Yesterday I talked about homeowners and professionals both doing repairs or renovations that were best described as creative. The common thread was the work was done incorrectly. To take that theme a step further; what happens when a professional contractor performs work that should be done by a tradesman.
Tradesman would be specialists such as electricians, plumbers and HVAC contractors. These are licensed trades that require extensive training both in the classroom and in the field. In addition competency testing is a part of this process. A license in one of these fields requires years to obtain.
A contractor or home builder on the other hand, at least in Connecticut, is not required to obtain any training and is not licensed. It is only necessary for the owner of the company to register the business with the Department of Consumer Protection.
Building and renovation is a business like any other dictated largely by the bottom line. Saving money during a project puts more money in the businesses - owners' pocket. This can become an incentive to cut corners.
One short cut is to not use professional tradesmen during a job. The contractor himself may install the wiring, plumbing and heating/cooling.
The picture at right is an example of a contractor, not a tradesman's work. The two floor registers in the picture are for the heating and cooling in this addition. The larger of the two is the return vent. Two things are wrong here;
1. The return is in front of a door and
2. It is too close to a supply duct.
The installation of the duct work and placement of the return and supply vents needs to be done by a licensed HVAC contractor. There is much more to installing heating and cooling than just putting in some ducts which this contractor failed to understand.
The same would be true of wiring and plumbing. Wiring especially should be done by an electrician because of the potential danger from incorrect installation.
My advice to anyone looking to have a home improvement project done is to be sure your contractor is using licensed tradesman. Hiring a home inspector to conduct phase inspection should also be strongly considered. An outside quality control person can have a big physcologic impact on the contractor.
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