Somewhere out there, as the late American comedian George Carlin once famously pointed out, there is a doctor who is, by any measurable metric, ‘the worst doctor in the world’. Not merely a lazy doctor, or a forgetful doctor or a doctor who skipped important lessons during his studies, but the absolute, unquestionable worst medical practitioner in the trade.
The same is true for any profession, including contractors.
Most industries here in the UK and throughout the developed world have a number of rules and regulations in place to safeguard unsuspecting citizens against this type of incompetence, making it highly unlikely that you have come into contact with the worst contractor (or doctor, for that matter). But what happens when we narrow down our field? While the worst doctor in the world is hidden away in some foreign jungle, removing livers to combat the common cold and chopping off limbs that have no business being amputated, there exists a ‘worst doctor in the British Isles’. This doctor has managed to be ‘just good enough’ to slip through the cracks of regulation, and is now responsible for the health of citizens.
Again, the same is true for building contractors.
In fact, when it comes to renovation, the problem is almost certainly worse. Our health and the health of our families are of vital importance, and we take medical malpractice quite seriously, as we should. Incompetent doctors often find themselves stripped of their qualifications, lambasted in the newspapers and subjected to legal action from displeased patients.
On this point, with contractors the same is not always true. In society’s established hierarchy, our health is seen as being significantly more important than our homes. While I certainly wouldn’t argue to the contrary, unfortunately this can often equate to incompetent contractors flying under the radar and escaping public scorn. Though perhaps not as important as our health, our homes are still greatly important in their own right.
It is, therefore, quite important that we take steps to ensure that the contractors and renovation specialists we hire to work on our homes are up to the task. Simple things, including past work reference checks, client referrals and putting contract terms down on paper, can go a long way towards ensuring that the tradesperson you hire is a competent professional. After all, just as we wouldn’t want ‘the worst doctor in the British Isles’ performing our surgery, we don’t want the worst contractor in the British Isles building our deck!