I don’t live in Florida, nor am I familiar with the state’s laws.
But, I can see from the article that the problems with governmental insertion into the building trades and with contractor licensing is pretty much the same as here, in Illinois, and in most states.
When problems like this occur, people tend to look towards the “government” to make things right, to “protect the consumer”. This is the problem with the public’s perception and expectations.
State’s provide licenses, but the license does not always (or usually) actually mean anything.
“But it’s what program officials don’t emphasize that people need to know: If something goes wrong with the contractor’s performance, the program is not to blame.
Homeowners have to assume more responsibility in finding a reputable contractor, in part, because My Safe Florida Home and the state licensing agency for contractors don’t tell them everything they need to know.”
People assume, wrongly, that the state has some great qualifications test or requirements for contractors. As HIs know, this is rarely the case. As the above quote points out, the responsibility is on the home owner to “check up” on the contractor. But, as I am sure that most of you also know, the client does not, really, have any means to do so. They assume, also wrongly, that being on the state’s list is, in fact, a qualification. They assume that the state is doing their work for them.
“My Safe Florida Home officials don’t thoroughly check the backgrounds of contractors on their list, particularly when it comes to prior complaints or disciplinary action.
And the licensing agency, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, can take up to a year to investigate contractors, allowing the companies to continue working during that time.
The two agencies don’t share complaint information, further complicating the process.”
The above says it all, and it should be understood by the general public. One thing that home inspectors can do is to make this basic fact more understood by the public.
I am doing a couple of phased construction inspections for clients who are having their houses built. I, regularly, find defects and problems (no flashing above or around the windows, bad framing, bad roofing, bad plumbing, etc, often with the work done by unlicensed and unprofessional subs) but I have a very hard time convincing the client’s that the work is wrong.
"But how can the code inspectors let that pass? "
“But my Architect says that it is OK. Who are you to say different?”
“The contractors says that if you do it your way, it will cost too much.”
Too often, people assume that the government (either the state, or the local code guys) know better and will protect them.
I just write my findings up and give them, along with my recommendations, to the client. That is what they pay me to do.
I have had the client’s come back (three times, so far) and complain and try to get me to pay when the defects I have found cause problems. I just pont to my report and say, “I informed you of this problem about 8 moths ago. You chose to accept the work then. I am sorry for your misfortune, but, it would seem to me, you brought it on yourself.”
I would say that the general public brings on their own problems by relying, much to heavily, on the government to do their job for them.
But few people ever want to admit their own failings. Much easier to find a scapegoat and sue them, isn’t it? :mrgreen:
This is an area where HIs can really get more business. Educate the public.
Joe, maybe you could find a good reporter and have them do an article on this aspect of the problem.