Contractors’ practices questioned at building forum

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The practice of contractors hiring the cheapest labour available to work on building projects came under scrutiny at a public symposium to address rebuilding in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
The issue was raised by a participant who questioned one of the presenters’ advice to trust your contractor. The man identified himself as an interior/exterior plasterer who had spent time working in the United States.
“Coming back home, I notice that contractors when they ready to build they tend to get cheap labour to save money. How can you trust your contractor when you give them your money to build your house then he hire some people and instead he give them $250 for the job, he gets somebody to pay $180 and $130, when the wall go up the wall outta shape and outta form?” he queried.
He further inquired whether the buck stopped with the government to put standards in place or that fell to the professionals.
Vernon Challenger, who represented the Contractors Association, prefaced his response by saying that individuals should hire the “proper professionals” before acknowledging that there was indeed a problem.
“I’m aware that there are some problems with the industry but it’s not going to get fixed overnight so it’s an ongoing process that we have to keep at it. But you’re right because I’ve seen it so I wouldn’t say that your point is not valid because it is.”
Questioned further on how standards could be addressed Challenger pointed out that the government dealt with regulations.
“To be honest with you the association is not as functioning and active as I would like. We have a lot to do, we have our meetings but the membership is a bit low right now and we’re presently trying to work on it, we’ve gotten some fresh blood in the organisation.
So I can assure you that in the next year we’ll have an active line that you can call in to even air complaints like this, but as to regulations the government deals with regulations we have no control over that.”   
Challenger also urged those looking to construct their homes to educate themselves on the process, a point echoed by Colin Jenkins who represented the Antigua and Barbuda Institute of Architects.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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