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Project Manager HFH..
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I am working on the kitchen of a long time customer.She had had work done 7/8 years ago.Un-permitted and un-inspected .They had moved some walls that supported the ceiling joists to open up the kitchen.The joists started to sag a few weeks after they where done.And believe it or not the original (unlicensed) guy would not call her back.She had a licensed contractor come in and fix the ceiling...

So here I am in 2009 working on her kitchen.She asked me to install a new dimmer switch,no problem.It was in part of the wall that had been worked on by he hack.....

There where two switches in the box....So I open up the box and there is a bare wire on one side of a 3 way switch.:eek:...Upon further review there was a j-box in the attic. Apparently the hack did not have enough 14/3 to run back down to the new location of the box he had moved.
So he tied 14/2 the the old 14/3 and used the ground wire as one of the hots!:blink::blink:...

I know it is not proper etiquette to say anything about someone else's work but in this case I made an exception.:laughing: She learned her lesion with the whole ceiling thing and understands the importance of hiring licensed,insured contractors....

And to the fools that will chime in and say "Yeah,well I've seen licensed contractors do crap like that".If a licensed contractor had did this she would have been able to track him down through the CSLB.He would not have been able to just change his phone number and vanish into thin air..
 

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Project Manager
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So I am working on the kitchen of a long time customer.She had had work done 7/8 years ago.Un-permitted and un-inspected.
This part I find hard to believe....

And believe it or not the original (unlicensed) guy would not call her back.
Again, this I find next to impossible to believe, as we all know there is no difference between a licensed and unlicensed contractor.

And finally, Jack, I say to you "Yeah,well I've seen licensed contractors do crap like that".

Good Day!
 

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I know it is not proper etiquette to say anything about someone else's work but in this case I made an exception.:laughing: She learned her lesion with the whole ceiling thing and understands the importance of hiring licensed,insured contractors....
Though perhaps not "proper etiquette", if you can add value to the relationship, without making the customer feel like a horses rear, then I think what you did was appropriate.

If you can do it in an educational manner, without talking down to them, then you probably earned yourself a nice life-long customer.
 

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Project Manager HFH..
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Though perhaps not "proper etiquette", if you can add value to the relationship, without making the customer feel like a horses rear, then I think what you did was appropriate.

If you can do it in an educational manner, without talking down to them, then you probably earned yourself a nice life-long customer.
In doing so I made it clear it was nothing she would or should or could :laughing:have been aware of.
 

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wow


I would hope that anyone who has spent the time and trouble to learn a trade and get licensed would not do something as dangerous as that.
 

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I always inform the customer,of course delicately, of a situation like this.
If for no other reaseon than to CYA.
Substandard work performed by a previous "contractor" has a way of biting you in the ass during your time there or after you have finished.
 

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I always inform the customer,of course delicately, of a situation like this.
If for no other reaseon than to CYA.
Substandard work performed by a previous "contractor" has a way of biting you in the ass during your time there or after you have finished.
Time and date stamped with the digital camera kept in the tool apron. Printed for the job file and emailed to the customer.



Why, what's wrong with an uninsulated hot wire?
 

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Project Manager HFH..
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Time and date stamped with the digital camera kept in the tool apron. Printed for the job file and emailed to the customer.



Why, what's wrong with an uninsulated hot wire?
Nothing..It worked....:blink::laughing:
 

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We did an addition on a house several years ago which involved removing a window which then became an arch into the new addition. Of course what we found was that the panel was directly below the window. The we discovered that the window had been added after the house was built and when the wall was opened up to install the window they found 18 circuits running up from the panel through the wall and into the attic and out to the house.

So, now, faced with 18 circuits in the way they cut each one below the window opening and above the window opening and wire nutted a longer piece of romex to both ends so that they were able to push to the side of the window. No boxes no nothing.

Needless to say the inspector was suitably impressed. As was the homeowner when they found out what it was going to take to fix.

So the inspector did some checking and went back to the window company who gave the inspector the name of the electrician who did the work.

So we come to find out that the work was done by a licensed electrician who has since disappeared and was inspected (and when I say inspected, I mean not really even looked at) by an inspector what was no longer around. The moral of the story is that whoever you get, be it a handyman, a licensed contractor or whatever, they are either going to do it right because that is how they choose to do things, or they are going to do it however they feel like doing it, owner and inspector be damned.

Licensed contractors can screw up a job just as bad as an unlicensed contractor can. One thing I have always believed is that homeowners need to better understand their house and how to deal with hiring and monitoring their contractors. Of course when you go for the lowest price you can find you more times than not get what you pay for.

Then there is the question of is a general contractor allowed to do electrical in California? In Illinois where we have pretty lax licensing laws you still have to have an electrical license to do electrical including something as simple as changing a dimmer.
 

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We did an addition on a house several years ago which involved removing a window which then became an arch into the new addition. Of course what we found was that the panel was directly below the window. The we discovered that the window had been added after the house was built and when the wall was opened up to install the window they found 18 circuits running up from the panel through the wall and into the attic and out to the house.

So, now, faced with 18 circuits in the way they cut each one below the window opening and above the window opening and wire nutted a longer piece of romex to both ends so that they were able to push to the side of the window. No boxes no nothing.

Needless to say the inspector was suitably impressed. As was the homeowner when they found out what it was going to take to fix.

So the inspector did some checking and went back to the window company who gave the inspector the name of the electrician who did the work.

So we come to find out that the work was done by a licensed electrician who has since disappeared and was inspected (and when I say inspected, I mean not really even looked at) by an inspector what was no longer around. The moral of the story is that whoever you get, be it a handyman, a licensed contractor or whatever, they are either going to do it right because that is how they choose to do things, or they are going to do it however they feel like doing it, owner and inspector be damned.

Licensed contractors can screw up a job just as bad as an unlicensed contractor can. One thing I have always believed is that homeowners need to better understand their house and how to deal with hiring and monitoring their contractors. Of course when you go for the lowest price you can find you more times than not get what you pay for.

Then there is the question of is a general contractor allowed to do electrical in California? In Illinois where we have pretty lax licensing laws you still have to have an electrical license to do electrical including something as simple as changing a dimmer.

This is the problem. A license is a piece of paper. My grandma has a license to drive but she cant drive, I know plumbers in the UK who have licenses and they are dangerous, My wifes best mates boyfriend here in the US has a class b license and he don't know a left handed a screw driver from a right handed screw driver but he hacks all day long. He even hacked up a rental house for my bro in law. I have worked on site with licenses guys for over 15 years and i have seen them do stuff they def shouldn't have done and i have seen so called hacks do a excellent jobs. Some call me a hack but i couldn't care less.
 

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Project Manager HFH..
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Licensed contractors can screw up a job just as bad as an unlicensed contractor can. One thing I have always believed is that homeowners need to better understand their house and how to deal with hiring and monitoring their contractors. Of course when you go for the lowest price you can find you more times than not get what you pay for.

Then there is the question of is a general contractor allowed to do electrical in California? In Illinois where we have pretty lax licensing laws you still have to have an electrical license to do electrical including something as simple as changing a dimmer.
I knew it wouldn't take long for the "licensed contractors do bad work too".
You situation was an anomaly to say the least.A bad contractor AND a bad inspector.....

And I don't live in Illinois.In California a GC can do any trade other that well drilling and fire protection as long as the job being done involves 2 or more trades not including framing or carpentry.I ONLY do things I am qualified to do.Before I got my GC license I worked side by side with an electrical contractor for 6 years.I never do ANYTHING unless I know 110% it is being done properly.
 

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Project Manager HFH..
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
This is the problem. A license is a piece of paper. My grandma has a license to drive but she cant drive, I know plumbers in the UK who have licenses and they are dangerous, My wifes best mates boyfriend here in the US has a class b license and he don't know a left handed a screw driver from a right handed screw driver but he hacks all day long. He even hacked up a rental house for my bro in law. I have worked on site with licenses guys for over 15 years and i have seen them do stuff they def shouldn't have done and i have seen so called hacks do a excellent jobs. Some call me a hack but i couldn't care less.
I don't understand why you can't get this through you thick skull?:blink:
If a licensed contractor screws up or screws over a customer the customer has recourse.They report them to the CSLB and this situation is handled.The CSLB revokes and suspends HUNDREDS of licenses every month.

A hack that screws over someone can just disappear and there is one,no punishment and two,the coustomer is screwed.
 

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Then there is the question of is a general contractor allowed to do electrical in California?
We are allowed to do any trade that is coincidental to the project.

We are not allowed to sub work outside of general carpentry. In short we are not allowed to specialize in electrical or plumbing but if it is part of a larger job then yes we can do all of it.

It has been my experience that you may come under closer scrutiny from an inspector than a specialized sub. But if you can do the work properly your small jobs can move much faster.
 
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I don't understand why you can't get this through you thick skull?:blink:
If a licensed contractor screws up or screws over a customer the customer has recourse.They report them to the CSLB and this situation is handled.The CSLB revokes and suspends HUNDREDS of licenses every month.

A hack that screws over someone can just disappear and there is one,no punishment and two,the coustomer is screwed.
So they take away the contractors license and then he is able to fly under the radar like the rest of them. Your not getting it through your thick skull! Having a license don't mean you wont hack. Like i said I know a few my self that have gotten away with it for years. But they must be one of very few by your thinking:blink: Just accept that licensed or not you can hack.
 

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In NYC I can't and won't install a light fixture, outlet, switch etc.
If I do and get caught it's bye bye license.
 

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Project Manager HFH..
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
We are allowed to do any trade that is coincidental to the project.

We are not allowed to sub work outside of general carpentry. In short we are not allowed to specialize in electrical or plumbing but if it is part of a larger job then yes we can do all of it.

It has been my experience that you may come under closer scrutiny from an inspector than a specialized sub. But if you can do the work properly your small jobs can move much faster.
Well said.
I can't go and install some can lights for someone if that is all that the job is for...But if it is a kitchen remodel and if that is just one on many trades that need to be done then I can.As the GC our butt is on the line.You better not be doing something unless you are doing it 110% correctly.:thumbsup:
 

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Project Manager HFH..
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
So they take away the contractors license and then he is able to fly under the radar like the rest of them. Your not getting it through your thick skull! Having a license don't mean you wont hack. Like i said I know a few my self that have gotten away with it for years. But they must be one of very few by your thinking:blink: Just accept that licensed or not you can hack.
Hack long enough and you won't have a license.If all customers hired contractors that at least CURRENTLY hold licenses then they know that they have the CSLB to fall back on if there is a problem.If there is a problem with an unlicensed contractor they get squat.

Why do we bother to hand out drivers licenses or put license plates on our cars?
ACOUNTABILITY!!!
 
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