I've repaired plenty of pre-existing plumbing, but don't know enough to put all new plumbing in a house, so I hired it out. Some of it it is fine, but I'm unhappy with the rest of it, and since I'm not a plumber, I don't know exactly what may be a code violation.

1) PEX was routed outside the wall and can't be sheetrocked.

2) Plastic tees and elbows were used instead of brass.

3) The best way to run PEX is with the smallest number of failure points possible. It would be great to have home-runs to each fixture, but I knew that wasn't going to be the case here. However, there are some runs of PEX that have 4-6 splices in them that are totally unnecessary.

4) Underneath the house (unconditioned crawl) none of the PEX is insulated, and some of it is lying on the ground.

5) The water supply was brought up through an exterior wall, right up against the exterior of the stud and sheathing. Aren't they supposed to go through the center of the stud and install nailing plates?

I'm not a plumber and don't know codes, which is why I hired this out instead of doing it myself. Are any of these code violations?

EDIT: I should have added that a permit was pulled for this work, and it passed a rough-in inspection.

  • 4
    For anything that doesn't relate to code violations, this is a contract issue between you and your plumber. As such, the question is off-topic (and too broad for SE as well). Feel free to break it up and ask single, specific questions about code violations or anything that's not opinion-based.
    – isherwood
    Feb 21, 2016 at 2:10
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    To really know if there's a code violation, I'd call in your local government's inspector. They are there to protect you against poor quality work, and if this plumber is licensed, I'm sure they'll be interested to know who did the work.
    – BMitch
    Feb 21, 2016 at 13:12

3 Answers 3

  1. All plumbing should be inside walls in finished space or it should be installed in a way that protects the joints and protects from punctures.

  2. Who cares? I never heard of plumbing failing because of elbows.

  3. If you wanted this you should have been watching him during it. Or another option is to just write it into the contract so you can set expectation. As it stands you do not know which extra connections were actually needed or not.

4-5. Have local inspector come out to OK it. Don't pay plumber until it passes inspection.

And to answer your question 1, 4, and 5 sound like they are code violations but we don't understand enough to call these violations. For instance I can run pex in a crawl space in Texas, I can run pex in a laundry room outside framing (still not good practice), and you can run plumbing in most places in exterior walls (not good practice and most inspectors would want to see a reasonable level of insulation).

  • #1 is incorrect. Exposed plumbing is often done for decorative effect. Google "exposed plumbing" and you'll see many examples. And, if you visited my house, you'd see it in one of the bathrooms.
    – ssaltman
    Feb 21, 2016 at 14:57
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    Respectfully disagree with #3. If a client wants something done a certain way, they'll ask for it and I'll do it. (Assuming that the method is acceptable.) If it's buried before the client gets home, I'll take pictures to verify that it's done to spec. Having a client watching doesn't help for all kinds of reasons. Feb 21, 2016 at 15:24
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    I also disagree with #3. You shouldn't have to watch a tradesperson to expect quality work. They should be doing that whether or not you are watching them.
    – DA01
    Feb 21, 2016 at 15:30
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    @AloysiusDefenestrate - That's true you could write it in a contract. Also when I said watch that doesn't mean hover over trade but going by every 30-45 mins to make sure things are all right is usual.
    – DMoore
    Feb 21, 2016 at 15:51
  • Sorry, interpreted "watch" as "hover". Feb 21, 2016 at 15:53

If the work was complete, the plumbing operates, and you did not negotiate beforehand any quality standards or material restrictions, then you have nothing to complain about.

What are you going to do? Accuse the plumber of being a no-good hack who uses the cheapest possible materials in the fastest possible amount of time? You just described 99% of the plumbers and electricians in the United States.

Doing your own work is the only way to quality control. Most plumbers have their brains so completely hard-wired on cheap that attempting to have them execute a high-quality job is absolutely futile. You have to understand that 99% of customers want the absolute cheapest possible fix, so there is simply no business available for high-quality plumbers and electricians.

Once I asked a plumber a question about silver soldering and he didn't even know what that was.

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    So I guess that just leaves #4 and #5. Aren't those code violations?
    – Mattzees
    Feb 20, 2016 at 23:46
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    One doesn't need to negotiate quality standards with every business transaction to have a right to complain about shoddy work.
    – DA01
    Feb 21, 2016 at 4:36
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    Having the right and being in the right are two separate things to which only your lawyer can attest to and a judge decide. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say any answer that talks about getting it inspected is glossing over the fact that there must not have been a permit for this work (because if there was there'd be a very descriptive contract), so no inspection, unless the OP want's to first pay a fine and then pay for a permit, so that they can then pay a lawyer money to sue the company. - OP, learn your lesson and just move on.
    – Mazura
    Feb 21, 2016 at 5:09
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    Wow! You just vilified the majority of the skilled trades with your unfounded and biased opinion. Sorry if your locality does not support quality work and decent customers. Must suck to live in the slums. Feb 21, 2016 at 13:17
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    @Mazura I'm not sure that's true in all regions. I believe in many areas in the US you can retroactively ask for an inspection. No fines...but you do have to repair anything that is found to not meet code.
    – DA01
    Feb 21, 2016 at 15:31

Wow! You're positively right! That's absolutely horrible work & don't be surprised if there are multiple leaks! A "pro" did a simple 20-foot run in "foolproof" Pex at my parents for a garden hose relocation unbeknownst to me & everything leaked very badly.

I think you'd be far better off complaining to the Code, Building, Permit or Zoning Dept. Get the Inspector out to review everything & to let you know definitely if they're Licensed & their work is "somehow" legal & proper.

Otherwise, definitely complain to the Contractor & have them stop using scraps in your place & at least leave you with an installation that's drywall ready & behind the surface in the center of the studs. Totally inexcusable!

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