Let’s spend some time talking about specialty trades.

Weekly Call: Bathroom Renovation Dilemma

We got a call this week from a couple in town. They recently hired a contractor that had completed a bathroom renovation in their basement. While I don’t have all the details, essentially the contractor never pulled permits, the city inspectors have caught wind, and are now needing proof that the items that would have been inspected during the build are satisfactory.

The Consequences: Tearing Out and Starting Over

So, what’s the big deal? Well, this is likely going to require tearing out floors, potentially walls, and starting all over with plumbing and electrical. And worst of all, at the end of the day, we couldn’t help them. Not because we didn’t want to, but because we aren’t licensed to.

License Matters in Specialty Work

In a prior post, we talked about what it means to be licensed in Iowa. In most cases, General Contractors are NOT licensed to do specialized work (plumbing, electrical, HVAC) themselves.

The DIY Disasters and Shoddy Craftsmanship

You would be appalled at the amount of DIY disasters we have uncovered by previous homeowners or shoddy craftsmanship by others before us. Not to frighten folks, but some genuinely unsafe situations, to be frank.

Understanding General Contractors

General Contractors generally fall into two categories – Those that are project leads, and coordinate the work of all trades to complete the work, or (like us) those that schedule the work of specialty-licensed trades in parallel to doing much of the work themselves.

Choosing the Right Contractor

When you are Googling “Contractors Near Me,” its super important you distinguish what type of contractor you are looking for. Framers frame, welders fabricate, plumbers plumb – you get the idea.

Specialized Trades to Consider

Here is a short list of some of the more specialized trades that you might considered when addressing a single element of a larger project: Plumber, Electrician, Framing, Roofing, HVAC, Concrete/Masonry, Welding etc.

Project Management in Construction

If you are looking for someone to manage a project that may cross over several of these lanes, in addition to the more traditional construction-related tasks (i.e. Cabinetry, Flooring, Millwork, Sheetrocking, Painting, Siding, Windows, Doors, etc.) then considering someone in the “General” contracting field is probably the best bet.

Integrity in Action

Back to the call this week – we could have taken the job, called around to some plumbers and electricians on the customers behalf, gotten some figures thrown together, marked it up a few thousand dollars and never lifted a finger. That’s not who we are, or what we are about. Instead, we referred them to specialty subs in the area we hold in high regard and wished them luck.

Integrity: A Solution to the Mess

A lack of integrity got that homeowner into a mess, hopefully a little dose of it will help them get out!