I am livid!

7 Aug, '06

I came home this afternoon with the full intent to kill someone. Because of this:

housedamage.jpg

Only by supreme will did I manage to keep my temper low enough not to kill the two bastards who did this damage, but high enough to really feel my heart about to explode out of my chest.

Let me tell you the story:

For months now we have suffered a leak on one part of the living room ceiling and I brought one plumber after the other to fix it. They all did some work and swore on their mother’s dry left tit that there was no way on God’s green earth that I will see this leak ever again. Fine. They get paid, walk out, get the decorators in once that patch dries to repaint and fix the gypsum work. Only a few days later the patch magically re-appears!

Another plumber, who a friend or a friend of a friend vouches for gets dragged in and he swears on his father’s right testicle, the one he is sure to have emanated from into a goat’s behind, that everything is “most definitely” fixed now. Gets paid. Decorators get called in after a few days, and the cycle continues.

I frankly got fed up of this, so I decided to get a “real” plumbing company to come and have a look and suggest a final solution to the problem. That company was highly recommended by my cousin who is using them to construct his house. He vouches for them and I trust him. A delegation comes over, hums and haws, looks and measures and the brainfart ensues:

I have to remove the complete shower tray, reseal the whole area there with “proper” water proofing and everything is going to be ok.

The cost is going to be BD250. And the work is going to take about 10 days, and I have to provide the tiles, which, of course are no longer available from their original supplier – who boasts that they always change their whole stock every six months and never import back the same tiles they have already sold only a couple of years ago! You know what that means? That means that I have to now replace the whole floor, if not the walls as well!

Fine, okay, just get the bloody thing fixed already!

They get paid the 50% down payment, they rip that part of the bathroom off, water proof it, wait a couple of days to get it to dry, fill the area with water to ensure that they have fixed the bloody thing.

The next day, for some reason, I notice that the patch downstairs on the ceiling is about 3 times the size it was at!

Call them in, another huge conference and assurances that it was not the shower stall after all, but the original water proofing material used when they built the house 3 years ago is damaged and they didn’t do a good job, so we now have to remove the WHOLE bathroom floor and reseal it!

Another quotation, this time 3 times the estimate I was originally given gets faxed, terms agreed, a further payment made and they bring two more brainiacs to start the work, the results of which you can see. In one day, they have destroyed the whole floor of the bathroom, and now our bedroom literally looks like a building site.

I can live with that, as long as the problem gets fixed.

I get a call this afternoon from the foreman saying that they didn’t find a leak in the bathroom and now he has to break the ceiling to see where the leak is!

NO, DON’T, STOP. LET ME COME AND HAVE A LOOK.

Of course he doesn’t, and I come home to a huge hole in the ceiling as you can see from the picture, and true enough, the water was dripping from the created hole.

Did they find a leak from that location?

NO.

They have to break ANOTHER part of the ceiling to try to find the pipes and connectors!

WHAT?

That’s when I lost it.

I don’t mind paying “professionals” over and above the market rate in order to get peace of mind. I don’t mind paying them more than the going rate with the promise that as they are “professionals” they will save me the money and heartache from doing a proper job, rather than shoot in the dark and hope that they will find a fix. I believe in the local adage that says “give the baker his bread even if he eats half of it” which means that give everyone their proper due and defer to experience.

What I DO mind; however, is stupid sons of bitches who claim to be professional and treat my home as their own private building site and they go around with a huge bloody hammer knocking everything helter skelter without the slightest inkling on what the bloody problem is!

They broke the bathroom without any reason whatsoever and we have been, and will continue to be, inconvenienced for another month because of their incompetence.

I threw the two stupid dickheads out of the house.

I called their manger and handed him his balls on the phone.

He, if he is man enough, will come and meet me at 8am tomorrow morning to a “conference” to get the damage fixed pronto, or I don’t mind one bit taking his and his company’s sorry asses to court even if it took me the rest of my life.

It’s my home for Goodness’ sake. How dare they screw up with my happiness like this?

Is there a professional organisation in Bahrain that I can complain to?

MUCH more important, do you guys know of a reputable maintenance company that could do the job with the minimum amount of damage?

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  1. Mahmood’s Den · Our living room is back! | 31 Aug, '06
  1. Wearyman says:

    Yikes!

    I can understand why you’re upset. What a mess!

    Is it just that Bahrain is such a small country that there aren’t any good plumbers, or have you just been having the worst luck imaginable?

    I do wonder why they don’t have Snake Cameras for exploratory work such as that. Most of the larger plumbing outfits in my area (Buffalo NY, USA) have these tiny cameras mounted on the ends of long flexible cables that they can “snake” through the joists in walls when they run into a problem with a leak in an area that is all sealed up. They usually have to make at least one hole, but it’s only about 2 cm across and easily patched.

    Of course, if your home is of a masonry + steel construction it’s much harder to use these, as there aren’t many holes to go through. In that case exploratory cutting can often be the only way to go.

    There is also a third problem. It could be that it isn’t a water leak at all anymore. Yes, there might have been one at one time, but now you just have minerals and oxidation embedded in the ceiling material, and that keeps “growing” in a downward direction, staining any new plaster and paint you are overlaying it with. I have seen this in my own home, where a watermark kept “leaching” through fresh layers of paint, even though the ceiling was bone dry. It’s some sort of chemical process that I don’t pretend to fully understand, but nevertheless still happened. I ended up replacing the drywall in that area and the stain has not returned.

    Well, the best of luck to you, I hope you get your issue fixed, and soon. Just try to remain as calm as you can, and know that it could be worse. Look what happened to me: http://wearyman.blogspot.com/2005/05/this-is-getting-expensive.html#links

  2. mahmood says:

    Ah, I feel for you WearyMan, I do.

    I would feel a lot happier; however, is if I get to know exactly what the hell is wrong. As a trained engineer in my previous life, it was drilled into me to first investigate all the non-invasive methods to find out what is wrong before you go get a hammer. These people obviously didn’t attend that class, and their method is break it first and get someone else to fix it, and who’s the mug who’s got to pay for their mess? Yep, you guessed it, moi.

    I just called the actual developer of the property, and as expected, he’s offloading it onto someone else in the office to call in the morning.

    The fun continues.

    I’m not sure though if I’ll be around to enjoy it. I shudder to think what my blood pressure is at the moment.

    Thanks for your support though, reading your link, it helped.

  3. Troy Z says:

    Isn’t there an equivalent of a contractor licensing regulatory system or a Better Business Bureau in the Bahraini Governmental system? If so, isn’t there an official database that can be referenced for reviewing and reporting shoddy workmanship for these registered professionals?

    …if there isn’t, did we just find your New Project?

  4. Ethan says:

    I do hope this gets sorted through, Mahmood. There is nothing more irritating than shoddy craftsmanship. In my apartment about a year ago, my wife accidentally knocked in part of the wall near the tub by leaning on it. The maintainance folks figured it was a bad timber, and replaced the tiling and shored up the wall.

    Turns out there was a reason it was bad. One bit of piping in our back closet had broken, spraying a fine mist of water inside the wall. It’d been that way for years, and none of the previous occupants noticed it. Because of that, our back closet had flooded and the timbers near the shower had rotted, and we were none for the wiser of this whole situation until I went into the closet to pull out some things, which had been destroyed by the water that had soaked THROUGH the carpet.

    We had to pull everything out, discarded a lot of water-destroyed things, including some heirlooms that we’d thought were safe. The maintainace crew had to rip apart the wall to fix the damned thing.

    All for a single crack no bigger than a millimeter that had been left to fester for about 4-5 years.

  5. M says:

    Ah, Mahmood; it’s not the least bit funny, but I did have to wipe the tears of laughter from my eyes several times while I was reading your story. We all have our own version of this story and can certainly feel your….pain. Your colorful “descriptions” of the situation certainly expresses your true feelings, and I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of any of that.

    What a heartbreaking situtation. Hoping for the best!

  6. Ingrid says:

    Mahmoud, I cannot say anything but; I am proud of you for keeping your cool like that. I think you could have gotten away with voluntary manslaughter on this one! Oh brother…tsk tsk..
    Ingrid

  7. bahraini4eva says:

    I’m sorry to hear of this Mahmood. I can’t even begin to imagine how irritated and upset you must be over this complete mess. As for my part, I think you should look at this company http://www.fakhro.com/contracting.htm

    Let me know if I could be of any further assitance please :)!

  8. Johnster says:

    Well, I think you have found the answer to your other thread “What business should I set up next?”

  9. Dude, you’ve encountered what Boilerman terms an Unintentionally Villanous Person (UVP.) Not a full-fledged villain mind you, rather a dumbass who doesn’t know shit and just ends up screwing you real bad.

    It’s worrying with all the UVP’s around the country, and with all the residential developments going on. Boilerman says, “If I learned anything living in Bahrain, it’s to do it myself… that’s why I’m a mechanic, gardener, cook, satellite repair man, computer expert and electrician all at once.” Ladies, I’m not married 🙂

    Boiler hopes mahmood gets over this real quick.

  10. Johnster says:

    and now Mahmood, you’ve found the managing director of the new company in the shape of Boilerman_Superhero!!!

  11. Ibn says:

    Yikes Mahmood,

    My deepest sympathies go out to you – this really blows! One thing I have often wondered is why plumbing is so archaic even in this day and age. How hard is it to place simple water/pressure sensors on the linings of the pipes and have them route the data to some screen in the house, so that you can very easily isolate the problem? I bet I could design the damn thing!

    Although I have noticed that alot of the houses in the Gulf countries are ALOT more modern and stable that shabby wooden houses here in the US. I for one do not understand how or why people in Florida keep re-building wooden houses time and time again in the face of hurricane after hurricane. You would think they would go steel-stone instead of just wood.

    My sympathies go out to you Mahmood – one of my biggest pet-peeves is just what you have expereinced – shady “professionals” coming in and promising to get whatever it is they havent yet even diagnosed fixed, and then running with the money. I want to corner them and just scream into their faces “Didnt you say you got this fixed?!”

    It would seem the problem here Mahmood is that there has been no diagnosis of the actual problem! Where is this leak coming from? It seems like they tried to fix something that you dont know is broken.

    -Ibn

  12. mahmood says:

    Johnster you’re so right, Boilerman I’ve got a business proposition for you, with profit sharing in mind!

    Ibn, what a fantastic idea having those pressure sensors on the lines, at least they could act as circuit breakers or earth-leakage detectors, if the pressure is lower/higher than it should be, light a warning bulb somewhere!

    Boiler, are you listening? This is our business venture sorted, complete with MANUFACTURING facility thrown in to satisfy Ibn’s brain-wave!

    You and I are looking at richdom, but will have to pay consultancy fees to Johnster for putting two and three together. 😉

  13. Boilerman says:

    I sure am listening!

    Sounds like a plan!

    B M R C

    We’re NON-UVP guaranteed!

  14. ^river^ says:

    my sympathies ….if you recall, I did mention something a few years back about home owned lol I know it’s not funny but it is something all of us homeowners have deal with.

    Good luck and breath deeply!

    Hugzzz
    River

  15. Anonymous says:

    Little knowledge is so so dangerous! This not only applies to science, politics, economics and religion… Handy men are included in the equation!

    Once bitten twice shy…I hope

    My sympathies

  16. A learner of Arabic says:

    “They [—] swore on their mother’s dry left tit”

    Now, I think I am not the only one who would like to see what that would be in Arabic, just for the sake of, uhmm, philological interest.

  17. A learner of Arabic says:

    Troy Z:”Isn’t there an equivalent of a contractor licensing regulatory system or a Better Business Bureau in the Bahraini Governmental system? [—]…if there isn’t, did we just find your New Project?”

    I think this could indeed be a good New Project for Mahmood. So, Mahmood, let this be your project. Bahrain needs you. Your Country is calling.

  18. Solas says:

    uggggggh! Mahmood I sympathise, I really do. We had that problem in two of our houses and came home one day to find that the bath from upstairs had decided to relocate itself to the kitchen table, the leak was so bad. Alot of new concrete builds have this problem for reason, no idea why.

    However, nothing and I mean nothing, compares to what I went through today….Shopping in Dublin! Cruelty to humans I say! The heat, the humidity and the bloody shufflers! you know the people I’m talking about? The ones that walk like a snail and won’t let you pass. You go left, they go left and so on…….arrrrrrrrrrrrggggggggggggh!!! Is it wrong to want to hit someone the same age as my granny? Any possible exceptional circumstances?
    Jesus H. Christ I’m starting to look forward to Seef Mall on a Thursday at this stage, at least I can relax have a sheesha. Be warned Saudis, I’ve been home and I’ve toughed up again. I won’t be nice this Thursday, I’m gonna be a shuffler!

  19. Cynthia says:

    Mahmood…

    Man…I got to say you made my day! Sorry…I really do sympathize with your plumber nightmare, having lived through the same hell myself…but just to read your story made me realize today what a really small world this is. Believe me…. I needed the reminder.

    Good luck my friend.

  20. Walt says:

    My sympathies go out to you to. It’s been years since I owned my own home, but know what it is like. Constantly dealing with the upkeep of a property. Something always needs attention,but as an apartment dweller. Life isn’t any better. Even with built in mantinance services.

    Four times called the MEGA A–holes we rent from to fix the Air Conditioner. Hearing the fourth time, “We’ll issue a work order”, My reply”Oh Yea, but will you really fixed it this time?” Even told them what the problems were. LARGELY was the inside expansion coil, 70% blocked by dust & grim. Finally just fixed it myself.What a job, crappy A/C design. The entire interior assembly had to be disasembled to get to the coil, wiring and all. A can of degreaser, a nylon brush , two cans of compressed air,reassembly, rewiring & two hours later. With a lot of profanities, an angry wife (helper), had it all back together. A net gain of 5 degrees F. Next weekend when the apartment staff was gone. Disassembled the exterior unit & cleaned the coils. A net gain of 3 degrees F. Thought about raising hell about it, but since I did the work myself, would be liable if somethin went wrong. So kept my silence, but the place is finally cooling.

    About 50% of the A/C units in this place are the original 1980’s era units. The rest are 2000+ high energy efficency replacements. Mine is the former. They won’t replace one till it is shot & can’t be repaired. Figure as long as I’m doing my own mantinance. Thinking about doing a transplant next time a unit with a newer Hi-Eff A/C is empty. Lack a vacuum pump. The rest of the materials I have, or can get on short notice.

    The only thing on earth worse than a Plumbing contractor. Is an Auto mechanic.

  21. Mohammed Issa says:

    tell me about it!
    i just moved to a new home,
    i have a guy who’s a plumper, electrician, builder, nuclear expert, computer engineer, psychiatric and every profession you can think of.
    i had stay home for 6 days now to give him what he wants, i just have the door bell to fix now, last thing he told me after 5 hours of messing around with the bell “Fixing OK, working no!”
    then i had to pick up a painter who has no brush, no paint or any other tool… that’s like a mullah who doesn’t know quran :p

  22. tooners says:

    Mahmood, I feel for you! I can truly relate. We are constantly having trouble w/ the plumbing in our house (altho it’s much older than yours) and can’t find a good plumber, who really knows their stuff, to save our lives. We’ve gone thru plumber after plumber but a few problems seem to linger w/ no help in sight. We finally have a guy that is helping a lot but I don’t think he’d be good for your job.

    You know, I wrote in to the GDN a few years back about a Better Business Bureau here in Bahrain. They should have something like that so ppl can report such fraudulent behavior from companies. I even talked to the Minister that I used to work for about this – but he dismissed it.

    I admire you for standing up and demanding that they leave your house and all. So many ppl tend to be kiss ass for fear of making someone mad, which I’ve never understood – especially when it comes to something they are doing for you! and you’re paying for it!!

    We have a company coming this weekend to check out the pipes in the house – to clean them out basically. All you can smell is sewage in all the bathrooms. So far, we’ve had no luck. It’s pretty scary because I’m afraid that they’ll have to break all the tile and such to get to the problem… like what you’ve experienced. Inshallah it doesn’t happen.

  23. Adel says:

    A professional plumbing service using all the hi tech equipment, and a fast service van would be a very lucrative business in Bahrain, especially if the Gov goes ahead with cracking down on free visa workers. A pricing study should be done first to find out if customers are willing to pay the premium for a professional service.

  24. Adel says:

    Tooners, I have the same smelly problem in one of the bathrooms, making me crazy.

  25. tooners says:

    Adel, I can’t stand it. When I brush my teeth in the mornings, the smell comes out thru the pipes in the sink! I feel like vomiting every time I go in there… but all of our bathrooms are like this. They must all be stopped up or something. We’ve had plumbers use Draino and such, and say that the problem is solved but it isn’t. We even had one plumber plug up a hole in the bathroom and said that hole was causing the problem… HA! it wasnt and it did no good!

    We’ve heard good things about cleaning out the pipes… I’ll post about it if it works! I can’t imagine having that job though! eeeek!

  26. mahmood says:

    UPDATE

    Well, it wasn’t an easy sleep. I normally go to the toilet at least 3 times a night, and having to trudge downstairs to do that pisses me off (pun intended!.)

    Anyway, I came downstairs and moved all the furniture from the living room as well as the curtains; judging by how messy they were yesterday, they would destroy everything in their path to “get the leak fixed.” Yeah, sure…

    They appeared at the gate at 7.45 with hang-dog looks on their faces, BUT they brought all the tools they require this time, including a roll of tarpaulin for protecting walls and floors. Off they went upstairs to remove the mess, which they will lower in a bucket and rope down from the bathroom window, into a wheelbarrow to take and dump outside. I did impress on them that they will have to bring their own truck to dispose of this when the job is finished, and do so properly.

    At 8, their manager came and we had a conference. He obviously was briefed by his guy, and no matter what I said he was convinced that it is just condensation made by cold air from the AC unit hitting the steel beam! Nothing would get him to change his mind (why then did the lead increase since yesterday, your guys must have disturbed something upstairs to get that effect, why are there patches on the back wall, away from the beam, why is there a patch on the outside wall) but nothing would move him, he was convinced.

    That’s when Frances came to the rescue and told them that if that were the case, why then did that patch start appearing in the winter when no ACs were on?

    That shut them up. They’re now convinced that it might indeed be a leak… but remember that dry piece of ceiling that they wanted to break yesterday to check the pipes? I told them once again that as it is dry, and as the wet patches are quite defined, they will not find anything there. Again they insisted. I gave in, okay, go ahead and cut a part of that wall, but the cut should not be more than 1 foot square and I will provide them with an electric jigsaw so that the cut would be done properly and limit the damage. I even provided them with a mask, which ended around the guy’s neck as he tightly closed his eyes to make the horrendous cut.

    Up they poke their heads through the ceiling, gave them a torch to have a good look, and after three heads have been there and back, the consensus of opinion was that there weren’t – in fact – any pipes that could be seen in that area. The descending ceiling was just a decorative feature!

    Another ceiling has got to be replaced now. Thanks very much. Next?

    Now that they are totally sold on the idea that there is a strong chance of having a leak in one of the drain pipes, they went upstairs to first clear the rubble and then dig some more to expose all the pipes and get the job “properly” done.

    Sorry guys… no visitors for the next month until we get this sorted out… living in a construction site again, and I detest the smell of dust and cement.

  27. Johnster says:

    Tooners / Adel. I have a lovely older house and occassionally have a whiff of cow manure in the mornings..but not so much that I will actually do anything about it.

    I am no scientist but my guess is that all the cleaning in the world won’t make any difference, I think it is some enzyme or bacterial problem. You need some chemical (WMD type stuff) to wipe this enemy out.

  28. mahmood says:

    Good luck tooners!

    Adel, that’s an excellent idea and will look into it. At the very least I can use them myself!

    Mohammed, that’s a real bummer. I had the same experience when I replaced the telecom system to one with a camera last month.

    The guy comes and fixes it and tells me that the current sets inside the house are not compatible, we go to the agent we bought the camera thingy from and he doesn’t have the handsets in stock, waiting for delivery from Saudi in a week.

    A week passes and he finally receives them, the guy comes over again, creates such a mess in the maid’s room, outside and inside kitchens, and leaves.

    I call them up to find out what they actually did and they say “everything is connected, but the camera doesn’t work, we’ll have to come and fix that tomorrow (Thursday). Great. Another set of morons come over on Thursday and stay tinkering with it until 1pm and still no go, I tell Frances to throw them out of the house and give them my telephone number to talk to me.

    The bastards don’t call, but I went over what they did and found cigarette butts all over the place including the dogs’ food bowl! Yes, I lost my temper again, but as I didn’t have their number (my office did), I couldn’t do anything. Which, in retrospect, was a good thing.

    They call at 10am on Friday morning.

    YES!

    I go out and chew their stupid asses for them, got them to keep their cigarettes in their car and if they wanted to smoke they can bloody well fix my stuff first and then they can bugger off to their own world to kill themselves for all I care. But only AFTER they clear all the mess they create while working at the house.

    Needless to say they got the system to semi-work in a couple of hours and I off they went on their merry way.

    The fun continues…

  29. Adel says:

    Mahmood, check your blood sugar 3 trips to the toilet a night is too much.

  30. mahmood says:

    Not when you have at least 2 liters of water a night! But thanks for the concern, I actually did and it’s normal.

  31. mahmood says:

    (solas, sorry, your comment – as well as several of boilerman’s – were marked spam, just recovered them. I have no idea why it false-positived you two…)

  32. Boilerman says:

    Could be a “conspiracy” by certain UVP factions in the country…

    Why not start a new blog called the Bahraini Consumerist and have all sorts of comments posted on all UVP and non-UVP businesses? “Superhero” businesses will be awarded a thumbs up badge of merit while “Villanous” ones will be flipped a bird in the traditional sense of the word.

    Just Boiler’s 2 fils.

  33. mahmood says:

    Just been talking about that with my friend Nader Shaheen (you’re outed boyo!) and he was all for it.. pending finding bodies to actually do all the work! 😉

  34. mahmood says:

    PROGRESS!

    They finally struck water!

    They called me up a little while ago extremely happy with themselves to come and marvel at their find… they’ve struck water!

    And confirmed our worst fears over the last year, that we will have to rip out and replace the bathroom, which we are doing now anyway. But the pisser is that they have increased that cost by damaging the ceiling in the living room that I’m afraid that the whole thing, including the gypsum work must be replaced now. If not, then its maintenance is going to probably cost as much as the whole bathroom job.

    The instruction I left with them was, go ahead and break the floor, but don’t damage the pipes until you actually find out which sucker is the cause of all these problems.. if that is not identified, then we’ll be looking at the same problem in about a year’s time, and I don’t think that I can stand that.

  35. na9rawi says:

    OMG ya Mahmoooooooooood – that had to be the FUNNIEST EVER post I have read in a very long time!!

    You wrote it so funny, though I suppose humour was probably the last thing you were aiming for. Jokes, pure jokes!! Good luck with whats left though.

  36. M says:

    Tooners,

    I had the same smell you are talking about in our bathroom sink. I would use the drain cleaner, and it would seem to get better for a while. Then I would smell it again from time to time.

    Anyway, one day I decided I had had enough and pulled the sink drain out. That little stopper thing in the basin that goes up and down to hold the water in or let it out. The entire bottom of the stopper was a black, slimy moldy junk. It was gross, but that’s what the problem was. I cleaned it up using bleach and comet. I do it now every 6 months, and the smell hasn’t returned. All you have to do is jiggle it to the right or left and it will come out and slide back the same way. Hope it helps and the problem might be something that simple.

  37. Boilerman says:

    This post will retrograde into a deccription of human excrement and other organic waste. Doncha love the internet? Boiler does.

  38. Walt says:

    Well , at least everyone got thier chance to B-I-T-C-H about the state of world wide service & quality of workmanship.

  39. Louis Spielman says:

    About all those nightly trips to the bath room, there are other things that can cause it besides diabetes, One is benign Prostate enlargement, the other is Prostate Cancer: what they found I had. Do yourself a favor, have your PSA level checked, and if its too high, or doubling, have biposies take as well. The earlier it is caught, the easier the treatment, and the better hope of a cure.

    Remember: the life you save might be your own.

  40. mahmood says:

    Thanks Louis, I’ll check it out. I hope you make a good and speedy recovery.

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