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  • UNDERQUALIFIED CONTRACTORS, PLUMBERS, INSPECTORS.

    SINCE THE SUBJECT HAS COME UP ON A FEW DIFFERENT THREADS, WHY NOT DEVOTE A TOPIC ON IT.

    UTAH, I AGREE WITH YOU CONCERNING A LICENSE NOT BEING WORTH THE COST OF THE PLASTIC IT'S PRINTED ON.

    BACK IN 1984 WHEN I TOOK MY CITY OF LOS ANGELES JOURNEYMANS PLUMBING TEST I WAS AMAZED AT HOW EASY THE TEST WAS. THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF THE TEST WAS TRYING TO FIND PARKING AROUND CITY HALL AT 5:00PM FOR THE TEST. AFTER SITTING IN THE INSPECTORS OFFICE AND LOOKING AROUND AT THE OTHER APPLICANTS, I THOUGHT TO MYSELF I JUST FINISHED 4 YEARS OF UNION APPRENTICESHIP AND I DIDN'T RECOGNIZE ANYONE. DID THESE APPLICANTS ACTUALLY HAVE 4 YEARS OF TRAINING? I WOULD SAY NO.
    AFTER BREEZING THROUGH THE TEST AND REVIEWING IT, THE CHIEF INSPECTOR ASKED ME TO WAIT OUTSIDE IN THE HALL SO HE CAN CHECK IT. AFTER A FEW MINUTES REVIEWING THE SCANTRON BY HAND, HE CAME OUTSIDE AND ASKED IF I STUDIED. SURE I SAID AND ASKED IF I MISSED 1 OR 2. HE REPLIED 1.

    MY POINT BEING IS THAT THE REST OF THE APPLLICANTS HAD NOT EVEN FINISHED THE TEST YET. TO ME THE TEST WAS NOT A TEST OF ONES KNOWLEDGE, BUT ONES ABILITY TO ANSWER QUESTIONS MORE ABOUT CODE, THAN REAL PLUMBING KNOWLEDGE.

    NOW THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA CONTRACTORS EXAM.
    I DECIDED TO TAKE A 2 DAY STUDY COURSE(CRASH COURSE). BASICALLY IF YOU COULD REMEMBER THE QUESTIONS FROM THIS COURSE FOR 2 DAYS UNTIL YOUR STATE TEST, YOU WERE SET. AMAZING TO SEE THE SAME QUESTIONS AND FORMAT AS WAS ON THE STATE TEST. ONCE AGAIN A ROOM FULL OF OTHER APPLICANTS FROM ALL TRADES. AS I LOOKED AROUND I COULDN'T BELIEVE THAT THESE PEOPLE ACTUALLY HAD THE QUALIFICATIONS TO APPLY AND BE ACCEPTED FOR THE STATE TEST. THE BUSINESS END WAS THE SAME FOR ALL TRADES. AND YOUR SPECIALTY TRADE WAS THE SECOND HALF. ALL AN APPLICANT NEEDED WAS A 70% SCORE TO PASS ON BOTH SECTIONS. IF YOU PASSED, YOU DIDN'T GET A %. IF YOU FAILED YOU GOT A % OF YOUR SCORE. MANY DIDN'T PASS AS THE TEST WAS ON A COMPUTER AND WAS TIMED. IT TOOK SECONDS FOR YOUR PASS/ FAIL.
    ONCE AGAIN TOO EASY IF YOU TOOK A CRASH COURSE AND HAD A GOOD MEMORY.

    NOW FOR THE INSPECTORS, COMMERCIAL PLUMBING INSPECTORS ARE REQUIRED IN THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES FOR 3 OR MORE RESIDENTIAL UNITS, OR ON A COMMERCIAL JOB. IT USED TO BE 7 OR MORE UNITS A TIME AGO. PROBLEM IS WITH THE RESIDENTIAL INSPECTORS(BMI, BUILDING, MECHANICAL INSPECTORS).

    AFTER YEARS OF NEW CONSTRUCTION DEALING WITH COMMERCIAL INSPECTORS, (MOST FORMER PLUMBERS) YOU GOT TO KNOW RIGHT FROM WRONG. THE INSPECTORS COULD APPLY THE CODE AS IT WAS DESIGNED. YOU COULD BOTH TALK SHOP AND MAKE IT WORK. REMEMBERING THE CODE IS THE MINIMUM REQUIREMENT.
    THE BMI INSPECTOR IS FOR THE MOST PART NOT A PLUMBER. THEY MIGHT GET CROSS TRAINING, BUT A COUPLE OF MONTHS WORKING WITH A COMMERCIAL INSPECTOR IN ALL THE DFFERENT TRADES IS NOT ENOUGH TO TURN A NEW INSPECTOR INTO AN AUTHORITY FOR ALL THE TRADES.

    TO FINALLY SUM IT ALL UP, THERE ARE UNDERQUALIFIED PLUMBERS, CONTRACTORS, AND INSPECTORS THAT DON'T KNOW RIGHT FROM WRONG.
    THE PERSON THAT LOSES IS THE HOMEOWNER WHO PAID FOR A PROFESSIONAL JOB AND GETS A JOB THAT NEEDS TO BE REPLACED SOONER THAN LATER.
    THE OTHER LOSER IS THE PROPERLY QUALIFIED PLUMBER OR CONTRACTOR THAT HAS PUT IN THEIR TIME AND TRAINING TO HAVE TO COMPETE WITH UNDERQUALIFIED TRADESMEN. THEN HAVING TO EXPLAIN TO THE CLIENT THAT WHAT THEY PAID TO THE OTHER COMPANY NEEDS TO BE CORRECTED.
    THE CITY INSPECTOR NOT KNOWING RIGHT FROM WRONG AND LETTING THIS WHOLE CHAIN CONTINUE WITHOUT PUTTING A STOP TO THESE UNDERQUALIFIED TRADESMEN.
    A BUILDING STANDING UP TO AN EARTHQUAKE IS USELESS IF THE PLUMBING, ELECTRICAL, AND HVAC DON'T WORK RIGHT. I THOUGHT THAT PLUMBERS WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE HEALTH AND SAFETY OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC AND A SAFE WATER SUPPLY.

    LETS ONLY HOPE THAT THE MEDICAL PROFESSION HAS HIGHER STANDARDS FOR THE DOCTORS THAT PROTECT OUR HEALTH AND SAFETY.

    LETS HEAR YOUR THOUGHTS.


    RICK.

    [ 07-29-2005, 09:47 PM: Message edited by: PLUMBER RICK ]

  • #2
    First a little background, I hold a Plumbing Contractors license and a General Contracting license in both California and Nevada. I am considering adding a HVAC Contracting license plus getting licensed in Arizona and Utah. I also hold Inspector Certificates with IAPMO, ICBO and ICC.

    At the time I took my first California contractors license (C-36) the test was only offered twice a year and only at two locations. If you were in Southern California you took your test at the Pasadena Convention Center. The day I took my test there was 1200 people in the room.

    The test was broken up into two four hour sections with the trade section given first. The trade section took me a half an hour and then I started reviewing my test and soon realized this was a mistake so I turned it in and sat outside waiting for the afternoon test. The afternoon test was the business section and took me about the same amount of time.

    Back then the results took about 6-weeks to get back to you. I was pleased to hear I had passed and was issued a license. A short time later I took my General license. That test was also given in Pasadena and started at 8:00 AM. I’m not sure how long that test took but I was back in my office in Los Angeles before it opened at 9:00 AM. I’m pretty sure I did not spend any longer than 20 minutes on the test.

    In contrast the tests I took in Nevada were by computer, given once a week and there were 12 people in the room. The test took about the same length of time but when you hit submit you got your results.

    The difference in Nevada is you have to go through an expensive CPA report so they can set the limit you are allowed to work or bid on. I was granted $600,000 which means I cannot work on or bid any jobs greater than $600,000. Then your bond is based on your limit and my first year bond was $4,000 plus you have to pay into a recovery fund which is used to reimburse home owners who have been ripped off by contractors. It is very expensive to do business in Nevada.

    My first IAPMO test was in a room full of Inspectors. The first section of the test was an open book test to show how well you knew the Code book. The second was closed book to see how well you knew the Codes. These were probably the easiest test I have ever taken. You were given 3 hours per section and neither took more than 15 minutes.

    When I took my test up to the proctor he asked if anything was wrong. I explained no I am done with the test. One of the Inspectors in the group shouted out “SMOKIN” and the place erupted in laughter. These were Inspectors I had worked with for a while and was surprised at lunch how many said they did not have enough time to finish the test.

    Well that’s enough for now I will add more later but I need to get some work done today. By the way I’d be pleased to buy any of you breakfast anytime.

    Mark

    [ 07-29-2005, 12:35 PM: Message edited by: ToUtahNow ]
    "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

    I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK:
      SINCE THE SUBJECT HAS COME UP ON A FEW DIFFERENT THREADS, WHY NOT DEVOTE A TOPIC ON IT.

      UTAH, I AGREE WITH YOU CONCERNING THAT A LICENSE IS NOT WORTH THE COST OF THE PLASTIC IT'S PRINTED ON.

      BACK IN 1984 WHEN I TOOK MY CITY OF LOS ANGELES JOURNEYMANS PLUMBING TEST I WAS AMAZED AT HOW EASY THE TEST WAS. THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF THE TEST WAS TRYING TO FIND PARKING AROUND CITY HALL AT 5:00PM FOR THE TEST. AFTER SITTING IN THE INSPECTORS OFFICE AND LOOKING AROUND AT THE OTHER APPLICANTS, I THOUGHT TO MYSELF. I JUST FINISHED 4 YEARS OF UNION APPRENTICESHIP AND I DIDN'T RECOGNIZE ANYONE. DID THESE APPLICANTS ACTUALLY HAVE 4 YEARS OF TRAINING. I WOULD SAY NO.
      AFTER BREEZING THROUGH THE TEST AND REVIEWING IT. THE CHIEF INSPECTOR ASKED ME TO WAIT OUTSIDE IN THE HALL SO HE CAN CHECK IT. AFTER A FEW MINUTES REVIEWING THE SCANTRON BY HAND, HE CAME OUTSIDE AND ASKED IF I STUDIED. SURE I SAID AND ASKED IF I MISSED 1 OR 2. HE REPLIED 1.

      MY POINT BEING IS THAT THE REST OF THE APPLLICANTS HAD NOT EVEN FINISHED THE TEST YET. TO ME THE TEST WAS NOT A TEST OF ONES KNOWLEDGE, BUT ONES ABILITY TO ANSWER QUESTIONS MORE ABOUT CODE, THAN REAL PLUMBING KNOWLEDGE.

      NOW THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA CONTRACTORS EXAM.
      I DECIDED TO TAKE A 2 DAY STUDY COURSE(CRASH COURSE). BASICALLY IF YOU COULD REMEMBER THE QUESTIONS FROM THIS COURSE FOR 2 DAYS UNTIL YOUR STATE TEST, YOU WERE SET. AMAZING TO SEE THE SAME QUESTIONS AND FORMAT AS WAS ON THE STATE TEST. ONCE AGAIN A ROOM FULL OF OTHER APPLICANTS FROM ALL TRADES. AS I LOOKED AROUND I COULDN'T BELIEVE THAT THESE PEOPLE ACTUALLY HAD THE QUALIFICATIONS TO APPLY AND BE ACCEPTED FOR THE STATE TEST. THE BUSINESS END WAS THE SAME FOR ALL TRADES. AND YOUR SPECIALTY TRADE WAS THE SECOND HALF. ALL AN APPLICANT NEEDED WAS A 70% SCORE TO PASS ON BOTH SECTIONS. IF YOU PASSED, YOU DIDN'T GET A %. IF YOU FAILED YOU GOT A % OF YOUR SCORE. MANY DID'T PASS AS THE TEST WAS ON A COMPUTER AND WAS TIMED. IT TOOK SECONDS FOR YOUR PASS/ FAIL.
      ONCE AGAIN TOO EASY IF YOU TOOK A CRASH COURSE AND HAD A GOOD MEMORY.

      NOW FOR THE INSPECTORS, COMMERCIAL PLUMBING INSPECTORS ARE REQUIRED IN THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES FOR 3 OR MORE RESIDENTIAL UNITS, OR ON A COMMERCIAL JOB. IT USED TO BE 7 OR MORE UNITS A TIME AGO. PROBLEM IS WITH THE RESIDENTIAL INSPECTORS(BMI, BUILDING, MECHANICAL INSPECTORS).

      AFTER YEARS OF NEW CONSTRUCTION DEALING WITH COMMERCIAL INSPECTORS, (MOST FORMER PLUMBERS) YOU GOT TO KNOW RIGHT FROM WRONG. THE INSPECTORS COULD APPLY THE CODE AS IT WAS DESIGNED. YOU COULD BOTH TALK SHOP AND MAKE IT WORK. REMEMBER THE CODE IS THE MINIMUM REQUIREMENT.
      THE BMI INSPECTOR IS FOR THE MOST PART NOT A PLUMBER. THEY MIGHT GET CROSS TRAINING, BUT A COUPLE OF MONTHS WORKING WITH A COMMERCIAL INSPECTOR IN ALL THE DFFERENT TRADES IS NOT ENOUGH TO TURN A NEW INSPECTOR INTO AN AUTHORITY FOR ALL THE TRADES.

      TO FINALLY SUM IT ALL UP. THERE ARE UNDERQUALIFED PLUMBERS, CONTRACTORS, AND INSPECTORS THAT DON'T KNOW RIGHT FROM WRONG.
      THE PERSON THAT LOOSES IS THE HOMEOWNER WHO PAID FOR A PROFESSIONAL JOB AND GETS A JOB THAT NEEDS TO BE REPLACED SOONER THAN LATER.
      THE OTHER LOOSER IS THE PROPERLY QUALIFIED PLUMBER OR CONTRACTOR THAT HAS PUT IN THEIR TIME AND TRAINING TO HAVE TO COMPETE WITH UNDERQUALIFIED TRADESMEN. THEN HAVING TO EXPLAIN TO THE CLIENT THAT WHAT THEY PAID TO THE OTHER COMPANY NEEDS TO BE CORRECTED.
      THE CITY INSPECTOR NOT KNOWING RIGHT FROM WRONG AND LETTING THIS WHOLE CHAIN CONTINUE WITHOUT PUTTING A STOP TO THESE UNDERQUALIFIED TRADESMEN.
      A BUILDING STANDING UP TO AN EARTHQUAKE IS USELESS IF THE PLUMBING, ELECTRICAL, AND HVAC DON'T WORK RIGHT. I THOUGHT THAT PLUMBERS WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE HEALTH AND SAFETY OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC AND A SAFE WATER SUPPLY.

      LETS ONLY HOPE THAT THE MEDICAL PROFESSION HAS HIGHER STANDARDS FOR THE DOCTORS THAT PROTECT OUR HEALTH AND SAFETY.

      LETS HEAR YOUR THOUGHTS.


      RICK.
      Thank God Rick is here. There is no plumber qualified but him. Maybe you should head-up the Contractor's State License Board, The L.A. City Building Department, and every plumbing job in southern California.

      Geeze, Rick, relax a little. There are great plumbers, and contrators in this state. Get to know some of them.

      I get critizided for being opinionated, but this is going over-board. You love it when someone like Toolaholic gives you credit. Yea, this is a guy who on one post claims he is a plumbing contractor (with a C-38 Refrigeration License, later changed to a C-36), but previously posted that he was a general contractor, who always made sure that he involved three trades on his plumbing jobs (a California law regarding general contractors)

      You're not the only plumber who knows what he's doing. In my opinion Plumber has given better advice than you. Relax.

      Doesn't mean I don't think you are a good service plumber, dosn't mean I don't like you.

      the dog
      the dog

      Comment


      • #4
        i find everything rick just said was factual and reasonable. what is putting your panties in a bunch dog? i think you just like to piss and moan
        I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

        Comment


        • #5
          Okay I’m done working for the day so I can finish.

          Today it seems like all you need to do to be a Plumbing Contractor is pay for a yellow page ad and own a pickup truck. When the homeowner calls you they do not know what experience you bring with you. They ask for an hourly price and decide by the price.

          I always found it funny that a homeowner would hire my competition who charges $10 per hours less yet takes twice as long to do the job. We also use to do a lot of follow up work where the less expensive plumber did the job wrong and either would not come back or the homeowner would not let them come back.

          I once had a competitor call me because he was on a slab leak at a Dentist office and could not find the leak. I asked the plumber if he had drilled a couple of small holes (5/16 is what I use to do) to see if it was wet under the slab. He told me he had drilled a lot of holes and could not find any moisture. This guy was catching a lot of heat from the Dentist as the office had already been closed for three days while the plumber looked for the leak.

          I showed up on the job with my leak locator (Goldak at that time). Within about a half an hour I found a pin hole leak above the slab at the hot water riser to the water heater. The leak was about 2” above the slab and just above the slab. The sad part was the small holes my competitor had drilled were not small holes. He had jack hammered 3’ holes in every room of the office.

          As grateful as the plumber was that I helped him he never paid me. The payback was the next year the Dentist called me for a slab leak. I got to the job and found the leak fairly quickly. I was able to remove one VA tile and complete the leak repair in record time. A little over an hour after I started I was concreting the floor and writing a bill.

          The Dentist showed up and said he would cancel all calls for the rest of the week. When I explained I was already done but he needed a single tile he became a loyal customer. The dentist had used the other guy for quite a while but did not realize how bad a plumber he really was.

          For the last 17-years I have worked as an Expert Witness for Construction Litigation. I can say pretty much without exception, whether I am representing the Defense or the Plaintiff there is always something wrong with the job. It doesn’t matter if it is single family residential or High Rise there is always something.

          All of these jobs have been inspected by an inspector and have passed inspection. However, every one of them has something wrong with them. The other issue I try to hammer into my clients head is to put it in writing. I can’t tell you how many times the plumber will tell me he warned the general but that’s how the general wanted it. When I ask if they put it in writing there is always a blank look.

          Even with doing service work the more information you put on your invoice the less likely you will expose yourself to litigation. As a contractor if you feel they need to have mold remediation and tell them but neglected to put it in writing you may find yourself as defendant in a million dollar law suit over a $75.00 service call.

          If I still had a plumbing business I would have a printed paragraph that states “Every leak can cause mold. Have a professional mold company survey your water damage” Most insurance policies now exclude mold. If your insurance won’t pay and you are still solvent you could lose everything you own.

          Mark
          "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

          I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

          Comment


          • #6
            DOG, AT WHAT POINT DID I SAY THAT I WAS THE ONLY QUALIFIED PLUMBER IN THE STATE? I LOVE THAT YOU SPEND ALL YOUR TIME QUOTING EVERY WORD ANYONE WRITES , ONLY TO FIND A FAULT IN A WORD OR SENTENCE.

            THE REASON FOR THIS SUBJECT WAS TO HIGHLITE HOW EASY IT IS TO GET A LICENSE IN THE STATE. I BELIEVE THAT MARK ALSO STATED SOMETHING VERY SIMILAR. IT SOUNDS LIKE YOUR EXPERIENCE IS ONLY IN NEW CONSTRUCTION PLUMBING. IF YOU READ AND INTERPRETED MY POST, IT HIGHLITED THE LACK OF BEING PROPERLY QUALIFIED IN THE RESIDENTIAL 2 UNITS AND SMALLER AREA OF PLUMBING. I TOO HAVE YEARS OF EXPERIENCE IN NEW CONSTRUCTION. 1981-1997. WITH SERVICE PLUMBING STARTING AT THE AGE OF 12 IN 1975. DON'T KNOW IF YOU HAVE NOTICED AT THE JOBSITE THE LACK OF EXPERIENCE WITH NOT ONLY PLUMBERS, BUT ALMOST ALL THE BUILDING TRADES.
            DO YOU EVER GO TO THE PLUMBING SUPPLY HOUSE AND HAVE TO WAIT BEHIND OTHER PLUMBERS THAT DON'T EVEN KNOW THE NAME OF THE MATERIAL THEY ARE ASKING FOR.
            I THINK WE ALL CAN RELATE TO THIS.
            IF YOU REALLY THINK THAT EVERYBODY OUT THERE IS PROPERLY QUALIFIED IN THE TRADES, THEN WHY DO WE HAVE INSPECTORS,CONSTRUCTION DEFECT LITIGATION, AND SKYROCKED LIABILITY INSURANCE RATES.

            DOG NOT SURE IF YOUR A JOURNEYMAN, OR A CONTRACTOR, BUT YOU NEED TO WAKE UP. WHAT I WRITE OR OTHERS WRITE, YOU SEEM TO LOOK FOR FAULT, INSTEAD OF CONTRIBUTING YOUR KNOWLEDGE. YOU SHOULD PUT MORE TIME INTO TRYING TO HELP PEOPLE, INSTEAD OF TRYING TO FIND FAULT. SEEMS LIKE YOU HAVE MORE TIME TO FAULT THAN TO FIX. YOU MUST BE A REAL PLEASURE TO WORK WITH ON THE JOBSITE.
            IF YOU HAVE NOTHING USEFULL TO CONTRIBUTE, THEN DON'T WASTE MY TIME AND OTHERS THAT YOU FIND FAULT WITH. THERE ARE PLENTY OF GOOD PEOPLE HERE CONTRIBUTING THEIR TIME AND KNOWLEDGE TO HELP OTHERS THAT ARE ASKING FOR HELP, NOT RIDICULE.


            THIS LAST WEEK, I THOUGHT THAT YOU ACTUALLY HAD EASED UP ON YOUR SARCASM. WELL THAT HAS CHANGED BACK TO THE PITBULL YOU REALLY ARE.

            PLUMBER RICK

            Comment


            • #7
              The codes in Illinois are rather strict and for the most part well written and designed.

              The test for licensing journeymen includes a hands on test involving building a pressure tested copper tree and a pressure tested pvc dwv tree. Each applicant is required to furnish materials and tools. At one time it also included making a lead and oakum cast iron joint, given the skills of some of the newer plumbers not sure if this is still on the test or not.

              The apprentices then must make an isometric drawing showing the proper sizing including fittings and cleanouts of the entire dwv system and water distribution of a buildings plumbing system. The building to be plumbed changes with each test to prevent cheating.

              After these two sections of the test are completed
              there is a 50 question test regarding the code itself. A score of over 70% is required to pass each part of the test. Each part of the test must be passed so a person cannot get two 95%s and one 65% and still pass. An accredited 4 hour retraining course must be attended annually to keep your license. The faster applicants usually need at least 4 hours to finish. I had to drive 200 miles to take my test so I went very slowly and methodically through my test and double checked everything to be sure there were no speed or fatigue related mistakes that might cause me to have to repeat the trip. The day was fully dedicated for that purpose so there was no need to be in a hurry.

              Illinois is a large state with both very big cities and very rural areas. It does not have the funds to inspect every construction site as they should be so they rely on towns and counties where ever possible. This is where we get into problems. Some smaller communities are openly hostile to building codes and simply will not enforce them, other larger communities have used inspector positions to repay favors or provide employment to retired plumbers who simply cannot physically do their jobs anymore. Often times these "local inspectors" simply sign off on work they have no clue about and the State simply does not have the resources to do anything about it.

              After a plumber has 5 years experience as a Journeyman all he has to do to be a contractor is pay an additional 300 bucks to the state for another official looking plastic card and keep proof of insurance at all times.
              Work hard, Play hard, Sleep easy.

              Comment


              • #8
                P_lumber,

                It sounds like they are doing things right with the hands on but still building a couple of trees does not make a contractor.

                The State of California does not do inspections. In some areas it is the counties in otheres it is the cities. It just all depends on the size of the city.

                Mark
                "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

                I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

                Comment


                • #9
                  ToUtahNow, Agreed, building a few trees does not make one a contractor or a plumber. It just gives a test sampling of an individuals ability to join pipe and use the basic tools.

                  The isometrics, sizing and code questions really give the best indication of the individuals knowledge of plumbing principles.

                  In Illinois once an apprentice has served his time there is a set number of chances to pass the test. If he fails three times he is no longer allowed an apprentice license.

                  We all know about the four things we NEED to know, but all the other little things officially outlined in our codebooks are somewhat usefull too.
                  Work hard, Play hard, Sleep easy.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    plumber,

                    I like the apprenticship program and the drawings.

                    When I took my Contractors test they gave me plans of a seventeen story building and I had to do fixture loading at certain points.

                    All it was was simple math and knowing the tables, a drawing would have been a better test.

                    Mark
                    "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

                    I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      PLUMBER, IT SOUNDS LIKE THERE IS NO TEST FOR THE BUSINESS SIDE OF CONTRACTING. NOTHING ON CONTRACTS OR MECHANICS LIENS.

                      BASICALLY IT SOUNDS LIKE IF A JOURNEYMAN WANTS TO GO INTO BUSINESS ALL HE NEEDS IS $300 AND PROOF OF INSURANCE. LIKE UTATH MENTIONED EARLIER, WITHOUT A CONTRACTORS LICENSE HERE IN CALIF. A PERSON CAN ONLY "CONTRACT FOR $500 OR LESS, INCLUDING ALL LABOR AND MATERIALS. WITH PRICES ON WATER HEATERS TODAY, THAT BASICALLY LEAVES THEM WITH INSTALLING A GARBAGE DISPOSAL AND A PRESSURE REGULATOR. NO REPIPES OR REMODELS.

                      PROBLEM IS THAT THE STATE DOESN'T CATCH MOST OFFENDERS.
                      WHAT I MENTIONED IN THIS ORIGINAL POST IS THAT EVEN THOUGH A PERSON IS PROPERLY LICENSED AS A PLUMBER OR CONTRACTOR, THAT STILL DOESN'T MAKE THEM A QUALIFIED TRADESMAN. SOUNDS LIKE YOUR STATE HAS A MORE HANDS ON APPROACH WITH THE TEST. BUT NOTHING WITH THE RUNNING OF A BUSINESS SKILLS?
                      THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES HAS SOME OF THE MOST STRINGANT BUILDING AND PLUMBING CODES IN ALL OF THE NATION. IN FACT MOST OF THE IAMPO TESTING IS DONE BY THE TESTING LAB RUN BY UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIF. TYPICALLY IF IT'S APPROVED HERE IN L.A., IT'S APPROVED EVERYWHERE.
                      WHAT WE STILL NEED ARE THE INSPECTORS THAT WILL ACTUALLY INSPECT AND ENFORCE THE CODES THE WAY THAT THEY WERE DESIGNED. (THE CODE IS THE MINIMUM ACCEPTED STANDARD). WHEN AN INSPECTOR HAS 20-30 CALLS A DAY, HOW CAN THEY SEE EVERYTHING? HOW CAN THEY CRAWL UNDER A HOUSE TO INSPECT A REMODEL? LOOK AT A SEWER LINE BURIED UNDER A SLAB OR DIRT?
                      IF THE INSPECTOR ISN'T PROPERLY QUALIFIED, HOW CAN WE EXPECT THE WORK TO BE DONE TO CODE?

                      RICK.

                      DOG IF YOU WANT TO ADD SOME OF YOUR OWN WORDS, THAT'S GREAT. IF YOU WANT TO CRITIQUE ME, DON'T BOTHER.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Rick, it's not that I think you are completly wrong, it's just that I disagree with your concept. I don't know why you get so angry. Here's the deal:

                        1) Changing the way contractors are licensed will change nothing. Contractors are just that, administers of contracts. The best contractors I have ever worked for would not know how to solder a copper tube if their life depended on it. Their job is to know the laws, contracts, scheduling, change orders, etc. I also understand that there are smaller contracters, which, by the way, drive this industry, who wear many hats. They have to function as owners, project managers, superintendents, journeyman, and hell, sometimes laborers. But increasing the requirements for their license will not change anything but the one to two man shop.

                        2) If you want to increase the ability of the foreman and journeyman that actually install the plumbing, we need a state wide certification process, as they have in Il, and outlined by plumber. It would have to be strictly inforced. The electricians in this state (California) already have this law, but as far as I can see nobody is enforcing it.

                        3) The plumbing industry is driven by small contractors who have no interest in spending the time or money to train young plumbers. Then they wonder why they can't hire good help, when they need it.

                        4) I am willing to work with you regarding this issue. I have believed in a strictly inforced journeyman plumber law for a long time. But it is rejected by the union, which sees competition, and the contractors who feel wages will rise.

                        5) If you want to get serious, email me. But I have to tell you that for too long I have heard contrators cry, but take no action.

                        the dog
                        the dog

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          DOG, THIS IS WHAT I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR, A REAL ANSWER TO THE QUESTION.
                          YOU'RE RIGHT ABOUT THE MENTION THAT A CONTRACTOR IS NOT NECESSARLY THE PERSON WHO IS INSTALLING THE PLUMBING. I CAN ATTEST TO THAT. I WORKED FOR A VERY LARGE NEW CONSTRUCTION UNION SHOP THAT WAS AROUND SINCE THE 40'S. THE OWNER, WHO CLAIMED HE WAS ONCE A JOURNEYMAN PLUMBER, COULDN'T EVEN CHANGE AN AEREATOR ON THE END OF A FAUCET WITHOUT SCREWING IT UP. I'M NOT MAKING THIS UP. IT'S REAL. A COMPANY IS ONLY AS GOOD AS THE PEOPLE WHO WORK THERE.
                          AS I MENTIONED BEFORE, THE UNDERQUALIFED PEOPLE I'M REFERRING TO ARE THE JOURNEYMEN, CONTRATORS AND INSPECTORS.
                          I THOUGHT A PLUMBING CONTRACTOR HAS TO BE A JOURNEYMAN PLUMBER FIRST. THE STATE CONTRACTORS TEST COVERS THE BUSINESS END AND THE TRADE END. AT SOME POINT THEY HAD TO KNOW PLUMBING. BUT THEN AGAIN THE TEST IS SO EASY THAT A PERSON TAKING A CRASH COURSE BEFORE THE STATE TEST COULD EASILY PASS JUST BY MEMORY.
                          DOG IS EVERY JOURNEYMAN PLUMBER YOU EVER WORKED WITH QUAILFIED? DO YOU EVER ASK YOUSELF HOW DID THEY EVER MAKE IT THIS FAR? HAVN'T YOU EVER SENT SOMEONE HOME THAT WASN'T WORTH THE MONEY YOU WERE PAYING FOR THEM?
                          I'M NOT SAYING THAT 50% ARE UNDERQUALIFIED, BUT THERE SEEMS TO BE A LARGER % TODAY THAN THERE WAS WHEN I FIRST STARTED AS AN APPRENTICE IN 1981. THIS ALSO HOLDS TRUE WITH ALL THE BUILDINGTRADES.

                          THANK'S FOR YOUR INPUT DOG.

                          RICK.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Yes Illinois has no certification process for a licensed journeyman to open his own shop other than a 300 dollar license and proof of insurance.

                            There are some very good tradesmen who found out they were horrible businessmen and there are some journeymen who make great contractors but were terrible with their tradecraft. Some of these guys have no clue how to really bid a job or budget for payroll and end up cutting their own throats. They are driving the real price of plumbing down to where there are almost no margins.

                            I think I like what I am reading about California's business end of licensing. Perhaps a combination of the two would bring back the craft as we once knew it.

                            One would think manufacturers of the products we work with would want competent contractors and journeymen selling and installing their products for the best possible outcome for everyone involved. They might be the ones with the money and clout to make the changes we see as necessary for the healthy survival of our trade.

                            Here in Illinois the Unions have strongly supported the tough licensing of tradesmen as it keeps everyone honest and helps stop nepotism in the ranks. Its good for the trade over all and for the consumer who pays for professional service.

                            Our annual licensing fee was increased 400% to help hire more inspectors then the market crashed in 2000 and the money went to other things in the State budget.
                            Work hard, Play hard, Sleep easy.

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                            • #15
                              Rick,

                              A couple of things to remember about licensing in California. If a businessman hires an RME and has him qualify for a license that business man can apply for his own license after five years. Also there are some rules where the family of a deceased contractor can apply for a license under special circumstances.

                              As for inspectors, the inspector’s job is not to inspect every item on the job. As you mentioned and I think we will all agree the inspector is not given enough time to do a complete job. The inspector’s job is to keep the contractor honest but the contractor is charge with compiling with codes. The contractor after all is the one with the license.

                              If you read the front of the Plumbing Code it relieves the inspectors of pretty much any liability. However, a recent case in Nevada found the inspectors liable and issued judgments against them. The special circumstance was that an amendment had been made in Nevada saying all copper piping in the slab must be fully sleeved.

                              On their own the inspectors in Las Vegas decided to tell the contractors not to worry about doing it. When the copper pipe in a 7,000 home division starting failing the inspectors were held liable to a degree for the homeowners financial lose.

                              The sad part is most good trades people make bad businessman while most good businessman make bad trades people. What needs to happen is already in the Contractor’s Law but rarely practiced.

                              The Contractor’s Law states if a Civil Judgment is placed against you, you must report it to the CSLB and your license will be suspended until you pay the judgment. Instead the insurance company pays the bill and the CSLB never knows the difference.

                              Two issue I would add to the current laws, is when a contractor is sued and it turns out he violated codes the CSLB should do an investigation and reevaluate his license. Secondly, when a contracting business is closed down the RMO and RME should both have their licenses suspended so they can’t start a new corporation a few days later.

                              Mark
                              "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

                              I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

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