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Michael Gibbons
02-28-2008, 5:24 PM
I crack up at the shoddy workmanship that Mike Homes finds in the homes of the people that hire him to fix the screw ups. Are there that many bad contractors out there? Aren't there schools that teach the right way to do things? I'm not a builder by any means but I know enough that I wouldn't do it the wrong way. Some things are just common sense. Do any of these shaddy contractors have a lick of conscience among them? I'd like to find out who pays the bills behind the show since most of the victims have already spent all the money they had. Why does Canada still use English sized lumber? I wonder if any of the bad contractors have made threats against Mike Holmes for pointing out the flaws? What are some ways to deal with paying contractors? Does the " pay when finished and final inspection is done" fly with most?

Joe Chritz
02-29-2008, 6:37 AM
Not sure where to start so here goes..


I crack up at the shoddy workmanship that Mike Homes finds in the homes of the people that hire him to fix the screw ups.

I'm out of the loop since I don't know who he is but I have no doubt some of the things seen are funny at best.

Are there that many bad contractors out there?

Indeed there are. There are people who will be crooks no matter what they do.

Aren't there schools that teach the right way to do things?

I have only ever seen schools for taking the builders test or trade schools. High school building trades would be the same sort of thing.

I'm not a builder by any means but I know enough that I wouldn't do it the wrong way. Some things are just common sense.

Common sense is uncommon. Code is a bare minimum that many people think is gospel.

Do any of these shaddy contractors have a lick of conscience among them?

Nope or they wouldn't be shaddy.

I'd like to find out who pays the bills behind the show since most of the victims have already spent all the money they had.

Commercial interests, same as most other shows.

Why does Canada still use English sized lumber?

I wasn't aware that they did. If it is mentioned in the show it may just be stated that way to not confuse the metrically challenged Americans.

I wonder if any of the bad contractors have made threats against Mike Holmes for pointing out the flaws?

I doubt they are happy with it but there isn't much they can threaten unless he is making things up.

What are some ways to deal with paying contractors?

Cash is good.

Does the " pay when finished and final inspection is done" fly with most?

I would only do work with a partial payment or down payment unless the job is small. The majority of the payment would be upon completion. I like to think I am not shaddy, however so that factors into that. There are complaint systems set up through the licensing agency for purchaser protection and leins for contractor protection.



Now one of mine.....

If Jimmy cracks corn and nobody cares then why does he keep doing it?

You should see some of the stuff I get to deal with in my professional job. Every spring is the gypsies and the driveway refinishing scams.

Joe

Greg Cole
02-29-2008, 10:49 AM
Coworker just BARELY moved into a BRAND NEW home here in the Kansas City Metro. Literally one week ago. 2 major issues with plumbing....
#1) leak detected from 2nd story bathroom first audible drips hitting the top side of the sheetrock ceiling.... visible wet spot next and it won't stop even with the faucet shut off. Close inspection (after ripping out wet 'rock) shows where a screw was penetrating the supply line from rock installation. Not sure how it didn't leak all the time sitting there as the line is pressurized once ya bleed the air out (which was done during the home inspection to verify plumbing etc).
#2) Coworkers wife wants to use the "jet tub" in the master suite (while her hub is at work). She fills the tub @ 1/2 way, and can't seem to get it full. She lets the water run & run & run.... still only 1/2 way full. She calls her hub and he heads home to see whats up.... there is water all over the ceiling, walls, TV, stereo etc in the living room below the master bath. The supply and drain lines were never connected to the pump for the jet tub.

I'd be wary of buying anything built by most contractors in this day & age unless you have done some homework. Seeing a home go up on a foundation poured a week ago is just the start of the 1/2 butt work....

Greg

Belinda Williamson
02-29-2008, 11:24 AM
Now one of mine.....

If Jimmy cracks corn and nobody cares then why does he keep doing it?
Jimmy cracks corn because he likes cracked corn.

You should see some of the stuff I get to deal with in my professional job. Every spring is the gypsies and the driveway refinishing scams.

Joe

One of mine . . .
If a woman complains to a man, and he is the only other person in the room, does she make a sound? :p

I lived in North Augusta, SC, winter home of the gypsies, for years. You would not believe the scams reported to our local law enforcement. They are interesting folk for sure. They painted my grandfather's house for $200.00 (he was elderly and that seemed a reasonable price to him). It looked great for two days . . . until it rained.

stacey martin
02-29-2008, 11:39 PM
I watched one last night and I think they need a inspector for the inspector.
Stacey

Joe Skinner
03-03-2008, 8:04 PM
Actually, that show made me rethink a career move.

A couple of years ago, I got tired of sitting at a desk and decided to become a kitchen/bath remodeler. So I started doing some research and paying off bills. I worked out the numbers and started to get some vendors and possible clients lined up. Well, after watching Mike's show, I decided that I do not yet possess the skills to do a good job and I won't do shoddy work. I figured that I would probably blow my margins trying to fix my own mistakes and that would be bad from a business perspective.

So, I found a desk that pays more and is in a new office, so maybe I can hold out a few more years.

Jeffrey Makiel
03-04-2008, 1:35 PM
The contracting business has become hyper competitive. There are simply too many people who have lost their primary job and/or career that are now seeking work in home improvement because retail and service jobs can not support one's family. In addition, illegal immigrants and legal foreign nationals are being exploited in many of the construction trades that don't require individual licensing or the jobsite does not require union trade. This drives down labor rates and pushes out craftmanship.

Also, let's not forget homeowners who wants things cheap. You know, the Walmart mentallity that is so ever prevalent in society today. They want labor rates commensurate to Home Depot material prices. Money is all that matters. Some of the more informed ones get their worldy wisdom from TV home shows. And the depth of knowledge by others is that plumbing, electrical, carpentry, etc. all happens by magic while they're at the office.

In my opinion, this is a recipe for shoddy worksmanship, and it may get worse as the housing market slumps and the recession comes on.

-Jeff :)

Ben Grunow
03-04-2008, 8:06 PM
Quality, accountability and code compliance come down to one person and that is the person who is the builder (me 5 days a week occasionally 6 or 7).

If the man in charge is not knowledgable and consciencious then the job is doomed from day one as most tradesaman have less than enough education and common sense to get a house built without any problems. It is the responsibilty of the person who hires and oversees all of the subs to hold them to a standard and ensure code compliance and be sure that things are done in a way that they look like they were planned and they will last a lifetime.

I am astounded at the things I see even from my subs who I hire because they do a nice job. We use cast iron pipe for DWV, stainless nails on all outside work, ice and water shield under all roofing (not wood shingles on lath) rubber membranes around doors and windows and flashings where required. Pipes dont freeze in our homes and systems work as they were designed to because we ensure that they are properly designed and installed.

Never had a call back for anything related to workmanship.

Find a builder who works or is on the job (we usually do one job at a time and we are there with tools on) and you have started out on the right foot. Issues are dealt with as they arise by the boss and there are never any emergency suprises.

Check references too.

Mike Cutler
03-04-2008, 9:02 PM
Ben

I'm willing to bet that you are booked far into the future.
Good builders are never out of work.;)

Gary Herrmann
03-04-2008, 9:17 PM
Having watched very expensive houses get built all around me, I would be leary of hiring someone to build an addition to my old house. The houses I'm speaking of range up to $1 million and I am appalled at the workmanship.

As an old carpenter friend of mine reminds me - "40 years ago we didn't have caulk. We had to build things to fit."

If I ever get around to building my addition I will do it myself or take a long long time finding someone to do the work.

Greg Cole
03-05-2008, 9:03 AM
Good builders are never out of work.;)

Excellent point. If a contractor can be there "today or tomorrow" that's a sign they're not busy enough in general....
I'm with Gary, IF something gets done at my house 99% of the time I'll be my own GC and sub out the work to myself.:rolleyes:

Greg

Ben Grunow
03-05-2008, 8:27 PM
The Town of Greenwich (all my work is there) makes the permit process so complicated that we are not really booked that far in advance as most people dont know when or if they are going to get a permit so they look for builders sort of last minute. It can be a little nerve wracking but we are always working and the phone never stops ringing despite our lack of business cards or company name on the truck. Knock on wood.

Lee Koepke
03-05-2008, 8:54 PM
I am in the 'business' too. I do commercial contracting, and the stuff I see on Holmes is shocking.....but not uncommon.

I have seen several of his shows where the people checked references, looked at previous work, and didnt pick the lowest bid, but still got crappy work.

Its unfortunate that contractors that do good work ( and that is a MAJORITY ) have to deal with the rep of bad quality. One bad job spreads a thousand times farther than 100 good jobs. The good contractors know who they are and who their market is.

Michael Gibbons
03-06-2008, 2:27 AM
The contracting business has become hyper competitive. There are simply too many people who have lost their primary job and/or career that are now seeking work in home improvement because retail and service jobs can not support one's family. In addition, illegal immigrants and legal foreign nationals are being exploited in many of the construction trades that don't require individual licensing or the jobsite does not require union trade. This drives down labor rates and pushes out craftmanship.

Also, let's not forget homeowners who wants things cheap. You know, the Walmart mentallity that is so ever prevalent in society today. They want labor rates commensurate to Home Depot material prices. Money is all that matters. Some of the more informed ones get their worldy wisdom from TV home shows. And the depth of knowledge by others is that plumbing, electrical, carpentry, etc. all happens by magic while they're at the office.

In my opinion, this is a recipe for shoddy worksmanship, and it may get worse as the housing market slumps and the recession comes on.

-Jeff :) I don't know about your whole statement, Jeffery. On the show the people tell Mike how much they have spent to get the job done and it's usually in the tens of thousands and a couple episodes the people spent over $100,000 so, for the most part, money isn't the issue. They were willing to spend what the contractors asked for but the contactors didn't deliver.

Jeffrey Makiel
03-06-2008, 8:15 AM
Tens of thousands is not a lot of money anymore for remodel work. The average kitchen and bath remodel work, or window replacement in my area easily surpasses $20K. This does not even include an structural modifications. Also, I don't put too much stock in any home show including This Old House. The camera changes 'real life'. They are there to entertain you, not bore you.

The 'money issue' is also dependent on were the work is being done. There's a big difference in doing work for folks in Greenwich, CT versus Elizabeth, NJ.

It should also be noted that working in a residential environment can be very aggravating and difficult for any contractor. After all, the contractor is working in a familiy's beloved home. Things are often scrutinized much more than commercial, institutional and industrial contracts, especially regarding the aesthetics of a job. Even 'reputable' contractors often have their patients and wallet stretched by demanding homeowners seeking abolute perfection. I've seen this behavior with myself, family members, friends and neighbors.

-Jeff :)

Michael Gibbons
03-06-2008, 9:10 AM
Tens of thousands is not a lot of money anymore for remodel work. The average kitchen and bath remodel work, or window replacement in my area easily surpasses $20K. This does not even include an structural modifications. Also, I don't put too much stock in any home show including This Old House. The camera changes 'real life'. They are there to entertain you, not bore you.

The 'money issue' is also dependent on were the work is being done. There's a big difference in doing work for folks in Greenwich, CT versus Elizabeth, NJ.

It should also be noted that working in a residential environment can be very aggravating and difficult for any contractor. After all, the contractor is working in a familiy's beloved home. Things are often scrutinized much more than commercial, institutional and industrial contracts, especially regarding the aesthetics of a job. Even 'reputable' contractors often have their patients and wallet stretched by demanding homeowners seeking abolute perfection. I've seen this behavior with myself, family members, friends and neighbors.

-Jeff :)O.K. Point taken. Have you seen this show I'm talking about?

Jeffrey Makiel
03-06-2008, 10:32 AM
Yeah...but I must admit, it was in a semi-conscious manner (TV on in the background while eating dinner :)) and too lazy to change the channel. I normally watch the national news while feeding, but the excessive election coverage is killing me.

Who would have thought...200 channels now and there's still nothing to watch!

cheers,
-Jeff :)