Daily Archives: June 28, 2012

Illegal and unlicensed work, Homeowner Beware


Illegal and unlicensed work, Homeowner Beware


In most states there is a requirement to be licensed in order to work in specific field or profession in the construction trades. There are many conversations with construction companies concerning the rising concern of unlicensed and illegal work performed in the industry.


To the regular lay person I imagine the response is so what. Anybody can do the work it looks easy enough. This is far from the truth. Using plumbing as an example any person could install a trip lever on a toilet. Most lay people most likely could not tell you what a trip lever is let alone install one. However if I call it the toilet handle the public would say anyone can do that. Again this is far from the truth. A simple little trip lever installed with the wrong trip lever recently caused a flood in a home. It damaged a wood floor in a hallway and kitchen, soaked and destroyed carpet in a bedroom, and with the floor damage, drywall and cabinets now need attention.


An individual installed the wrong handle on the wrong toilet. A Kohler Wellworth toilet installed with an Elger Emblem handle. It worked for a long time however the handle froze and would not drop down to stop the water from evacuating the tank. The toilet was stopped up with paper and waste and this did not allow the water to flow into the drainage system. Sure the person knew how to install a toilet handle however he or she did not possess the knowledge to know the difference between the trip levers.


Size of the work scope does not matter. You must make sure you have a licensed plumber doing the work. You the home owner are better off to spend more than you thought than less than you should. Hire someone that is over qualified to do the job verse someone under qualified. When a qualified licensed contractor completes the work and something does go wrong his insurance will pay for the damage to property. A legitimate company will take responsibility for their work and workmanship. If and when they do not you can take the company in front of the licensing board and have their licensed possibly revoked.


Recently our company did some work for a home owner and we discovered a potentially dangerous situation. The person that installed the water heater could not fit the heater under the kitchen counter. This person removed a safety device located at the top of the water heater. This safety device is there to pop off and open up if the heater malfunctions. If the thermostats fail and they decide to stay on it can build up pressure in the piping system and water heater. The safety device called a relief valve opens to release the pressure rendering the water heater harmless. Without this safety device the water heater can become a bomb. Google exploding water heaters to see the results here is a link. http://www.waterheaterexplosions.com


To me what is worse than an unqualified individual doing the work is a journeyman pretending to be a licensed plumbing contractor and doing work for home owners as a fully licensed contractor? A journeyman is not a licensed contractor and in most cases cannot pull a permit to have a job inspected. This means any plumbing work they perform on their own as a contractor is illegal work. This type of person is lying and cheating a customer. They know that it is illegal to do the work and this makes it premeditated and intentional to cheat and lie to the customer. This person is stealing from the legitimate contractors working in their area and should not be tolerated.


Your responsibility as a homeowner is to protect yourself and your family. You must also protect the domestic water that you cook, clean, and drink by employing qualified people to do work in your home. When you call construction trade companies ask if they are licensed and insured company. Any advertising should include their state license or certification. It also should be posted on their truck. You can Google a company to see if they are licensed in your state. When you call licensed companies ask if their employees also hold a license in their trade. This will at least give you the peace of mind the people working in your home have been properly trained to do the work. It is imperative in today’s economic climate to trust the people who have the experience and have been trained to do the job.


If a company is not licensed turn them into the state and local authorities to help save the next victim they will try to steal and cheat. Help prevent innocent homeowners from learning the hard way with the possibility of property damage or illness from illegally connecting water to a waste line, leaving and open vent line that is exhausting methane gas into the home. Some of the most minor installations can cause death. Not knowing what you do not know is the cause of many injuries, illness and death due to faulty installation and workmanship.


Homeowners decide today to protect your health and property from unlicensed, illegal, and uninsured people whose main goal is to put your money in their pocket without having to take responsibility.



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