Advice on testing testing automotive welding.
My friend from up north Big Nige! Has a nice letter from a solicitor come through the door.
Yes, my first advice to him was to seek legal advice!
However, as I am inquisitive, the members of VZI educated, could anyone shed some light. Until legal advice is taken.
My friend completed lots of welding for a vw camper, this being a large part of the exterior for a customer. including welding and bracing a roof section in. Large parts like the underneath were not touched as the customer could not afford it, the paint was contracted out, the customer wanted this. The spray job being a £1500 job. However the spray shop. which it latter conspires that they are close to someone, Not on Nigel's Christmas card list. They have supposedly inspected the roof section and claimed the welds were poor and dangerous. This was not the case. Upon looking at photos of their evidence. The check has consisted of welds being, chiseled, wire wheeled ground away, holes have appeared where its obvious a chisel has been beaten through the weld. Another is a long straight line which a cutting disk has cut through the metalwork,
Ok, they also took photos of poor welding accusing Nigel of poor workmanship in areas, around the belly pans, and underneath the van. Areas he does not even work on. these were years old repairs. Funnily their experts' opinion could not differentiate between new work and work completed years prior.
So would a Thatcham approved senior panel technician, be qualified to give expert advice on welding repairs? I did look at what his title means, correct me if I am wrong but the welding element of this professional title, Is a test of 4.5 hours which includes repairing a part of a vehicles body using Welded Panel/Section MAG/MIG Braze/Bond/Riveting. So this qualifies them to give legal advice that a claim is based on????
Also, is there a professional examination method of inspecting automotive welding? Or are chisels, cutting disks etc? The standard method?
Having looked at the photos, it looks in my non-expert opinion that the camper has been sabotaged in order to make it look like an inferior weld has been completed.
A paint shop that charges £1500 to spray a bus in 2019 can’t be getting on a high horse about work standards, surely?
I would say that based on the 'Thatcham approved route' only qualifies them for repair of something, not the testing of other peoples work.
They have to have done courses in understanding body repair, but essentially to qualify for being a 'senior' repairer you only need to have been doing bodywork for 3 years, I dont think it states you need to have been doing welding for 3 years, but looks like a series of modules designed to make someone whos competent.
Now there are 2 types of competent people, those who are competent and those who think they are the law.
I suspect that part of this 'bad welding' is a ploy for the fact £1500 is not enough for a full respray, because bodyshop labour alone would eat up lots of that, so if you can say get someone to refund you for the rest... Its why I havent looked at getting a cars colour changed, its like £700+ for a cheap vinyl wrap, theres alot more to painting.
I would say the welding job thats done, is Nige a qualified welding, because if so with more than 3 years experience might put the bodyshop back in their box. If not then the next part is the fact the person asked to have X amount of welding done, if thats documented (IE a contract of works) then that reduces the welding zone thats under scrutiny.
As for testing welds, I wouldnt like to say how far you can go, but professional weld testing, should not included a grinder. If you're bodge it and co, maybe putting a hammer and chisel through something or using a grinder is a test method of the back yard, but if you are doing proper testing theres a whole list of types including XRay testing, which is what they have to do for properly repaired alloy wheels.
Personally I think it smells fishy, but I think if anything is in question then you could suggest the bodyshop has a vested interest and any testing should be done by a neutral 3rd party who is unconnected with either party.
Thanks all and Bugsy for your long reply.
Exactly, 1500 quid would bare cover having it painted with rollers!
Yes, he needs a fully independent inspection.
I told him, he needs to discredit the basis of the claim which is from a report from the spray shop, firstly they are not experts in welding inspection, the could not differentiate between work that was old and new, 90% of the welding was not inspected, just the roof welds and ones underneath that were not done by Nige,
They also took a photo of wire which runs from the engine, under the van claiming this live wire is dangerous, Its actually the oil pressure switch wire. which is not a live wire..
The spray shop was not independent either.
The whole claim from the solicitors is over £20K to repair defective work, which is for the roof welds repairs and to repair the underneath of the van. the underneath was never part of Nige's work, it was never quoted for or part of the invoices. The customer came every few weeks to inspect all work, spending hours i the process before he paid, this was over many months.
I don't see how a solicitor can claim over £20K for repairs on defective work which is based on the amount an uneducated panel technician has "advised" it will cost. The figure was or is, not priced taking into account the cost of parts and materials, labour costs and hours needed, etc. its just a rough guess!
Don’t know how it works in the motor trade, but many years ago I had a similar sounding solicitors letter claiming I had done some shoddy work and asked for ‘liquidated damages’ - which I understand to be ‘solicitor speak’ for cash.
Anyhow, it was absolute bollocks.
So, I got a solicitor to write back and demand two things -
A) access to the property so an independent surveyors could make a report on the alleged poor workmanship.
B) to exercise my right to remedy any faults that may be found.
Only downside is that I had to pay for the solicitor and the surveyor.
After the report was done (and completely exonerated me) I wrote to the enemy solicitor myself thanking him for allowing my surveyor access to the property, telling him I had a full report and I was happy to attend court anytime he chose.
He wrote back asking me for a copy of the report,
I replied that he could have a copy, but it would cost him the £300 for the report + £200 for my time - £500 total.
I never heard another word.
Only big Nige knows whether he is genuinely in the right or not - and if he is than he needs to take the chancers on. It may cost him a bit, but if he is in the right then it is the cheapest option.
Unfortunately, if you are in business then you will inevitably come across unethical chancers out to make a buck once in a while - it is just another one of those ‘occupational hazards’ of being self employed, and trying to make your own way through life.
That’s really unfortunate!
I don’t think there is any required qualifications for resto work... the only time a vehicle gets checked is at MOT time (although the vehicle in question might be MOT exempt). So any welding has to be MOT standard which really means ‘seam welded’ (and meet any Construction and Use requirements).
If they are playing dirty and sabotaging his work to make it look worse, you’d need to rely on photos/proof of the work carried out I would have thought if it’s taken further. Maybe get written statements from previous happy customers if it goes to court.
Also if they have sabotaged his work with grinding and chiselling ‘to check’ the work, it’s gonna be more time consuming/costly to ‘repair’. The customer needs to be aware of this. Again at MOT time they only use screwdrivers (and maybe hammers) to check for holes, loose patches and rust.
It might even amount to criminal damage on the sprayers side.
Did he have photos of the work he did as it left his workshop? I always thoroughly document my work at every stage, posting the photos on to Google drive. The customer gets a link to the photos so they can keep track of progress.
I used to be involved with welding "coding". The welder would have to submit a sample weld which would be xrayed then sliced through. Then it would be examined under a microscope. These guys were welding on aeronautical products. There is no requirement for coding on vehicle restoration welding. As said already, it needs to be "MOT standard"
Was ‘Big Nige’ paid for the work? Are they looking for cash from him?
Is big Nige actually big, or is it a play on words like ‘little John’ in Robin Hood.?
I am starting to think that Nige should just tell them to fuck off.
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