Managing Workmen

Picture this scenario

You just moved into your new home or office/shop, or you have been enjoying your space but need to upgrade, the old WCs, bathtubs/showers, doors, windows, power points, fittings and fixtures, or even tiles. You find you not only require the services of plumbers and electricians – the two most used tradesmen in the building industry, but the full team warts and all. How do you deal with 7 different technicians all at once; and ensure that you get your work done sequentially, quickly, efficiently at the least cost and without blowing your normal BP, not to count the cost of cleaning after them.

What do you really know about bolts, nuts, nipples, elbows, bends, joints, sockets, yarn and China/ Korea/ Italy/ England/ Aba made. How do you determine and confirm the type, quality and quantity of material needed to cover a specific area, to avoid over or under assessment and poor work. Those wires peeking out of that distribution board, are they well wired to ensure that your electrical loads are evenly distributed.

If you are the average homeowner, you are not likely to know much. What do you do? Get HELP!

This help will come in two forms:

  1. Self help.
  2. Professional help.

For self help, before you employ a plumber, carpenter and electrician, the most common and inscrutable tradesmen required post construction i.e. maintaining a living / working space or any of the other trades, you need to educate yourself a bit.

A: visit your local store to have an idea of prices and innovations in the building industry. Don’t go with your artisan, for he is a businessman and wants to make profit, so he would coral you into what he wants you to buy in collusion with his preferred trade.

Don’t buy the material yourself or you get to hear oga this is the fake of the brand I recommended and the quantity is not enough.

B: check the Internet for ideas.

C: Work out a budget based on your search.

D: Most important let them know they are your ally, treat them nicely and you will get the best out of them.

For professional help, get an engineer/ architect friend or hire one if the job is extensive, these are the professionals who are trained to design, diagnose these building parts that the tradesmen, execute. They are hands on at building sites and supervise the tradesmen. They understand specifications, quality, quantity and because trades men are the impute to their work, they have mutual understanding and respect for each other. Trades are required on a daily basis because their work involves those parts of a building.

To fix these parts of a building, you require the earlier mentioned tradesmen, who are alleged to be “professional”. I use the word professional advisedly, for that is where the problem lies. Simply put, the relationship between the tradesman and an electrical and/or mechanical engineer is akin to the relationship between a doctor and a nurse. One diagnoses, the other threats. Proper diagnosis is critical to effectiveness.

You hire a tradesman, you neither have much time nor the money and you are definitely an “illiterate” in that department, how can you tell, if your are being conned out of your hard earned money?

How do you know if the problem is correctly diagnosed?

Can you measure the quantities, or understand the quantities listed?

How do you confirm the quality of the material/ job?

How do you ensure you get value for your money?

How do you get remedy if all fails?

In summary, to save you the time, stress and extra payments, the best thing to do is hire an E/M engineer. He as a professional has you covered. He is in a better position to answer the above questions. Apart from saving you money, he is professionally liable and you can report him to his institution for remediation. He has his reputation and is more likely to keep it by ensuring a good job is done. He employs trades men as part of his job, and knows how to analyze the figures, materials, makes and specification. He can read the design drawings and most important, supervise to ensure a proper job is done.

In more organized countries all trades men are certified and registered by government. They are captured in the national productivity data base and this information apart from capturing all taxable businesses, provides the avenue and a way for mediation by small claims court ( Judge Judy/ Judge Brown) and a means of bring poor job men to book.

We do not have the luxury of the above for now, so in the interim, save money, stay covered by using professionals to handle your building/ facility maintenance and upgrade.

Next time we look at how to save on your maintenance costs.