Now, I'm not covered for the actual replacement of the pipe (which counts as wear and tear), so on Wednesday I phoned the builders to ask if they could do that on top of the other work. It took me until Friday to get a straight answer, which turned out to be "No". Or, less concisely, "That would be a conflict of interest, so we'd rather not if you can get someone else to do it."
So I phoned my normal plumbers and they came round on Monday and said "No". Or, less concisely, "We've never done an internal drain pipe before, and if we fucked it up we'd end up in your foundations trying to find the end of it."
So yesterday I phoned another builders company, and they sent someone round today who said "Yes". Or, less concisely, "we'll need to take out the bricks here and here so that I can get an angle grinder in. I'll get the boss to send you a quote. See you on Monday or Tuesday."
Which is a step forward, I admit, insofar that I'll be able to get things started then, with any luck. Oh, and he did find the actual crack and stick a towel in it, which was nice.
But goodness knows what _this_ is going to cost me. If any of you were hoping for nice Christmas presents this year you may want to scale down your expectations...