My daughter asked a plumbing/central heating company for a general service on their gas system/boiler. They have a 7 week old baby and wanted to make sure the boiler wasn't giving any fumes off. Just as a precaution. They moved into the house inheriting the lead pipes. The guy who came noticed lead pipes and immediately cut off the gas supply, he said by law. They have no water/heating. He is charging them £600 to replace pipes and also he noticed a vent problem on the roof. Not a big job. Should he have cut the gas off and left them vulnerable and as they now feel cornered to have the work carried out by that company. Seems wrong to me. Any help please ?

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    Contact the local utility that supplies the gas and explain the situation. Include that the family is now in an emergency situation without heat. It should be within the utility's jurisdiction to temporarily turn the gas back on if there are no immediate threats to life or property and if the homeowners agree to timely repair of any deficiency that the utility confirms must be fixed.
    – user39367
    Oct 22 '15 at 18:53
  • Not a direct duplicate, but more information: diy.stackexchange.com/questions/12210/…
    – JPhi1618
    Oct 22 '15 at 19:45
  • Looking on the web some more because this seems like a bad situation... Everything I see says that Lead pipe is fine as long as it's not damaged or needing repair. Once it is damaged, they are legally required to turn off the gas and replace the lead. But, I'm not in the UK, and I'm not a gas expert - just concerned.
    – JPhi1618
    Oct 22 '15 at 19:52

Law on lead Gas pipes

Existing installations that are not leaking or faulty do not have to be replaced.

See Is it necessary to replace lead gas pipes?

Should he have cut the gas off and left them vulnerable

Only if there was a gas leak or the installation was in a dangerous condition. If so I believe he should have given them a written notice.

He is charging them £600 to replace pipes

Get at least one (preferably more) separate quotations from different companies.

As a matter of principle I would avoid giving additional work to tradesmen who invoke the law to obtain additional money. Often tradesmen/engineers will tell you what is required for new installations as if that had to be retrospectively applied to existing installations - the law does not require that (in general) unless there is a defect or a major change.

they now feel cornered to have the work carried out by that company.

I would urge them to stop dealing with this company. In their position, if pestered by people from this company I would just say I am arranging for any problems with the installation to be dealt with and leave it at that. I would cut off any conversation at that point. There's absolutely no need to communicate further with a company that makes you uncomfortable, they have no rights to make any demands of you.

If their bill for work already completed to your daughter's complete satisfaction seems unreasonable, I would write to the company saying you dispute the bill and I would try to take the matter up with trading standards and get free advice from the citizens advice bureau. Keep written records of everything that was said and done.

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