Stories From the Field

Stories From the Field

Post: Ask the Hard Questions

Saturday April 16, 2016

Working as a masonry restorationist in Chicago, I see a great deal of shady construction practices daily. Whether it be poor workmanship, low-quality materials, or working in inappropriate weather conditions, I am sometimes astounded at all of the corners contractors cut. In fairness, I guess one could argue that some of these contractors may not realize the consequences of their actions (i.e., they are not intentionally trying to do a poor job). But does that excuse the corner-cutting when you, the consumer, are paying for the job?

When a particular building trade doesn't perform to the very highest standards, it's a black eye on all of the trades.

In early April, the Chicago Tribune wrote this article about Chicago building inspector Roberto Uribe, and his attempts to extort money from building owners in exchange for favorable inspection reports. As reporter Jason Meisner wrote, his corrupt practices are "ripped out of some old-school handbook of Chicago graft", and they tarnish the reputation of all the trades.

Before you take on a new project, be sure to vet your contractors thoroughly and don't be afraid to ask the hard questions (i.e., "Please provide me with proof of insurance, including Workman's Comp and General Liability." "Please provide the contact information for several of your clients in the area." "Are there additional costs for the work, such as permits?" "How many days will the job require?")

If you suspect that a contractor or inspector is performing inappropriately or illegally, report it to the proper authorities immediately.

Thank you for your trust and continued support.

—Rob


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