03:05PM | 07/16/07
Member Since: 07/15/07
3 lifetime posts

I am looking for some help to 'decode' a plumbing bill.

My son broke a locker room urinal. We had no idea how much it would cost to fix, but we committed to paying for the repair or replacement.

Earlier this month, we finally got a bill for $1700.00.

This seems pretty high for a urinal replacement. It does include labor hours as well, and it seems like a high estimate of hours.

Main components of the 'hardware' costs are listed at:

JFGood M-Lite Urinal $287.00

Wolff Branham Urinal Top Spud $316.00

I am trying to determine if those costs are reasonable and would be inline with what (I guess) retail would be.

The labor was billed for 36 1/2 hours.

I have replaced all plumbing in a bathroom, it did not take 36 1/2 hours to setup a shower, sink and toilet, so this amount of time seems extreme.

Am I out of line thinking that this is an unreasonable amount of time?

Do public schools generally use house maintenance staff for this kind of work, or do they generally hire it out to a contractor?

I want to finish this 'issue' and move on, but, I don't want to just buckle and pay up whatever is on the bill.

After all, the kid has to pay us back for this.

Thanks in advance!


07:24AM | 07/17/07
Member Since: 01/24/06
1626 lifetime posts
Me office1
In MY HUMBLE OPINION not the management

The main reason I refused to work for the Board of Education of NYC is they said I must pay the school custodian OT even if the work was on regular time.

I also has to get an asbestos report even though there was no asbestos involved.

The educational maintenance systems in many cases are worse then a mobster when they leach on your back.

Even though I did qualify to work for them I said to the NYC school construction authority stating "you did not pass my standards and thus I refused to work for low lives".

In your case you can fight it but the lawyers would get more money and your still going to have the gun at your head.

Here is a perfect example I did a lot of work for the Bronx United States postal service and one of the managers took well over 11/2 years to pay bills and he refused to return calls and finally this low life said to re date the bills to a more recent time which I refused to do.

I finally called the Bronx and Manhattan postmasters and also called the postal inspectors.

FINALLY I got paid. No interest of course

Now If one owes the government city,state or federal they add all kinds of interest and penalties.

You cannot fight city hall.

They will give you bills for plumbing possibly after school hours on OT and tile work also after school hours and work up a bill that will equal half the national debt.

Put it this way you but a screw driver it cost $3 the federal government buys the same one and it cost them $3,000 as you have so many leaches and unemployables that have to find work so the Government is welfare subsidized

If these folks did not work for the government they would be on welfare.

When I did Federal or state work I would take my normal price and triple it and still came in low bidder.

Reasoning is your not dealing with one person you have to feed the mouths of everyone who comes into contact giving you the bill for the damage.

The Clerk who called the plumber and the tile guy and then the approving authority to make sure the contractor is licensed and insured and then the city department of investigation to make sure the contractor is OK to work around children and then the school maintenance dept to watch the contractor work then the clerks who send out the "invitation to bid".

Look at the bright side your supporting a whole host of people that under normal circumstances could never be gainfully employed if they had to work where they had to produce like civilian jobs.

Consider it a write off to support them.

This is America and thus it is your obligation to give city employees entitlements like make work projects to justify them sitting behind a desk.

I cannot imagine any plumbing contractor doing the same "quality" of work as the educational system does.

I have high school grads looking for work and can not count to 20 without taking off their shoes.

Imagine a plumbing contractor doing this kind of substandard work leaving leaks and saying well if you say my work is bad I will not feel good about myself and thus it is your fault I am depressed.

Teachers have no real accountability neither does the politicians who appoint their friends these positions of giving out contracts (Look at the last NYS comptroller who resigned rather then face a jury) I wonder how many folks get that kind of opportunity? STEAL and get to quit so no charges are brought against you.

Pay the ticket and move onas it is a no win for you


12:44PM | 07/17/07
Member Since: 01/30/05
361 lifetime posts
You had a T&M bill for $1,700 to replace a BROKEN (sounds like it was ripped off the wall) SCHOOL URINAL in NYC.

The fixture parts were billed at $603.00 that leaves 1,097.00 of the $1,700.00 total bill for labor.

NYC and NY have their own unique plumbing codes - School (commerical level plus FEDERAL STANDARDS - cuz they get federal educational funds) worthy work is even more tricky.

Now...if you think there is a licensed Journeyman or Master Plumber working for a Licensed Plumbing Contractor anywhere in NYC or the five bouroughs that bills at anything close to (less than actually) $30.00 an hour you're dreaming.

What the guy takes home (gross) in his paycheck is far more than that - the cost of employment is likely double to triple that, plus the contractor (LIKELY UNION BTW) is entitled to make a profit, not to mention the carrying costs of his business.

I suspect you have more like six and a half hours labor time, part of which was travel and set-up time - and likely two trips (one to inspect, patch, shut off spurting water, etc. another with the identical fixture replacement and collar).

Maybe you have one 3-hour charge and one 6-1/2 hour charge - and if so - you got a deal for NYC in a SCHOOL.

Buck up and pay the bill, meantime the tax payors are financing you.


01:28PM | 07/17/07
Member Since: 04/25/05
1915 lifetime posts
diyer57 never gave a location.


02:58PM | 07/17/07
Member Since: 01/24/06
1626 lifetime posts
Me office1
No one menthioned cities but me.

Bill your correct


02:20AM | 07/20/07
Member Since: 07/15/07
3 lifetime posts
Apparently I hit a nerve.

This is in OH, not NY.

Yes, it is a public school.

No, the urinal was not ripped off the wall. It was cracked.


06:06AM | 07/20/07
Member Since: 01/24/06
1626 lifetime posts
Me office1
See I am a mind reader as only the board of education would dare charge this kind of money (IMHO) possibly called punishment fee.

If this is a floor mounted urinal they do go for a lot more money compared to a wall hung type.

Either way the flushometer could be salvaged and so could the spud BUT when you buy a urinal or WC it comes with the spud.

Again ONCE a city, state or federal employee gets involved in any type of billing the prices have to be inflated considerably as your now feeding a lot of mouths and someone has to keep these folks off the welfare rolls.

Think of it like this you are doing your part to keep people working that under normal circumstances would be unemployable unless there was make work in the government.

The hardest part working where city, state or Federal funds are concerned is being able to close your eyes and set your mind set to work at slow motion speed and make sure a 3 hour job takes at least 8 hours after doing all kinds of impact studies.

The pity of it is once there is any government involvement the prices sky rocket.

I had this same problem with the Post office in the Bronx when a Manager said I made his friend look bad because my proposal was exactly (3) three times lower then his and I still made a very good profit.

This postal managers seem to feel he has an obligation to constantly go over budget.

Look at it this way to snake a urinal after 3 other roto guys failed they paid me $1,600 to just clear the line.

Another postal service job in Manhattan I came in $66,000 lower then the nearest competitor.

Material cost were under $600 and it was my labor and a helper 32 hours.

After I had completed the job and it was tested and passed I was asked how come I was able to come in so much cheaper and I told the postal inspectors the truth

"I do not make any pay offs so that keeps my over head lower"


06:36AM | 07/20/07
Member Since: 01/30/05
361 lifetime posts
In-house maintenance staff is not allowed to do this replacement. It is a public access area.

Health codes in OH do not allow this to be done by anything less than a licensed plumber. (If it were in a private home that would be another story).

Being that it is (you did say PUBLIC SCHOOL at the end of your original post) a public school - they also must meet minimum HEALTH codes and follow the rules regarding Federal regulations since the state, and thereby the school receives federal funds (textbook, transportation, attendance fees, free lunch program funds, etc.). Certain STANDARDS regarding installation of same are also dictated both federal and state (plumbing code) regulations. If the old plumbing did not meet current standards - to replace this fixture any upgrades dictated by the newer standards must be met (not grandfathered in due to fixture replacement).

Following its installation the lines would have to be flushed out (and if not on a municpial clorinated water supply - sanitized).

To install either a wall mounted or a floor mounted urinal is at some point in the installation is usually a two-man job - you might even have some portion of the work charged for a helper (or perhaps the school staff assisted the licensed plumbing contractor).

I notice you have said nothing about the supposed thirtysix hour bill. I think not. I think its obvious you were charged either for a 3 hour charge and a six and a half hour charge, which would be more than reasonable. Perhaps tiling work was required by in-house staff to repair the wall area around this replacement urinal as well - who knows.

Okay so I picked up NY from Tieger by mistake - oops. Ohio is just the next state west of NY anyway so I was close.

Either way the labor charge for removal, securing the plumbing, acquiring the correct parts and fixture, returning and installing IS WELL WITHIN NORMAL CHARGES for 6 and a half hours WORK AND TRAVEL time and a great deal for 9 and a half hours total travel (2 trips) and work time for a licensed plumbing contractor's billable rate for a licensed journeyman or master plumber (master level usually required to either be present or available to consult/supervise via the employment chain of the plumbing contractor company to be RESPONSIBLE for the work in a PUBLIC SCHOOL).

A journeyman plumber needs at least five years experience to learn his trade, a master plumber much longer to attain that level of expertise - you weren't gouged.

Your fixture and parts billed at $603 - cheap. Your labor was billed less than $1,100 STILL CHEAP.

Stop complaining and pay the bill pronto. A cracking a commercial urinal is pretty tuff to do if it wasn't attempted to be ripped off the wall - takes something like someone throwing a heavy object (usually METAL) at it at great force to even CHIP it let alone crack it, or an equally malicious act of throwing dry ice in it or using an explosive.

I can't imagine any type of accident that could cause such an act that didn't involve some sort of mis-behavior first. Lucky you're not also paying for an attorney to defend delinquency charges and going throught he juvenile courts.

In any event, messing with public access public owned property is very expensive (far more than even regular commercial areas) - you're doing your kid a dis-service in truly learning a lesson with your questioning the legitimacy of the charges - they are REASONABLE.


03:23AM | 07/21/07
Member Since: 07/15/07
3 lifetime posts
I really am not sure of how to reply to you. I sure won't be monitoring the thread any longer. Although it seems likely that you understand plumbing, all of the extra added commentary is overkill and actually lessens my opinion of your skills or knowledge. You seem angry and it seems that you are more interested in lecturing me about related issues than answering the questions. Don't get me wrong, I am not looking for any sympathy either. If I need assistance with the source of the problem or with the adolescent in any way, well that post wouldn't be in this forum.

You have a right to your opinion and to post it, but geez, give everybody a break. I'm not going to participate in your other extraneous arguments. In other words, I believe the ONLY REPLY YOU WANT IS THIS: YES, YOU'RE RIGHT, YOU'RE RIGHT, YOU'RE RIGHT. YOU'RE BETTER, YOU'RE MAKING MORE, YOU'RE SMARTER.


07:16AM | 07/21/07
Member Since: 01/24/06
1626 lifetime posts
Me office1
OK hows this.

Parents should be held totally accountable for their offspring's actions and the idea that they cracked a china fixture shows how this child should be removed from the public school system as the broken /cracked china could be like shrapnel and really cause a severe cut to some unsuspecting adolescent who only went to school to get a better education NOT damage public property.

Patents rather then trying to figure out the actual cost should just be thankful no one got cut or hurt and pay the price and not question whether it is high or not.

Here the poor workers are exposed to sharp objects when they have to remove the urinal that was vandalized and they are also exposed to all kinds of dreaded diseases like aids and Hepatitis A and B and a host of other water borne diseases plus the school has the responsibility of making repairs as soon as possibly to protect the children and make sure there is adequate SAFE provisions for the rest rooms.

Now with the urinal removed it is the perfect time to up grade it to barrier free design as mandated under Federal law, ADA compliant

PARENTS should be held more accountable as China fixtures can last well over 100 years and they do not crack on their own.

Personally I think the person responsible should sign a promissory note for the full cost of the fixture plus interest for the next 21 years and have it notarized as this one fixture caused so many people to get involved..

If the child is allowed to get away with just an oral reprimand what other crimes will they try knowing they are not held fully accountable for their mischievous actions

I wonder if hazardous management was called in?
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