The recent demolition project gone wrong in Philadelphia, makes you wonder what went wrong? Are there not procedures to ensure a building does not collapse the wrong way and take the lives of 6 people, while injuring another 13? While there are investigations going on to figure out exactly what happened, a news article noted the contractor hired to demolish the building at 2136-38 Market St. in Philadelphia has a criminal record. ABC reported that the excavator operator was intoxicated, and had a criminal background. So what could have been done to prevent such a tragedy from happening? The blame was passed from contractor to department of licenses and inspections to OSHA. As a property owner all you can do is what you know, so there is a need to educate yourself on how to hire a qualified, insured contractor. Once you’ve planned your project, here are some tips to help in hiring a contractor.
- Pick a few contractors to call for an interview. Once you have considered who you might choose, research their company.
- Find out if your state requires contractors to register for a permit to work, fortunately most do. Make sure certifications are up to date. See the Contract License Board List.
- Check with city hall or the county building department to find out if the Contractor is insured and bonded. You can go to your city website to find that information.
- What is the contractor’s reputation like? The BBB (Better Business Bureau) keeps record of complaints, and grade companies. Also check Yelp, Google, and Angie’s List.
- Ask for References and contact them. If a Company’s work is good, they will be able to provide you with references.
- Request a disclosure statement from the contractor, they should be able to get this from the city website.
2. Check for signs of a scam.
- Are you able to reach the credit reference provided and can they verify the company?
- Do they use aggressive sale tactics, telling you to sign up for Today’s only special?
- Does the company require cash or a large deposit up front to a person’s name not a company name?
- Did they write a contract or bid with you for your documents?
- The contractor is required to take out a building permit, but did they ask you to do it instead?
- When scheduling, it should be during regular business hours, not insistent on just the weekends and after hours.
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Trust your instinct.