Concreter has filled stormwater drain with concrete! Need advice!

Jacinda Callus
last month

A month ago we hired a licensed concreter to lay a slab to extend an existing patio area. Within this area is a shallow stormwater pipe running from the brick pole of the existing patio down past the existing slab into a drain pit with a grill to collect surface water. Another pipe also runs from the drain pit to another drain from the house and subsequently to the street flow. The concreter was asked to move the drain further out (approx. 1 metre) so that it would be accessible after the concrete was laid. This was agreed to prior to the job commencing. My husband was unable to be home that day but has text messages clearly advising the drain to be extended out. The concreter advised me that he found the drain too difficult to move so he would cover the drain with timber and concrete over it as it was not collecting any surface water so covering it would continue to allow both pipes to continue to flow under the slab. I advised him I had no knowledge of plumbing, drains or concreting and I would take his advice. (yes, stupid me). I was unable to watch the whole job get done but I did not see any covering over the stormwater drain at any time and the pipe was exposed when he commenced the digging for the site preparation. He stated to me he was "too lazy" to hand dig it anymore and called in a bobcat to dig out the rest. This machinery was running over the shallow pipe. Next thing I know, the concrete was poured and when I asked what he did to the drain, he said "all good, I've covered it with ply". There was also an air con drainage pipe that was running underground further on the other side of the slab that he told me he would extend out but concreted over instead, telling me afterwards that it was only a small amount of water so would be fine to concrete over. (the slab was already poured by then). 2 weeks after the slab was done, we had heavy rain and water started pouring out beside the base of the brick pole that has the downpipe running down. We called a plumber who inspected the pipe and drain with a camera and discovered that not only was the pipe split (most likely from the heavy machinery running over it) but the drain pit has been filled with concrete and not covered at all. There is nowhere for the stormwater to go and is now backing up the pipe. Thankfully the split and the weep hole near the bricks has stopped it from backing right up but the plumber has had to cut a hole in the pipe to ensure that water does not continue to back up until we can get it repaired. The camera clearly showed the drain filled with concrete. When we spoke to the concreter he was insistent it was covered UNTIL we sent him the footage in which case he shut right up and said nothing further. We sent them the plumber's quote to repair $4500 (cut concrete, replace pipes, clear drain, check for damage in other pipe running other direction ... which can't be done until he clears the drain, and reconcrete etc). We still copped oppositon from the concreter until we threatened to take it to QBCC. They are now offering to come out with their plumber to repair the work. Their 'plumber' is not a licenced plumber but apparently works for another plumbing company. From what we can gather, it's his mate coming to help him fix his work. As you can understand, we are very hesitant given the lack of ethics, dishonesty and negligent work that has been done to date. We have real concerns that during the repair further damage could be done to the other pipe leading from the blocked drain and the plumbing who originally quoted was going to check this with his camera once he cleared the drain. The concreter's plumber does not have access to a camera to do this. Several questions 1. do we have to allow the concreter the opportunity to fix his substandard work or can we demand he pay the licensed plumber who quoted? 2. should his plumber be licensed or can he work under the concreter's QBCC licence? (this is what they are telling us but the QBCC licence is a concreting licence under the concreter's name so not sure on this) 3. Where do we go from here if they do further damage? The original cost of the slab was $2200 and as we were paying cash he said he would do it for $2k (Given the GST amount I would say he is not declaring the job to the ATO). We do not have a written invoice but do have extensive texts and emails of their acceptance of the job, the job amount, amount paid and instructions regarding the drains. Any advice would be great as we really have no idea about these things (yes, very naive and trusting but lessons learnt). Thank you.


Comments (2)