Advice Needed - Strata and Plumbing Costs

Hi all,

Hoping to get some advice regarding a situation that my friends are facing.

They had issues with the sewerage line for a while so they decided to call a plumber to unblock it. The plumber pulled out meters of tree roots, some of them were quite big. He also advised that the roots originated from the main line of the complex. Strata's plumber and sewerage plan of the complex confirmed this conclusion.

It took a while and many many emails for the Executive Committee (EC) to say that they failed to service the line properly and that they would cover the plumber's invoice. However, they said that the plumber's invoice was too high and they decided that they only wanted to pay 1/3 of the amount. One of the EC members works as an admin for a plumbing company so she chose items in the invoice that she thought should be paid and set a rate for those items. For example, she believed that he did not need to spend 4 hours pulling the roots out so she paid him 2 hours only.

Strata advised my friends that since EC has decided to pay for the invoice and asked my friends not to do anything with the invoice, my friends cannot do anything else, e.g. cannot/should not pay the rest of the invoice and try to claim it back from the EC.

My friends feel extremely bad for the plumber because he did a great job, had to spend so much time arguing with the EC to justify the invoice, and has been going through a busy time at home.

My friends would like to ask if there is legal ground for them to do and help the plumber. This is also to help them because they don't want to be blacklisted by good plumbers.

They are located in the ACT.

Many thanks in advance for your advice.

Comments

  • +5

    No advice to help , just wanted to say they sound like upstanding people

  • +1

    They should let the plumber know that if he wants to dispute the invoice with the EC in court ("No, I don't accept payment for only part of my time, I worked the full 4 hours and I'll be paid the full four hours" etc) that they'll provide a witness statement/affidavit/technical term for evidence that will support his line of argument.

    (e.g. "We confirm that he arrived at 9am and worked through to 2pm. He appeared to us to work hard and professionally and we saw no evidence of him deliberately wasting time to run up chargeable amounts. The roots that were removed were longer than a metre and ..")

    They would face the political risk of the EC deciding they are 'against them' now, because they're helping the plumber but that would always be a factor.

  • Im not sure what # we are up to now for not going near a place with Strata… I thought it was at least 5 billion..
    IMWO They are just a law unto themselves… totally

  • How much are we talkng about here? Did the plumber over charge? Is the Strata too stingy?

  • Does the time/work it equate $265/hr and $150/hr for helper or whatever a plumbers charge these days?

    • Wow. that $265/hour cost more than seeing a cardiologist specialist.

      source: https://heartspecialists.net.au/how-much-is-a-cardiologist-s...
      The average cardiologist earns around $350,000 a year. This translates to a cardiologist salary per hour of $170. According to a 2012 Medscape survey, it was the second-highest average salary for a medical discipline.

      • Thats what a cardiologist earns, not what she charges. I am pretty sure a cardiologist would charge on average $700hr, proably $180 for 10 minutes consultation.

  • +2

    What? Can strata do that? Pretty sure the plumber would have a case against them.

  • Ring up the ACT department that looks after strata issues and ask them:
    a) Who is responsible for the issue?
    b) In your situation can the strata pick and choose what to pay?
    c) In your situation who is responsible for playing the plumber's invoice. If the strata is then ask how you can apply for a dispute for the plumbers invoice that the plumber is not going to pay.

    There are allot of people on strata committees who think they know and they know jack sh(*T.

  • -1

    This must be the thousandth reason on these forums why you should live in a freestanding home.

    Strata in Australia seems like the HOA equivalent in the US. Full of bulltish.

  • +1

    There’s nothing stopping your friends from giving the plumber the additional money if they thought he deserved it and the EC are being petty. It could be cash, no record, a tip/gift etc. Keeps the plumber in the good books for them, leaves the strata as the bad guys.

    Best course is probably to contact local Strata advisory body and see what the most legal outcome would be.

  • What's stopping your friend from paying the outstanding amount?

  • +1

    One of the EC members works as an admin for a plumbing company so she chose items in the invoice that she thought should be paid and set a rate for those items. For example, she believed that he did not need to spend 4 hours pulling the roots out so she paid him 2 hours only.

    Politely inform the EC member who works as an admin for a plumbing company, AKA Karen, her firm did not do the job, so they don't get to price it, and unless she is a plumber, her advice/opinion is of no value.

    • well, if she works for the plumbing company and decided to send through an invoice less than what was worked, it is on her to remedy the situation (maybe the plumber could ask if she is intending to follow up the remaining invoiced amount or pay it out of her own pocket) …

      she could scream that he can't dock her pay packet, he can claim that she didn't do her job and acted fraudulently … used her position for unfair advantage …

      the admin lady is in the wrong, she's also on the executive committee and that's where the fraud comes in (if the plumber worked on her house, paying out of her own pocket, would she write it all off and say that the debt is zero?) …

      it's not strata, it's 100% the admin lady's fault

  • 《《They had issues with the sewerage line for a while so they decided to call a plumber to unblock it.

    If I'm the Plumber, I'll hold your friends accountable. The person who engaged the Plumber is responsible and they can't pass the buck to another person after the job is completed. Your friends should pay the Invoice now, and seek reimbursement from EC thereafter. In fact I think they are lucky that the EC is willing to pay part of it. Next time get EC's consent before the job starts.

    • well, friend called out plumber …
      all parties agree that it's strata's fault …
      someone on the strata committee works for plumbing company and sent through a reduced invoice (without approval) …

      strata has acted properly, plumber has acted properly, resident has acted properly, admin lady has done the wrong thing

      • maybe plumber can pay his admin person next week and pay her 1/3rd of what she actually worked and use the same justification "oh, you adjusted my invoice because you think i didn't work 4 hours, i adjusted your pay cheque because i thought you didn't work very hard"

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