This is a WHAT NOT TO DO advice blog.
I have recently come across a scenario that sounds like an outrageously exaggerated nightmare. Let me assure you that this is a true story that would hold it own on a 'Holmes on Homes' edition. An electrition; who we will call Larry for the purpose of this article; who was a hired professional; I use the word professional loosely; by a client, as a family friend, to wire their new build, botched the job horrendously! For starters, this man put the project two weeks behind schedule, claiming there was no way he could start on the scheduled start date. When he finally did come onto the job he claimed to have his clients back, and was adamant they recieve only the best. Sounds good right? The difficulty with that, is that the 'BEST' is widely open to interpretation. The client, never having built a home before, put their trust into their relationship with their friend Larry; against the advice of the general contractor I might add. FIRST MISTAKE. Just because someone is your friend does not make them trustworthy or good at their profession. I'm not suggesting you never hire friends, but rather, always, always , always get and check refrences. Turns out Larry has a long list of disgruntled clients. This problematic situation could have been avoided before it began. Instead, they gave him rope to do as he insisted. Larry became obstinate in the pursuit of creating an electrical scheme that met his requirements rather than what suited his clients wishes. Infact Larry flat out refused to do what his clients asked for, to the point of writing and underlining the word NO on the master bedroom wall. Not because of code issues or inability to create the desired look, but rather because he did not like it. All the while going around the job site raging at contractors, trades, designers and homeowners alike. Right... at this point you may be thinking you would have fired Larry. Yes! That would in retrospect have been the best thing to do, but not as easily done as said, as Larry has been paid a deposit, and has the only electrical permit to work on the project. Anyone new taking over the project would have to go to district and pull a new permit. This costs the client money and puts the entire project even further behind schedule. Every trade from this point on would have had to be rescheduled. Further more, Larry threatened to have the inspector come and tear out his work if any one else worked on his permit. MISTAKE NUMBER 2. A good tradesman should do everything in their power to do as you, the client asks. Even if it is the stupidest idea in the world. You are the paying client... YES is the only word you should accept with the exception of code conflicts, or impossibility. You may solicit advice, but should always get what you ask for in the end. Unfortunately in this senario, the client felt pressured by budget restraints, timelines and threats, thus choosing to allow Larry to continue. They took what they thought was the road of least resistance, allowing him to finish was the less of two evils. They sacrificed their lighting desires and wishes, believing finished is better than perfect. The project was finished to a point where the hydro company was called in to turn on the power. The clients were billed by the electrition as per usual practice. The bill however came in ridiculously over budget. The reason for the billing increase... "If I told you how much it would have cost you to do the project the way I knew it needed to be done, you would have stopped me" said Larry.
When the hydro company came to inspect before turning the power on, they discovered that the job was not done to code in the least! Also aesthetic mistakes that should be common sense were a mess. Pot lights cut off by cabinetry crown molding, lights on either side of closets installed at different heights and distances from the trim, Lights placed in entirely the wrong places, switches that do nothing and others that turn the fan on rather than the light, plugs on the same wall ALL placed at different heights, and much much more. All of this putting the project behind schedule yet again. ALL trades from this point are put on hold until the power was turned on. Flooring, tile, power tools, can't be laid or used in the cold weather or in the dark. Worse than the inevitable delay in occupation dates, these mistakes put the clients a thousand dollars more over budget. Larry tells the clients he will NOT waste his time moving the asthetic mistakes. Regarding the code discrepencies he tells them "it's a good thing were friends, any other client would have been furious with me. I can't afford to cover this mistake." MISTAKE NUMBER 3. Do not pay for trade damage or mistakes ! When the clients voiced their concerns to Larry, believe it or not, this supposed family friend called his clients parents, as though it were preschool. In the end, the electrition cost the clients so much financial, emotional and stress related physical anguish that they wound up ending the long term relationship and firing him before completion anyway. They were forced to take out another permit on the project, hire another electrician and because the walls were drywalled and painted around the mistakes, the drywaller and painters had to be called back too. It cost them more money and time in the end trying to avoid confrontation than face it. IF YOU HAVE A RED FLAG MOMENT IN YOUR PROJECT, DO WHAT EVER IT TAKES TO RESOLVE IT IN THE BEGINNING! DON'T WAIT.