Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Excuses Excuses

We never had to do this in other communities
And other lame excuses by contractors.

By Nick Markowitz Jr.

I was accompanying a Building Inspector the other day on a walk thru of a large residential town house project as the person who is paying for the project wants to make sure things were being done correctly so he hired me to keep an eye on things. I am very impressed with this inspector’s knowledge. We were walking thru the complex when we spotted the electrical contractor using non approved electrical boxes back to back in a fire wall the inspector stopped further work in the wall till proper boxes were installed or wiring was removed.
The Electrician was mad because he always did the work this way and no one ever questioned it. He never heard of such a code requirement, which I then showed him in the electrical codes and fire codes at the request of the inspector.
My first question to him was do you have a current codebook his answer was yea some were. My next question was did you go to electrical school or how did you otherwise get your training. No he had not gone to trade school and had worked under another electrician who taught him what he needed to do. My next question was did you ever get your work inspected he replied no. He then had us call his boss and explain things that were wrong he immediately came out to the job site all pissed off we dare question the work.
I asked his boss the same questions and he said he was school trained and worked under several electricians all of whom did the same exact kind of wiring and never had it questioned. The Inspector and myself looked at each other as to say what a snow job this guy was giving us. Any good electrician knows you cannot double back boxes in firewalls with out proper boxes Putty fire shield Pads etc. .At this point the electrician is crying about all the work he is going to have to do to correct this situation and the cost.
Now it could be other jurisdictions inspectors are not s well trained as this inspector
Or do as complete an inspection.
Well this time he got caught and was going to do the job correctly.
Needless to say how many buildings are there out there this guy wired incorrectly.
We then proceed to the basement area were the man putting up drywall is not putting the correct fire resistant type, thickness and holding brackets. Again the same stories I am only doing what the boss said, to do. I know this dry wall installer personally and I tell him he knows better and he huffs and walks away his boss shows up couple of minutes later and all the usual excuses and says he will get it taken care of.
This goes on several times in the project with shoddy work being done because they think they can get away with it. They know all along what the codes are and just do no care to follow them it is hurry up get the job done as fast as you can make as much money as you can and get on to the next job let the next guy deal with it. [Which is usually me]
This same scenario of I did not know, I was told to do it that way, the architect said it was OK the other Building Inspector said it was Ok, I do not care what the codes are this is all I was paid to do the job for and I could go on for 12 more paragraphs of excuses. Gets played out every day everywhere there is work being done.
Now I have done my share of mistakes and had to correct them on job sites when I first started working but each time I asked questions and got the correct answers to make sure the next job did not have the same problems. I viewed it as a learning experince.
Not some inspector busting my chops.
I here it from contractors asking inspectors all the time how come Markowitz was allowed to do something different then how they did it the answer is because I educated my self on the codes and found out the allowable alternatives to satisfying the codes. I asked the right questions they did not even bother to call and talk to the inspector till they were done and ready for inspection.
I check with the inspectors and find out what codes they want followed and any additional requirements before I bid and or do the job especially when I am working in a new jurisdiction, and since I know the codes I can intelligently talk to the inspector and tell him why I am doing something how I am doing it and get there input before I get into trouble. So I get no surprises and I call the inspector when a possible problem develops to help make sure it will pass or see if alternatives are available. I get several Free Trade magazines and periodicals so I can keep up on the latest codes and tends. And I attend free or pay for training seminars when I can. But please do not pat me on the back for doing a good job. I am not blowing my own horn this is what exactly every good competent Professional contractor does in his or her trade.
I refuse to work for general contractors, builders and other’s who do shoddy work.
I bid a job and do the work only if it can be done so correctly for the amount of money I have bid. If the person comes back and wants me to cut my price then it is good-bye get some one else. A trap all too many other contractors risk because they figure they will make the money up in the end with extras. This is a bad precedent to start a job going into it knowing you will be losing money and then trying to figure out where you’re going to make it up. That means the consumer looses.

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