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  • Writer's pictureSean Connolly


Lacking Professional Oversight

In a meeting with a homeowner to gather notes for an estimate, I noticed that the exterior siding in one area had recently been replaced. I asked “Who performed your siding work?”

He replied “A worker”.

A “worker”, aka a “weekend warrior”, a "guy who does work on the side”, a “fly-by- nighter” or a “construction moonlighter" is typically someone who works for a contractor full time while picking up odd jobs on the weekend or after-hours to supplement their income. Many of these "workers" may be pretty good guys. Their craftsmanship may even be excellent in one specialty area or another, under one major caveat; the supervision of a licensed contractor. Unfortunately, a "worker" may actually be an unskilled hustler who disappears like a vapor once he has been paid any sum of money.

Image: Lacking Professional Oversight in Crawlspace Project

Homeowners hire a "worker" to save money using a cheaper work force without realizing the money pitfalls and hazards that can and often occur. Homeowners should be aware and make a conscientious and informed decision with consideration of the potential pitfalls and hazards of hiring a "worker".

What is Lacking?

  • Professional oversight

  • Risk management

  • Responsive warranty on craftsmanship

  • Proper licensing and insurance

  • Permitted and inspected work

Although a worker may have knowledge and skill in the construction field they lack the sound business practices, professional work ethics, and risk management techniques that a seasoned, experienced and licensed contractor brings to the table. A worker will not have access to the same resources, reinforcements, and oversight that enable a high performance completion of a project. Typically, a worker does not report their side income nor pull proper permits, creating an underground economy that is difficult to trace should error or issue arise. Additionally, most workers lack professional licensing and certifications that indicate their level of training. Image: Proper Oversight and Inspections

What the worker lacks, dramatically increases the homeowner's exposure and risk to liabilities in structural failures, environmental risks, and personal injury occurrences and claims. These are major money pitfalls. Often, projects performed or attempted by a worker neglect important details such as flashing, safety precautions, and proper installation techniques. Case in Point; The improper installation techniques of the siding, by a "worker", channeled rain water through areas that were not flashed or sloped properly and into the wall cavity.

Potential Hazards and Pitfalls

Structural Failures

Improper installation of materials, cutting corners, lacking knowledge of proper building codes without the checks and balances of permits and inspections. Inferior building material use that results in leaking shower pans and plumbing.

Environmental Risks:

Improper and unsafe remediation practices which cause exposure to lead paint, asbestos, or mold.

Personal Injury:

Unsafe work practices and job site maintenance that results in a Worker injury, visitor injury, or homeowner injury.

Identifying Factors that Increase Homeowner Liability

  • Negligence to pull permits for the job.

  • Improper tool use.

  • Engaging in work practices to cover up or patch jobs.

  • Using make shift tools to perform work (i.e. using a disposed toilet as a saw horses) *recently saw this in practice, breathing new life in a post I had intended to write months ago.

  • Unsafe work spaces such as blocked walkways with tripping hazards.

  • Improper ventilation including blow back of contsruction particles into the home.

  • Negligence to protect homeowner belongings and spaces with zip walls, drop cloths and tarps.

Supporting an underground economy to save a few dollars is a lose/lose risk for the homeowner. Research and perform extreme due diligence before hiring someone to perform maintenance and repairs to your home. Your home is an investment, invest wisely. Through that research you will discover a plentitude of horror stories about failed home improvement projects. In many instances, the negligence was performed by a worker, not a licensed contractor. Safeguard against the hazards and pitfalls of hiring a "worker". Begin, by visiting the South Carolina Labor and Licensing website to perform a licensee lookup at South Carolina Deparment of Labor and Licensing. Hire legitimately.

MSC Construction, LLC is a licensed and insured contractor providing professional oversight for the highest quality in materials and craftsmanship. We strive to maintain a clean and safe work environment. Employees are tax paying, documented and insured individuals. Our tradesmen are licensed and insured in their respective specialties.

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