I realize the title is a bit harsh but I wanted to drive home the point that many contractors are really dropping the ball these days. Now I don’t want to come across as a smart aleck or a know it all, as this would be totally wrong. I do want to talk about some situations where the contractors have really messed up and some situations where they get the job about 95% complete and forget to finish things up properly.
Pretty much weekly I get calls from distraught homeowner who ask if I can come and prove that their contractor has no right picking up a hammer. Fortunately I can refer them to the building inspector. When I do come across problems in the course of my inspections it is usually for the same reasons, lazy or incompetent contractors. Unfortunately the homeowner usually is not aware of the problems and has no recourse by the time I discover the problem.
Just this week I was going through a home using the thermal camera. Looking at the living room ceiling I noticed a few large areas of missing or displaced insulation. Looking in the attic I could see that the electrician must have removed the insulation to place the lights in the ceiling and then left the insulation in a position where it was doing no good. In this situation I have to ask was the electrician stupid to the fact that the insulation was there for a reason or was he/she just lazy. My vote is lazy! I see this sort of thing all the time. I can’t imagine how much heat was lost over the years because of this failure to finish the job.
On another occasion I was asked to inspect a home that was not yet completely built. The buyers didn’t fully trust the builder and asked that I have a look just in case they may have missed something. I was shocked to see several missing batts of insulation in the cathedral ceiling using the thermal camera. What is the most shocking part is that the dry wall contractor must have seen the missing insulation while putting up the drywall board. They must have said “its not our job” and covered over the problem. I hope the General contractor treated this person with all the respect they deserved. So if your hiring a contractor be sure to get references and if you are the contractor be sure to do it right the first time, regardless of the extra effort it requires.