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Crooked Dealings

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Old 01-25-2019, 04:22 PM   #1
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Crooked Dealings

Following another discussion on a forum where folks were discussing some sub par work on a highway project that has caused lots of problems. Have all kinds of "non construction people" weighing in and saying how crooked all of the contractors are, how municipal officials are being bribed, shoddy work was ignored, etc., etc. The consensus with the uninformed seems to be that crooked dealings in the construction industry are the norm and it goes on every day.

Of course I had to jump in and defend our industry a bit. From what I experienced in 40 years in the business, most people are generally pretty honest and fair to deal with. Grant it, there are a few cheapskates and bad apples you need to stay away from, but most are folks pretty decent.

They make it sound as if it's a simple matter of the contractor giving the customer or arch / engineer some favors or cash, then they turn a blind eye and allows the contractor to do less that what is stipulated in the contract. Not saying some of this stuff doesn't happen, but people get locked up in jail for this stuff and it's far from commonplace.

About the worst things I ever saw was a case or two where an owner trying to get us to overcharge or do additional work on insurance claims, which we refused to do. Or contractors sharing their subcontractors bid numbers and beating them against one another until they got a low enough number they liked.

As far as blatantly cutting corners on quality, I can't say that I ever saw much of that. When quality was bad it was usually because somebody hired a crummy low bid subcontractor that didn't know what they were doing, and I can tell you that we tore out and reworked a few of those at our own expense.

Contractors kind of get a bad rap from the uninformed public, and I think a lot of it is due to the the problems associated with low bid public works construction that is always in the news. When you are forced to hire the cheapest guy by law every time, you are going to have some issues.

Do others think customers have some preconceived notions like this about contractors?
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Old 01-25-2019, 04:43 PM   #2
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Re: Crooked Dealings

It was explained to me by my first employer that everybody has been burned by somebody once. If they haven't, they know somebody who has.
There are so many different trades out there but we all get lumped together as "contractors."
Shady big city guys and polite small outfits like me are all lumped together.
It's incumbent upon us to be professional and tell our clients what to look out for. If our prices are good and we're honest, we'll get the job. At the very least, maybe we give somebody else an idea of what the contractor/customer relationship should look like.
I get a lot of first timers. Young couples that just moved from the city and have never hired anybody before. I try to leave them with a good impression of us all.

But yeah, I've seen some bad **** before. Never took part in it.


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Old 01-25-2019, 04:49 PM   #3
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Re: Crooked Dealings

I know most public or government projects around here have alot of independent auditors/contractors to ensure a standard or quality of work and products being used like testing the heat of asphalt or compression tests after it is rolled to ensure sufficient compaction.

I did a small project on a library (brick piers only) and there was a consultant that was there the whole time watching over the project to ensure everything was done to the plans. He even took samples of my mortar that i was using....

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Old 01-25-2019, 05:24 PM   #4
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Re: Crooked Dealings

Look enough and there are shylocks in every profession and business. Why are we singled out? I'm going to say the amounts and/or price tag has much to do with it.
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Old 01-25-2019, 09:57 PM   #5
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Re: Crooked Dealings

The problem with public projects is politics, not contractors. Delays cost money, and there are plenty of chances for political delays

The upside us there is usually money on the table for change orders. I've seen the 10% reserve eaten up in site prep and redesign due to site conditions.
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Old 01-26-2019, 01:48 AM   #6
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Re: Crooked Dealings

Originally Posted by Irishslave View Post
Look enough and there are shylocks in every profession and business. Why are we singled out? I'm going to say the amounts and/or price tag has much to do with it.
and the general perception because we work with our hands and get dirty we are a bunch of uneducated sloths just waiting to take advantage of someone...
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Seven-Delta-FortyOne (01-26-2019)
Old 01-26-2019, 07:44 AM   #7
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Re: Crooked Dealings

What other biz can a flim flam man hustle somebody for so much money up front for oh say, windows, or a roof - then disappear?

And what other industry is such that folks think they can "DIY" if they just wanted to find the time?

Not dentistry, or doctors. Not septic cleaning or roto rooting. Not tree trimming generally - and so on.


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