Series following tradesmen and looking at cowboy contractors. Plumber Graham has to do a little detective work with the neighbours when a woman's radiator springs a leak.
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-When a crisis strikes your home...
-'How can I help?'
'I've got a bit of an emergency.'
..or you want major work done...
-It was our dream.
-It is a total mess.
..you need one of the good guys.
But you don't always get them.
I've never seen anything like this.
Potentially, I stand to lose the house.
We'll hear the stories of devastation and despair left behind
when building work doesn't go to plan.
He didn't put the foundations all the way around,
-so the front bit didn't have any foundation.
And we'll tell you how to avoid becoming a victim yourself.
And did you have a comparison price?
But most tradesmen are there to help,
and we'll follow the response teams
who are there for you 24 hours a day...
Eventually, the ceiling would have come down in the kitchen.
..seven days a week.
It ain't everyone's cup of tea, but most people are pleased to see you.
From plumbers to roofers, electricians to locksmiths,
we meet the men and women who help you out in your hour of need.
This is the one, yes.
Coming up - a plumber comes to the rescue
when a pensioner's radiator springs a leak...
It was horrendous. I'm an old lady, I can't take flooding radiators!
..a roofer has to turn investigator to find out what's caused
a serious flood in a luxury tailors...
I'm kind of angry,
because it's obviously something that's really little
that's caused all this much damage.
..and a woman is left devastated when a careless conservatory-fitter
leaves her house unfinished and unsafe...
I felt as if I was in a nightmare,
and there was nothing I could do to get anything better.
..and I get to see the damage for myself.
-It's of a very poor standard, indeed.
-It is very poor.
Not every tradesman you invite into your home
will necessarily be a safe pair of hands.
In fact, a small minority are so slippery
it's hard to catch them - until it's too late.
Joyce Parks has lived in her home in Dudley for 27 years.
Cup of tea?
Joyce's husband Richard is severely disabled and isn't very mobile.
Because she cares for him on her own at home,
she knew the house would need to be altered,
to make things easier for both of them.
Getting Richard out of bed on a morning, it is very difficult,
because he's not very agile.
I have to dress him, shave him.
I even have to take him to the toilet on a commode.
And, uh, it is a difficult life.
Very, very gently. Gently.
I know if it was the other way around, Richard would do it for me.
In 2012, Joyce realised she needed to renovate the house
to make life easier for her and Richard.
She invested her life savings and her aunt's inheritance money
in some much-needed renovation work.
Little did she know then
that a wheelchair-friendly new extension, a wet room,
kitchen and garden landscaping
would end up costing her nearly £90,000,
when she had to pay twice
to get the shoddy work done by Jason Jones of Jones Windows put right.
I think it was a despicable thing he did.
But I feel that it is Richard, a disabled person,
that he has robbed.
As well as me, but mainly him.
And that's how I feel.
Joyce has clearly had a terrible experience,
so I've come to Dudley to hear the full story for myself.
-Hello, Joyce. How are you?
-Do come in.
-This is a nice big room, this one, isn't it?
And the builder you chose to do the work was a guy called Jason Jones?
-Was he recommended?
He was recommended to me by a chap who had done the roof.
Did a cracking job. And he brought him here.
His van had got "Jason Jones",
because he was a window and conservatory person.
-And that was his job.
-So he was like a double-glazing...
-..and conservatory contractor.
Although Jones was mainly a windows and conservatory fitter,
he convinced Joyce he could manage the whole build.
I asked him to give me a quote,
and when I said that Richard was going to go into hospital,
he said he could start that day,
and he would be finished the day that Richard would be back home.
Richard was about to have a six-week stay in hospital
to have an operation to treat bowel cancer.
Just one of the very serious conditions he's been battling.
-Was he aware of the condition your husband had?
-He knew that.
-He knew that?
-We had met him and he'd seen that.
-So he was fully aware...
-He was, yes.
-..before he started...
-..of what the whole project was about?
-Yes, he was.
-What it was based on?
Joyce had agreed to pay Jones £53,500 for the work,
but what she hadn't established were fixed payments
when different stages of the build were completed.
Always a mistake.
Did he ask for money upfront?
Yes, he wanted £8,000 contingency fund.
-Did you give it to him?
How long then before he asked you for the next payment?
-About a week.
-About a week?! Hmm.
-For how much?
Oh, I don't like the way this is going. I can see...
And how much work had he done?
But the work, although it had started well,
started to dwindle off
because neighbours were telling me, some days, no-one turned up.
Joyce had to move out of her home at this very stressful time.
She was staying with family
and visiting Richard in hospital every day,
as well as trying to keep an eye on the building work.
And, on top of this,
she was dealing with the most devastating news
any parent could have.
Her son, Neville, was terminally ill with throat cancer.
When Jason started,
only two months away from dying.
We didn't know that he was going to die,
but he did know that my son was in hospital.
And he knew he had got cancer.
He knew Richard had got cancer.
And he knew my circumstances.
But he took advantage.
Jones had promised Joyce that within six weeks
he'd be able to build a new extension,
convert the existing living room into a bedroom,
with en-suite wet room,
fit a new kitchen and landscape the garden.
All making the house wheelchair-friendly
for both Richard and the couple's son, Neville,
if he were ever well enough to visit again.
By now, his cancer had spread to his spine,
and he was confined to a wheelchair, too.
And, at home, very little progress was being made on the build.
It was very difficult because...
I could see that it wasn't going to be done in that six weeks.
As he'd started trailing off,
it wasn't going to be done in six months.
When you came back and you saw it, what stage was the work at?
-Was it nearly finished?
No, far from it. I had no kitchen.
And when I said, "Look, you must get me a kitchen. I need a kitchen.
"We need things for my husband."
Then he got the inside as finished as he possibly could,
within a matter of, say, four weeks.
But, even then, the workmanship was shoddy.
The conservatory was far from finished,
Richard's crucial wet room floor didn't drain,
and there were serious problems with the flooring throughout.
So who was controlling the quality of the work?
-Mmm... Yeah, well, there lies one of the problems.
And, of course, it couldn't be you,
because you were totally preoccupied with your husband and your son.
Well, that's right. And, of course, when my son died...
I went into numbness.
I just couldn't deal with anything.
And all I could say, kept saying to him was,
"Just finish, please. Finish."
I couldn't argue with him.
I knew the work wasn't right, but...
-You just wanted to see the back of him.
-Get it finished and go.
-Get out of my life.
Sadly, Joyce and Richard's son Neville
had died in February 2012.
I felt as if I was in a nightmare,
and there was nothing I could do...
..to get anything better.
And, to add insult to injury,
Jason Jones hadn't even tidied the site.
On the front of our garden
there had been an overflowing skip,
and it'd been there for such a long time.
And time and time again, I'd asked Jason to have it removed.
And the only time he decided to move it
was the night before my son's funeral.
What hurt me most
is I couldn't ask people back to my home...
..the day of my son's funeral.
Joyce had been through such an unbelievably sad experience,
it's no wonder she didn't have the energy to confront her builder
while she was in the midst of her grief.
Later, I get to see the workmanship for myself,
and I'm disgusted.
It's all just...
-It's just not very good.
And Joyce finally finds the strength to take a stand.
I've threatened him with getting Trading Standards in,
and they took the case up.
In North London, plumber and heating engineer Graham Gorb
has been called out to a house with a leaking radiator.
I don't know if they've managed to turn the radiator off.
I'm guessing, as they haven't phoned up again,
I'm assuming they've managed to get it to go off OK.
Carol Levitt has lived in her flat for 25 years
and has never had a problem with her radiators - until now.
Well, I got up in the morning,
I went to the radiator and there was a tiny little leak coming out of it.
So I phoned up Broits,
and I said, "We've got a leak in the radiator."
She said, "We're pretty busy, but we'll come out when we can."
And, suddenly, the water started absolutely pouring out.
And we got buckets and we got bowls and we rushed like lunatics.
And I phoned again, I said, "It's become an emergency.
"You've got to come quick."
So she told my husband exactly what to do
to turn off two valves either side,
which he did with a great deal of difficulty, I might add.
And she said she'll send Graham as soon as possible.
Hi, it's Graham.
-How are you?
-Oh, not very happy. It's been terrible.
-You've got a leak, I'm told.
-This is the one, yes.
It was absolutely pouring.
But now it's eased up a bit.
Julian unscrewed both sides.
And it seems to be - it was absolutely pouring out.
-I'll just make sure everything turned off properly.
It was horrendous. I'm an old lady, I can't take flooding radiators!
But... And the buckets and the bowls,
and the clearing up and the towels and everything else.
The towel at this end,
-was this valve started leaking when you turned it off?
-I'll just put a new valve on that.
It appears the radiator is split underneath and leaking.
A new valve will be a temporary fix,
but Carol will need a new radiator.
We might as well just change both the valves, while we're at it.
Put two new valves on it, new radiator.
It'll be stove-white enamels, so you don't need to paint them.
Oh, that's good.
Before Graham can do anything, he needs to check the boiler
to ensure there's enough water pressure
to enable him to drain and then refill a new radiator...
What I'll do...
..but Carol throws a spanner in the works.
Let's go and check the boiler pressure
and see what's happening.
I think something must have gone down,
because upstairs hasn't got water either.
That's not good. Have you got water down here?
Is that normal?
-Is it usually a lot better than that? It is, isn't it?
Maybe the water board have turned this street off, maybe.
What, all of a sudden when I've got the leak?
-That's very strange.
-I'm not sure.
Graham needs to find out from Carol's neighbours
if the mains water has been switched off.
The neighbour upstairs
has complained that they've lost their cold water.
And the water down here is... Is pretty rubbish.
So we're just trying to find out whether or not
if any of the neighbours have lost
their cold-water mains pressure.
And as Graham knocks on doors, the picture becomes clear.
In a bizarre coincidence,
the water board has turned the water off in the street
because of a flood nearby.
So, I'm sure by tomorrow morning it'll be back on
and we can sort it all out for her.
It does mean the end of a day's work for Graham.
If Graham took the radiator off the wall now,
he'd have to drain the system,
sending Carol's water pressure plummeting.
And because the water's cut off at the moment
he wouldn't be able to fill the system back up again.
Without adequate pressure,
combination or combi boilers like Carol's
can't supply heating or hot water.
-If I change the valve, I'll lose the system pressure.
Which normally is fine,
and then I can just come back to this filling loop
and fill the water back up.
But as there's no water coming in, I can't do that,
otherwise I'll leave you with no heating.
If you have a combi, it's really important
to keep the water pressure inside the boiler just right.
Usually between one and two on the gauge.
But your user manual or plumber can tell you for sure.
They'll also tell you how to regulate the pressure yourself,
by letting water in via your filling loop.
It's a straightforward job.
'It's far safer to leave Carol's boiler alone
'until the water board have turned everything back on,
'and she doesn't seem too worried.'
-OK, thanks very much.
-All right? Lovely.
-I'll see you tomorrow.
Well, it can't be done, it can't be done. What can you do?
You know, it's the water board that's cut off our water,
that's caused the problem.
It just happened to happen all at the wrong time.
'Back in Dudley, I'm getting to grips
'with the extent of the damage done to Joyce Parks' property.'
-There's a lot of give in that.
-It's like a springboard.
-That's not good.
'Jason Jones had promised
'a brand-new wheelchair-friendly extension,
'a wet room, kitchen and landscape garden,
'all with the aim of making care for Joyce's husband Richard easier.
'But after she paid out nearly £45,000 of the £53,500 quoted,
'Jones was nowhere to be seen.'
'His extension had to be rebuilt
'and his shoddy workmanship throughout
'means Joyce has been left with a kitchen that's barely workable,
'and a wet room that doesn't drain.'
-This is not a very good quality, cos it's already lifted.
'In the kitchen, I can see for myself
'that the work done is really substandard.'
The rule of thumb is the lines that you have
-should run parallel with the lines below.
-That's how it works.
The door handles, they should be together, not in the middle.
And that isn't connected
and, really, we should have one that takes it outside.
Well, yeah, yeah. Cos I'm looking at the window
and you've obviously got serious condensation problem.
Yes, that's right.
-This is a dishwasher, I presume?
And then, of course,
how are you supposed to open that cupboard properly
against the dishwasher face like that?
Well, if this is open anyway,
you do have problems again.
It's not very good.
I think, really...there's not that much salvageable with this.
You'd be better off to have it all out and have a new one put in.
-Let's have a look in the wet room.
-I know you've had that done.
'The wet room was supposed to be a bathroom
'that Richard could access easily in his wheelchair
'and wash without Joyce having to lift him into a bath
'or enclosed shower.
'So it's vital the floor is angled
'so that the water drains away easily.'
-This doesn't seem to me to be the lowest point in the room.
-So how is the water expected to drain?
-It doesn't. It floods.
All this has got to come up.
This has all got to be ripped up to be done again.
'Joyce was still grieving for her son
'and providing 24-hour care for her husband, Richard.'
'But she eventually found the strength
'to report Jason's shoddy work.'
I threatened him with getting Trading Standards in and he called my bluff
and in the end he said, "Well, if you feel happy, call them in" and I did.
-And they took the case up.
-They must have been appalled. Was it that bad?
It was so bad.
The building inspector,
when he walked into the orangery, he said,
"He has put lintels where RSJs should be", and they were bending.
And he checked how far down the footings had gone
and, instead of going down for a metre,
they were 27 centimetres.
So, really, the place, it was dangerous.
So they put a dangerous-structure notice on,
-which would have meant you had to demolish it?
-We had to demolish it.
-All that money. All wasted.
Now, when you contacted Trading Standards,
did they have any track record of this guy?
-He'd had five CJs against him.
-County Court Judgements?
-He had five against him, so he had a track record.
-He did. Yeah.
So what happened to him? He came unstuck, cos Trading Standards...
Yes, they took him to court.
And the outcome of that?
He was convicted.
'Jones received a four-month prison sentence suspended for 12 months.'
He'd got to give me £5,000 compensation.
-That's small potatoes, really...
-I know it is.
..for what you've lain out.
-And how much has he given you so far?
This looks a very pleasant, well-built building now,
so did you have it all rebuilt by somebody else?
Yes, we brought another builder in.
Again, he was recommended, and this time I did see his work.
He demolished it and he's rebuilt,
and we're absolutely delighted with the end result of it.
-So, you've had to pay all over again.
-Again, yes. Yes.
Jason Jones had taken £44,900 from Joyce
before he'd start work.
She then paid another builder £28,000
to take down and rebuild the extension.
£12,000 to landscape her garden
and £3,000 on lawyer fees.
A total of £87,900.
And even after spending all that money,
she's still left with an unusable wet room
and a badly installed kitchen.
'Well, it's a sorry tale and an awful experience for Joyce
'who's going through such a tough time
'without all this building stress on her plate too,
'but there is some light at the end of the tunnel.'
-Well, Joyce, it's been a real pleasure meeting you.
Because of your actions,
you have saved lots of potential victims
getting into the same difficulties as you did.
Well, I think he's had his comeuppance.
-So, on that, I congratulate you.
'It's worth remembering the lessons Joyce learned
'if you're thinking of renovating your home.
'If you're doing a big job, make sure it's worth it.
'For some people,
'it's cheaper to knock down and rebuild rather than renovate.
'Secondly, if you're a novice,
'make sure you get a project manager who isn't.
'And, thirdly, always, always
'check out your builder's credentials and expertise.
'If they're a window-fitter or a plumber,
'that doesn't qualify them to do a great job building an extension.
'That's a different set of skills altogether.'
It's a rainy Monday morning on London's Savile Row,
home to the best of British tailoring,
and roofer Jason Ross has been summoned to a sartorial emergency.
A waterlogged roof terrace
has flooded a tailor's that's safely existed in this listed building
for nearly 70 years.
First port of call will just be assess the insides, the damage,
and then get up on to the roof and take it from there, really.
Hi there. Hi, Felicity.
-How you doing? Come to look at the roof.
Is that OK to see the damage first of all?
-Yes, I think it's best to take you upstairs.
'As they head up the four flights of stairs from the shop floor,
'it's clear that there's a rich history in the building
'and an awful lot that could be water-damaged.'
I came in this morning, come up the stairs here
and there was water rushing.
-The cleaner came in at 6am...
-..and put some buckets.
It's coming through one of the cupboards
and I think it's coming from the flat roof.
-The access on to the roof is...
-Yeah, up the top.
-..this way, presumably.
-This is where the damage is coming from.
-That's quite a lot.
'Shocked at the amount of water that's getting in,
'Jason heads up to the roof to find out what's going on.'
I'm just going to have a look in there.
While he searches for the cause of the large pool of water on the roof,
office manager Felicity inspects the damage
to the building's luxury decor.
My main concern is obviously the wallpaper.
Being hand-painted, it's quite expensive
and a traditional part of this building.
The wallpaper would cost a small fortune to replace
but, before any redecorating is planned,
Jason has to get to the source of the problem
and find out why the water isn't draining from the roof.
Here we go. Mini Ritz.
It's one of the quickest jobs he's ever resolved.
The crisp bag was simply blocking the drain.
This is just blowing about in the air and it's covered the outlet,
which has caused all of this water to sit here.
And that is generally it.
As you can see, it's now flowing away nicely.
Just one tiny piece of litter
has caused massive damage to this grand historic building.
Jason's happy he solved the problem,
but Felicity can't quite share his joy.
I'm kind of angry a little bit,
cos it's something that's really little
that's caused all this much damage.
-Thank you so much.
-Take care. Look after yourself.
Thanks so much for coming.
Back in North London, Carol survived the night
without a working radiator in her bathroom.
The bathroom didn't have heating, but all the rest of the flat,
so I left the door open so it's reasonably warm in the bathroom,
so everywhere else has been fine.
And now the street's water has been turned back on,
plumber Graham can drain the heating system, fit a new radiator
and get her boiler's water pressure back to normal.
This is an old rad, so...
It would be no good if they lasted forever.
I'd have no work. I've got a family to feed.
Graham can now get a good look at it
and he can see the real cause of the leak.
The radiator's metal seam is completely split.
I've tipped it upside down now
so the hole that was at the bottom here somewhere,
over here by the looks of it, that's where it was coming out of.
It's a relatively easy job to get the new radiator into place
and fitting an average model might set you back about £150.
Once it's on the wall, it's just a matter of checking for leaks.
There's the water coming through that side. Can't see anything.
And a final task, making sure there's no air in the system.
This is venting the radiator so we're just getting the air out.
So if we were to turn the heating system on now,
before I finish venting, say the water's only up to here,
you'd find it would be hot here and cold here.
It would be hot at the bottom, cold at the top.
Depends, obviously, where the water level is.
But that's how you can tell whether or not you've got air in the system.
And it's important to vent or bleed your radiators regularly.
If you notice a radiator only has patchy heat, or no heat at all,
use a radiator key and carefully let the air out,
holding a towel or cloth under the valve.
With all the air out, the radiator can fill with water,
giving you an even temperature.
I suppose I should just turn it on, make sure it works.
Normally I charge extra to make it work(!)
It's a success and, to give Carol a bit of a saving,
Graham's fitted the radiator with a thermostatic valve.
Once a certain temperature's been reached,
the radiator will turn itself off and save wasting extra energy.
I've got to clear up, get to my next job.
-OK, I'll see you later then.
-OK, thanks very much, Graham.
That's all right. Bye.
In Dudley, Joyce Parks is still waiting for Jason Jones to
give back another £4,500 that the court ordered him to pay
and she can't afford to finish off her house until he does.
And, on Savile Row, it turned into a double whammy for Jason.
As the water finally gushed down the cleared pipe on the roof,
it overwhelmed the drains
and water backed up into the tailors' basement.
Luckily, Jason was still on hand
and carried out a quick test to ensure it wouldn't happen again.
The pipe work is...
Quite clearly you can see a flow of water running through here.
And it's problem solved.
-There isn't any issues.
-There's some good news.
-Yeah, there is.
Tommy meets plucky pensioner Joyce, who paid a contractor over £40,000 to renovate her home for her and her disabled husband. With work not up to scratch and the builder nowhere to be seen, Joyce is determined to fight back. Plumber Graham has to do a little detective work with the neighbours when a woman's radiator springs a leak.