{{#renderClientSide}}
{{#renderClientSide__inner}} {{/renderClientSide__inner}}
{{/renderClientSide}}
DIY hero banner

Australia's Worst DIY Plumbing Disaster Unveiled

22 January 2015

Over the years, you may have noticed an increase in DIY projects. This has resulted in over 25,000 Australians hospitalised from DIY related injuries. Brought on in part by the onslaught of home renovation shows, the results are sometimes humorous, and more often than not, harmful. And just when you thought DIY plumbing disasters couldn’t get any worse, we announced the winner and two finalists of our DIY Disasters competition for 2014.

The winning entry
The unexpected discovery of a contraption made from an element connected to a plank of timber in the bath of a 98-year-old man, used to heat his bath water, secured South Australian plumber Matthew Logmans the 2014 DIY Disasters competition title and a $5,000 prize.

Matthew found his winning entry when his client’s daughter called him in to install a hot water service in her father’s home. Having had no access to hot water for 20 years, it was taking the elderly man one hour and 45 minutes to warm up his bath with his homemade heating device, not to mention the imminent danger of electrocution.

The competition
The popular DIY Disasters competition has been seeking out Australia’s worst DIY plumbing gaffes for six years as part of our ongoing efforts to highlight the risks of ‘giving it a go’ without enlisting a licensed plumber.
A panel of five esteemed industry experts judged this year’s competition, including Connection Magazines Publisher Jeff Patchell, Energy Australia Type A Gas Appliance Safety Manager Enzo Alfonsetti, CEO of the Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre (PICAC) Shayne La Combre and Shinners Plumbing Director Kevin Shinners. Narrowing down the choice from 15 finalists, the judges deemed Matthew’s example Australia’s most disastrous.

The finalist entries
Many entries in this year’s competition highlighted the dangers of amateur plumbing attempts. Coming in at second place with a $1000 prize was a hot water system with electrical connections in direct contact with a leaking tap and splashing bath water, submitted by NSW-based Manuel Benkovic. Winning a Bigdog prize pack at third place, a cooktop regulator installed back to front, with a plastic bag used in place of a sealant, entered by Brett Matthews from NSW. That DIYer wondered why his gas wasn’t coming through. 

We talked to the three winners about their entries:

Winner: Matthew Logmans, Middleton, SA

DIY first place winner

Q. What made you enter the DIY Disasters competition, and have you entered before?
A. I got talked into it by my partner who works for Reece. This was my first time - I entered, didn’t expect anything and forgot about it. When I got the call, it made my day.

Q. The competition is about highlighting the dangers – and sometimes humour – of DIY plumbing. Why do you think this is an important message?
A. We see crazy things every day, but people don’t realise the risks involved in DIY. They try to save a dollar, but the safety implications are not worth the money saved.

Q. How often do you see DIY Disasters like this on the job, and what’s the worst one you’ve ever come across?
A. Easily once a month, on varying levels. I heard about a shower mixer that was connected with flexible hoses and tiled over – the hoses need to be accessible as they leak!

Q. What did you do with the prize money?
A. I’m going to take a holiday.

2nd place: Manuel Benkovic, Avalon, NSW

DIY second place winner

Q. What made you enter the DIY Disasters competition, and have you entered before?
A. I had never entered before and found out about the competition either by mail or email. I didn’t give it much thought, but then, I was looking through some of my photos and found this one, and decided to enter.

Q. The competition is about highlighting the dangers – and sometimes humour – of DIY plumbing. Why do you think this is an important message?
A. People have no concept of the dangers involved in DIY plumbing, and need to be made aware that a licensed plumber wouldn’t make such mistakes. Economics is a factor in people taking on DIY jobs, and although it is illegal, people aren’t trying to break the law, they’re trying to save money. I’m sympathetic to people playing this game.

Q. How often do you see DIY Disasters like this on the job, and what’s the worst one you’ve ever come across?
A. I probably see a DIY Disaster as bad as this one twice a year, but this takes the cake in terms of danger.

Q. What did you do with the prize money?
A. I split it amongst my family for Christmas.

3rd place: Brett Matthews, Willoughby, NSW

DIY third place winner

Q. What made you enter the DIY Disasters competition, and have you entered before?
A. I saw it advertised and as Reece were the ones who had prompted the guy to hire a licensed plumber and referred me to him, I thought it was a good example to showcase. This was my first time entering.

Q. The competition is about highlighting the dangers – and sometimes humour – of DIY plumbing. Why do you think this is an important message?
A. Plumbing is a licensed trade for a reason. DIY Disasters can cause death, so it’s important to hire someone who has the license to do the job right. Other plumbing suppliers don’t communicate this message as well as Reece.

Q. How often do you see DIY Disasters like this on the job, and what’s the worst one you’ve ever come across?
A. I tend to see DIY Disasters of this extent around once a month, but this is the worst one I’ve come across. Another bad one I saw was when an elderly couple hired someone to install a water service, and they used garden hose instead of pipe. Hiring a dodgy, unlicensed tradesman can be as bad as the person doing it themselves.

Q. What did you do with the prize money?
A. I split the prize pack amongst my two first year apprentices as a Christmas bonus.

What the judges said
Reece Plumbing’s Business Development Manager and judge Adam Watson has seen hundreds of entries over the years, with this year’s competition bringing in the most submissions to date. He says that plumbers play a really important role in the preventative side of keeping the community safe and healthy, and would-be amateur plumbers need to be educated on the frightening implications of going it alone. “We see the growth of DIY with DIY home improvement shows, and a lot of people think it’s quite easy for them to have a go themselves. Having these types of competitions brings it back to highlighting the importance of using licensed people to do the job,” he said.

Fellow judge Shayne La Combre from PICAC further illustrates why using a licensed plumber is vital. “One of the big issues for plumbing is that most people take it for granted…there’s a lot of plumbing work and knowledge that has gone into making sure that we can enjoy something as seemingly simple as a glass of fresh water.” he said.

“Competitions like this, though often presented in a humourous way, can really highlight the importance of plumbers doing their job right, and should be a warning to those who aren’t appropriately trained and qualified, to stay away from plumbing systems and stop exposing themselves and their families to risk.”

With so much to lose and little to gain when it comes to DIY, this year’s entries are a loud and clear reminder why our ‘Don’t risk it, use a licensed plumber’ message is more important to communicate to customers than ever.

Visit www.reece.com.au/diydisasters to see this year’s entries and check out our video of the judges’ digest.

Leave a comment:

Recommended Stories

axial thumbnail 16 Feb 2018

Rothenberger Romax Axial Rehau Tool Package

Every good plumber knows that REHAU is famous for quality. And right now, it’s never been easier to ...

Read More
relax small 14 Dec 2017

Christmas & New Year Reece Branch Closures

Reece branch closures this holiday season: Date Opening Hours Additional Info Friday 22 December 201...

Read More
thumbnail passbook 17 Nov 2017

Reece Roadshow Passbook Major Prize Winner!

It’s been another big year taking the Reece Roadshow across the country, highlighting some of the ne...

Read More
{{#isMaxUser}}
{{/isMaxUser}} {{#REMOVE_CONTENT_WHEN_RENDERED}} {{/REMOVE_CONTENT_WHEN_RENDERED}}
{{#renderClientSide}}
{{/renderClientSide}}