As promised, the gas man came. Surprise, surprise, its never as easy in practise as it looks on paper. We’d been verbally assured that no site inspection would be required and no extra costs would be incurred, there was no conceivable reason why the job wouldn’t cost what we’d been quoted…. Oh look, the standard installation includes 6m of gas pipe, we need an extra metre or so. The standard installation includes a flue that’ll reach from the heater into a 9’ ceiling and we’ve got a 12’ ceiling so we need an extra flue piece. All standard costs, all set by AGL so we don’t get upset with Michael the gas man. Makes me wonder just what percentage of these so-called “standard installations” ever end up costing what is quoted.

Then of course there are the difficulties with installation. We have no access to the underneath of the house, and there’s only about 20cm between floor and dirt anyway so it would be nearly impossible to move even if you could get in there. The tin roof means you can’t lift tiles, the small eaves make something else difficult…. All part of the joys of a two-part house; part A being 106 years old and part B being 6. I think the politest comment that was made about the existing hot water heater was that if it was installed today it would be unlikely to get approval.

The pipe was slid under the house from outside. The timber studs in the wall meant a slight relocation of the heater from our preferred location. Large holes were cut in the plasterboard and much muttering could be heard in strange technical tradesman-speak.

Three times with AGL, Godwin had assured us that there’d be no extra costs, and that the site inspection was not necessary. AGL and the gas fitters seem to play it off against each other. At the AGL shop its all “these are standard charges that the plumbers require, blah-blah.” When it came to signing the paperwork in the house with the plumber it was “that’s a standard install from AGL for 6m and a normal flue, the extra flue and per-metre pipe are all standard charges from AGL.”

Then the plumbers drove off taking the instruction book and all the paperwork and I had to phone them to bring it back … and of course I had to clean the house where they’d spread plaster everywhere.