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Damage to property caused by negligence
Topic: Damage to property caused by negligence
Posted: 15/May/2017 at 10:26
This is my first time posting so I hope I am in the correct place - I need advice about where I stand with a negligent tradesman who has caused damage to my investment property. Basically, a plumber came to my property to replace an underground leaking pipe. It appears that he had cut through the phone line whilst digging and has then tried to cover his tracks (see below for more details regarding this). Wondering if anyone can give me advice on how I should approach this? The repair bill is $260 so not a huge amount but we are struggling at the moment and we definitely do not need the expense, especially when we feel that the plumber is 100% at fault. A tradesman friend of mine has indicated that it may not be worth going to small claims for an amount as small as this. Any advice welcome and thanks in advance :-)
1. 27/02/2017 or thereabouts: Plumber was called to my house to investigate for potential leaks due to a very large water bill. I am not 100% certain of the date this occurred but the plumbing invoice is dated 27/02.2017. Leaking taps and above ground piping was fixed but a pressure test indicated a leak was still present. A work order was put through for this plumber to fix underground leak. Some time in this period lightning struck the house and damaged the tenant’s internet router. Note that the tenants NBN internet was working prior to this storm event.
2. 17/03/2017 or thereabouts: Work was successfully completed by the plumber to fix the underground. This was reported as successful. This is the only underground work that has been done in that area since I bought the place in 2009. All work occurred within my property boundary. I am not 100% certain of the day the work was done but the invoice from the plumber is dated 17/03/2017.
3. 27/03/2017 – NBN Co technician came to house. This work order was generated from discussions between the tenant and her ISP whilst trying to resolve her internet issues. He found that the underground Telstra/NBN Co wiring to the house (which was in the same spot as the underground plumbing work) had been chopped. He said he could not fix this at the time and rescheduled for another NBN Co job to occur. The tenant indicated that this job kept getting cancelled/postponed from NBN Co’s end. Photos were taken of the severed wire.
4. Mid-Late April: My tenant asked me to get involved as nothing seemed to be happening. The realestate was informed and they approached the plumber about the issue. He denied doing it.
5. 11/05/2017 – 11:27am: I personally rang the plumber. He still denied doing it although I was insistent that he was at fault. He stated that he had hand dug the trench so that if he had of hit the wire he would have known unless it wasn’t in conduit. I told him we are going to dig this up to investigate and asked him to ‘come to the party’ with this to which he begrudgingly agreed verbally. He also asked why this took so long to ‘raise its head’ to which I explained that we had been waiting on NBN Co.
6. An electrician was employed to investigate the underground cabling. He dug up the area and found that there was a metal pipe which had about 50cm of length taken out of it. Running water down the conduit where the Telstra cabling entered my house it was confirmed that this pipe was what had the phone line in it. I have photos showing the ends of the metal pipe where he removed the 50cm piece. The electrician then repaired this.
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