I must be getting old, I've been in a relflective mood...
Once upon a time, I did a 3 year stint as an electrician, this was mixed
in with various carpentry and masonry jobs.
We did mostly industrial work but filled in with new house work and
rewiring old houses.
One job was the rewiring of a 30's era house, the lady that owned the
place had a minor electrical fire and wanted everything replaced and
brought up to code, all light fixtures with the exception of one was to be
The fixture in question was a huge, many socketed affair made of cast
brass, probably weighed 50 lbs, a price was agreed on to repair the
fixture and one rainy day work began.
Some one in the past had painted the fixture with a brown enamel paint,
we disassembled the fixture, soaked the whole thing in stripper. cleaned
it up, polished it with a buffing wheel, reassmbled with new wiring and
sockets, and finally give the whole thing a clear coat to prevent
It was a work of art and shone like new money.
Made the trip to hang the refurbished fixture and unboxed it in front
of the owner, she turned white, then red, sputtering in anger
saying that it had to be painted brown.
A can of brown spray paint returned the fixture to its former
tacky glory and everyone was happy.
Main lesson learned: never assume anything when dealing
with a client.
On Mon, 04 Mar 2013 09:30:21 -0600, Swingman wrote:
The county I live in has no rural permitting/inspection structure, there
are some rules that apply to general contractors for construction for
Basically, anyone can build anything on their property for their use in
any way they see fit, this is nice from a freedom point of view, but many
of these properties eventually come on the market and leave buyers with a
pile of crap that is expensive to fix.
I am never in favor of more gov't intervention, but the unsuspecting
buyer can get burned badly.
When i worked in the trades here, there was no enforcement of any branch
of building codes, the only thing that controlled the quality of the work
was a GC's moral character.
The electrician I worked with held a master license first in TX and then
in AL, he was a sticlker for abiding by the code. We lost a lot of work to
those willing to cut corners.
Know the feeling ... those who have the ultimate responsibility, and
LIABILITY, call the shots ... it would be foolish to expect otherwise,
something not always appreciated by clients, architects and other
wannabe builders. (Architects are the worst, and I have turned down many
a job because of the project Architect)
Also, there is an upside to rigidly enforced building codes that the
fly-by-night GC doesn't appreciate it:
... not only does it protect the home owner, it protects the
builder/GC in just as many, if not more, ways, particularly when it
comes to enforcing performance clauses in contracts ... it is
impossible/futile for a subcontractor to argue if his works fails to
pass inspection because it does not meet code.
That alone has done wonders for job site relationships and harmony in
pursuit of getting the job done right, if you know what I mean ... it
takes a bit of "BTDT" to appreciate that point fully. ;)
That is one of the main reasons why, for any house I build in a rural area
with no code or inspection requirements, I hire, FBO homeowner, a licensed,
third party inspector to inspect every step of the construction process
before going on to the next, including a formal Building Final.
Not that I need one, but It is naive to think that any third party, from
insurer to future homebuyer, is going to take the word of any GC that
everything was done correctly. Not only does it benefit me as a double
check, but the client is protected, now and in the future.
I also insist the PE make foundation and framing visits so that he can
issue 'wet stamp', "As Built" letters for both foundation and framing, as
well as I photographically document all Engineering plan specification
requirements for both structures:
Only a damned fool, or a crook, would do otherwise.
It is always possible to get a third party inspection ... AAMOF, it is
common practice here before buying one, even a brand new home, to pay
for a third party home inspection.
The cost is generally in the neighborhood of US$300, and well worth the
expense for the buyer.
Now, if you could just say the same for Realtors ...
There seems to be an abundance of both from what I've seen. Sometimes it is
hard to tell if ignorance, dollars, or dishonesty are driving the decisions
and actions... in other cases it is clearly all three. The homeowners I feel
sorry for are those who try to do the right thing and bring in inspectors
and professionals and still end up with problems. The stories I'm hearing
from associates in FL suggest that the elderly are being preyed upon with
pretty much no recourse. Things may look OK cosmetically but fail quickly...
I wonder how the masses in the younger generations can avoid being taken
since they themselves generally do not know how to use tools or understand
how things work. It is probably fair to say that in general the trades have
become "installers" rather than "builders" and that leads to problems on
both sides. I've had discussions with my sons about what their friends and
classmates can do and the response is that they generally don't know how to
do anything... except push buttons perhaps. My sales and service business
owning friends have been saying for years they cannot find youth whom know
enough to train let alone possess skills. Perhaps in the future the ruling
class will be those who can actually do something... everyone will be at
their mercy! LOL
That would be a switch ... :)
Actually, I'm surprised, at least around this neck of the woods, with
the increasing sophistication of both buyers and remodel clients, even
first time home buyers.
I originally thought that it might be TV that was driving that relative
sophistication, but after watching a few of those show ... Naaahh, don't
I'm more inclined to think now, that those who can afford housing and
remodeling are obviously the few who have the money; and most of those
(elderly excluded) who were smart enough to make it in these times, are
also smart enough to keep it.
So far I can't attribute my observation to anything else ...
On Mon, 4 Mar 2013 13:50:32 -0800, Lew Hodgett wrote:
Not a problem getting insurance, but it is expensive relative to
city dwellers, my homeowners would be 1/3 it's present cost if
I lived in the city. And that is with a large deductable that would leave
me almost on my own should the roof get blown off.
Not surprising, the nearest accredited fire station is 14 miles away,
and it isn't a manned firehouse.
There are some downsides to living out and away, but worth it IMHO.
With all that said, ALFA, one of the big insurers in AL, culled 60,000
older properties in AL last year. State Farm picked up most of the slack
and life goes on.
Yup. One man's beauty is another's trash. And vice versa.
The very first non-critical task I did when we bought our house was to
replace the light fixture from over the kitchen table. My wife and I
shuddered a little each time we looked at it, especially when it was
lit. It was wrought iron, designed to look like a bouquet of
long-stemmed flowers that splayed out on curving stems "tied" together
in the middle. It was painted in numerous loud colors, each flower (10
or so) with a candelabra bulb.
I put it out with the recyclables at maybe 9pm for the next morning's
trash pickup. It wasn't out there fifteen minutes before someone had
snatched it up. I picture the picker chuckling at his good fortune.
"These people musta been CRAZY to throw this out". "Hey honey, you're
never gonna be-LIEVE what I got for free!".
And I'm glad frankly that someone got some use out of it. Someone other
than us, of course.
That's one of those shock things... The appeal isn't in the recycling,
but the surprise someone gets when they see it for the first time.
I was looking at pinball machine parts yesterday, and there was one place
selling a decal set so you can decorate your toilet with a pinball theme.
(It was in the appropriate section, though: Stupid things you don't
need.) DAGS for "Poop bumper" if you're so inclined.
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