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Is Your Contractor Doing It Right?


By Dave Rongey - Summary:

How a Homeowner Can Know if their Contractor is Great or a Fake – Both the homeowner and the electrical contractor should never assume anything, but rather ask questions and make sure every detail is agreed on and understood.

How a Homeowner Can Know if their Contractor is Great or a Fake

Electrical Question: I’m having a contractor extend an existing covered patio out another 15 feet.

Is this configuration OK?

Background: Scott, a Homeowner from Katy, TX

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Scott.

Is Your Contractor Great or a Fake?

Homeowners and (some so-called) Contractors

Is Your Contractor Installing the Right Electrical Wiring?

Is Your “Contractor” Legitimate?
Find out for sure if the worker is really a contractor, and I mean a Licensed Contractor. Ask to see their business card and check them out with your state contractors licensing agency. If your contractor is performing work without a permit, then I would start asking more questions, after all, it is your house!

Making Sure Your Project is Done Right


More about Electrical Contractors and Homeowners

Home Improvement Question: Hi, my question is about the electrical community standard practice, regarding electrician error vs homeowner change-order. How would you have handled this with the homeowner?
In a whole-house gut renovation rough-in, the electrical contractor’s  assistant begins wiring outlets in back bedrooms. The old boxes, installed 40 years ago, are only 6″ off the floor, assistant pops new boxes in same spots. After six outlets, the homeowner arrives to say “you didn’t ask where I wanted them! I want them 22″ from the floor. You should have asked, since 6″ is so odd.” (There’s been much conversation about how homeowner plans to grow old here, with ADA accommodations.) Drywall gone on exterior walls in one of three rooms rewired, insulation in miserable shape, the electrical contractor informed all drywall is coming down (so no reason to avoid cutting another hole.) EC raises outlets, rewiring each since first wire not long enough (coming from underneath). The homeowner feels this is electrical contractors error, electrical contractor says nothing about extra charges to correct it.

Homeowner overpays EC along the way. Seven months later (yes), when violations finally being cleared, electrical contractor refuses to refund extra, in part by charging homeowner additional 300+% of original outlet costs to raise them. (original charge $25 each, move charge 5 hours labor at $85/hr, plus $45 for extra wire)

How would you have handled this with homeowner? Thanks!

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Scott.

I really do not like to get in the middle of a problem like this, however here is my suggestion to avoid problems between the homeowner and the electrical contractor for a home improvement project.
The project should start with a well defined set of plans and an approved contract with the homeowner which reflects the set of plans.
Changes with anything having to do with the contract should be submitted in the form of a change order which should be approved and signed by the homeowner before the change is made.
Problems with the contractors employees and the work that is being performed should be brought to the attention of the contractor right away and dealt with.
If the homeowner is not happy with the project then the final payment may be withheld until the situation is taken care of.

In short, most home improvement problems can be avoided with good communication. Both the homeowner and the electrical contractor should never assume anything, but rather ask questions and make sure every detail is agreed on and understood.

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