I was not covered and would need to have pollution coverage since the mold was not caused by me . To speed up the story I hired a attorney in which told Mr homeowner that he will be paying his ( my attorney ) hourly rate if this went any further .. Never heard from them again .

    I don't cut into many walls in my line of work but a Indemnity Agreement would cover your butt in such cases and or pollution insurance .

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  • blue_can
    replied
    Originally posted by JeffH View Post
    It just seems rather asinine to make a customer not only wait for testing, but also incur the cost of testing, when the fix for a pin hole leak can often take less than an hour. It’s just that I’ve yet to be able to find something in writing that officially gives the plumber latitude. In reality, if I tell a customer, gee, I would love to address your problem now, but between the 3 days of testing and the cost of testing that $200 fix will now total $400 to $1000 depending on a slew of outcomes. My bet is that the Customer will simply find someone who will fix it on the spot and charge 200 bucks.
    It's called a service and repair contract under California contracting law and is designed for quick repairs and emergency situations. The customer is advised of potential issues but the intent is for them to make an immediate decision which in most cases will be to go ahead asap. The customer will still be liable for incurring any cost of cleanup if issues are found. If you friend is a plumber he should know about all this since you have to know this stuff when you take your law and business portion of the exam. There are several companies who sell the necessary contract paperwork which your friend should be using in his contracting to protect himself from issues like this.

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  • Bob D.
    commented on 's reply
    I agree that there should be some allowance (and there may well be I haven't looked for it) for emergency repairs and/or repairs under a certain size (volume or square footage, whatever applies) to allow the type of work mentioned here to proceed without imposing undue hardship and expense on the HO or client. There must be some latitude for these situations. If it affects your job then it would seem to pay to find out. for a contractor I would think they would have the answer before hand and certainly after having gone through it once they would know how to proceed AND stay within the regs and also to cover their butt legally from any backlash.

  • JeffH
    replied
    It just seems rather asinine to make a customer not only wait for testing, but also incur the cost of testing, when the fix for a pin hole leak can often take less than an hour. It’s just that I’ve yet to be able to find something in writing that officially gives the plumber latitude. In reality, if I tell a customer, gee, I would love to address your problem now, but between the 3 days of testing and the cost of testing that $200 fix will now total $400 to $1000 depending on a slew of outcomes. My bet is that the Customer will simply find someone who will fix it on the spot and charge 200 bucks.

    Leave a comment:


  • blue_can
    replied
    Bob that's a fair point The wording in my contract is fairly extensive - I did not write it but use the already available ready to go contact which conform to local laws. The only responsibility put on the contractor is if asbestos or mold is discovered they have to stop work immediately and inform the home owner. The contract does not refer to specifics like the contractor advising the HO about asbestos in structures before a certain year etc. However it does warn the HO that about the possibility of finding these things and the risks associated with that before the start of work. The contractor can also verbally inform the customer but they are supposed to read the contract fully before the start of work.

    In addition emergency repairs carry a lower threshold - for example in a situation where there is a leak that needs work right away the HO will probably elect to go ahead with the repair right away. There is a different contract for those sorts of repairs but with similar wording on the discovery of hazardous substances.

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  • Bob D.
    replied
    While I agree with the disclaimers to a point don't all contractors have to be aware of when they may run into potential for asbestos AND then take the appropriate action which in this case should have been some testing and advise the HO of the result. AND if not qualified to deal with the hazard tell the HO they need to contact someone who is. The job should have started with "when was this house built?" and if before 1975 then make the assumption that there is a very good chance of asbestos (and probably lead too) somewhere in the house, even if it's just lead in the paint on the section of wall that has to be opened up.

    I say to a point because if a contractor does not ask how old the structure is and test before they go to work then aren't they the ones creating the hazard by disturbing the asbestos. On the other hand a HO with an older home should also be aware that their home may contain asbestos and if they know it does should be required to tell any contractor coming to work on their property of the existence of lead or asbestos.

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  • blue_can
    replied
    Is your friend a licensed plumbing contractor in CA (C36) and if so did he issue the correct disclaimers in his contract. I happen to be a licensed HVAC contractor in CA (C20) and I always use the correctly worded forms for contracts and bids. Those forms clearly state among other things that the contractor will not be held responsible in the event of discovery of things like mold and asbestos that he did not cause. If he had the appropriate disclaimers in his contract he should be fine.

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  • CWSmith
    replied
    I'm not a contractor, but that seems to me to be something you need to put in your contract (that you have no liability for hazard materials that may be part of the construction). Certainly, you should be able to seal up anything like a hole that had to be drilled and in the process found something like asbestos, but that should be the limit of it.

    How can you or anyone be liable when you are called in for a repair and find such things? In my own home experience, I seen asbestos tape around furnace ducts, asbestos cement around furnace flues, vermiculite insulation poured in attics, etc. Someone calls you to come in and do work and you uncover any of that and YOU should be held liable is ridiculous, in my opinion.

    I had in inspection done on my garage a few years ago, as I wanted to cut a doorway into one side. There was a window there and the inspector said that the caulking looked like it could have asbestos in it. He advised that I pull that out and either through it away or hide it somewhere and call him back, because otherwise he'd have to include that in his report.

    CWS

    Leave a comment:


  • JeffH
    started a topic Asbestos and pin hole leaks

    Asbestos and pin hole leaks

    in CA.
    How do we deal with homes built up until the mid 80’s?
    A plumber friend of mine got into trouble for opening up a small area of drywall to fix an interior pin hole leak. The Customer decided to call their insurance after the fix. The insurance company test for asbestos. The test came back positive. Now, the the room has to be abated due to exposed asbestos. The Customer is holding my buddy responsible.

    Dang, are we allowed to fix anything on the spot? Do the Customers have to live without water until asbestos testing. Talk about hand tying.
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