Trade Workers


We have heard it time and time again from tenants wanting to ‘hang’ things either of walls or the ceiling.

In personal offices a staff person may request to hang some shelving, or a large white board and that they will get their partner to install it.

In other cases, we have had tenants inform us that they will be getting a new water line or a electrical outlet installed, and they know this guy who is handy with all that stuff.

It’s always a toss up as to whether you permit a tenant, or a member of their staff to install everything from shelves to taps, as it will save on time and money than have a professional do the work.

But, and that is a big BUT, what if something went wrong. What if the large white board came away from the wall crashing on to a desk and injuring a client or staff member? What if someone was electrocuted, or by adding that extra wire caused a fire, either because it was incorrectly installed, the wrong material used for commercial applications, or no one did a load calculation?

Then there is water. In a shared building, a water leak can be very disruptive. The ‘Oh, I thought it was OK as my partner did this at home and it was fine’ answer may cost you hundreds of thousands in damages.

The same can be said for all the low cost handyman or handywomen offering their services with little or no consideration as to what would they do if something went wrong? They most probably do not carry workers insurance, nor would they have business insurance- perhaps they don’t have insurance at all. So, if something goes wrong, it will most likely fall to the person who hired them in the first place.

Padding Invoices

It happens more regularity that one may think.

Your hire a plumber, electrician or some other trade and after the work is done, then you get a big bill.

The labour component is high.

Recently we had several cases where trades overcharged.

  • An electrician was hired to run some cables. The electrician was called away to several other jobs during our required time with him, so his apprentice was left to do most of the work. When the bill arrived, we were charge as if the electrician had been on site all the time. Bill challenged and adjusted. Relationship maintained, but we will probably not hire him again.
  • An HVAC technician was called about a rattling HVAC unit. The previous technician forgot to tighten the screw. Time charged was for a couple of hours for 15 on-site minutes was excessive. Bill challenged and adjusted. Relationship damaged. Vendor told us not to call again.
  • During a roof leak, we had asked for a roofer to attend to the building and clear away any obstruction from a drain. The report that came back was that several nails had popped and that the roof needed to be stripped and replaced at that location. We said no. Replace the drain.¬†When the bill arrived, we were charged the same hourly rate for the whole crew. Bill challenged and adjusted. Roofing company owner called and explained his overhead and he adjusted the rates for two on the crew. While we felt the hourly rate was still a bit high, we approved the payment. Relationship in good standing. We will request a quote from this roofing company when time comes to actually replace the roof.

This is how we look after our client’s best interest.

We also have a new program where all trades, including those in our supply chain are vetted.

It is also not unheard of where GST is charged for services, yet there is no GST number on the invoice. Why? Because the person charging the GST is simply collecting the GST and not remitting it.

The GST and Work Safe numbers should be on all trade invoices. If they are not, we will check and challenge the invoice.

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