Vanzone has teamed up with Rhys James of RJ Plumbing to discuss the very worst jobs he has experienced in his 25 years in the trade. From shoddy workmanship to some gruesome surprises, Rhys shares some of his most gobsmacking experiences on the job.
Rhys says: “Having been a plumber for so long, you’re naturally going to come across some interesting jobs to put it lightly. No matter what the job entails, it’s always been my intention to put things right for the customer to the best of my ability”
“I’ve come across my fair share of creepy crawlies as well as a fair few larger animals both dead and alive, neither of which are pleasant experiences. The one, or in this case many that stick out in my mind was when I had a job re-plumbing the toilets in a very old bed and breakfast.
“To get to the ancient pipework I was replacing involved getting into the walls and assessing the situation that way. Brushing away a cobweb here and a spider there, I got to one point where much to my surprise I was met by a family of bats! Somehow I managed to not disturb them but got out of there pretty quickly and tried a different route.”
“Having fitted the clients’ shower I tested the water pressure, to which there was almost none. After inspecting the boiler and shower thoroughly, I was met with a shriek downstairs to find water had been blasting through the fireplace. The first fixer had got their pipes mixed up and drilled directly into an old gas pipe feeding into the living room! Thankfully it was rectifiable, which is more than could be said for the fireplace and carpet!”
Bursting at the seams
“Another hotel related story here but one that can only be blamed on me. I was replacing a huge hot water cylinder in a hotel, which firstly involved turning off the cold mains to the loft where the water feeds the storage tanks above each hotel room. It must’ve been years since the water had been turned off in this place, and with a load of unsupported pipes this was a recipe for disaster.
“Went for some lunch back in the van having filled up the cylinder perfectly. It was only when I was sitting in the van did I hear huge splashes of water bursting from the eaves of the roof onto the ground below. Having drained the gallons of water from the cylinder, the pressure was relieved on a 28mm pipe that, once refilled, just snapped instantly flooding six hotel rooms… not my finest work.”
Film studio flooding
“Changing a fitting in the men’s toilets of a film studio (whose name I won’t mention) with my apprentice (whose name I also won’t mention). This involved isolating the water to the corridor where the men’s toilets were located. A job my apprentice could handle, or at least I thought!
“Cut to the incorrect valve being closed and five bar water pressure flooding the entire bathroom, corridor and prop room of this highly renowned studio. Myself and a soggy apprentice got everything sorted but won’t be called back for auditions any time soon!”