Dangers of getting the cheapest quote

It often amazes me how property owners go about repairs, maintenance and renovations.   In almost all cases it’s a case of: “Let’s get the cheapest quote”.   And so the bakkie builder brigade are called in and very often grief follows.

People who have spent at least  one million (and often a lot more) on their house persist in looking for the cheapest quotes when it comes to repairing and maintaining the property.

It’s a bit like spending a million bucks on a Mercedes and then asking the exhaust pipe installer operating on the side of a road if he could give you a quote to service your Merc.

This approach is just stupid and costs home owners a lot of money and hassle – and sometimes personal injury – in the long run.

For instance, good paint is expensive – 5 litres can set you back R500 and then you find some “painter” for R100 a day to slap on this paint.  Like most building jobs painting involves skill, knowledge and experience and unskilled painters just aren’t up for it.  The surface needs to be properly prepared; woodwork needs to be completely dry; walls need to be properly keyed;  the top coat needs to be compatible with the primer and undercoat, .

It’s the same with wet work, roofing, water-proofing, plumbing and electrical. All aspects of building demands skill, knowledge and experience.

Apart from a failure in quality, there’s something else that many people who opt for the cheapest quote, don’t realise.   They could quite literally be putting themselves and their families and financial and personal risk.

If someone falls off a ladder or scaffold; if a brick  hits the head of someone not wearing a hard hat; or if a worker wearing tackies gets his toes crushed, then homeowners should realise that,  if the “contractor” (read bakkie builder) is not properly registered and insured that the injured worker or his next of kin can sue the property owner.

Also, given the level of crime in South Africa, how reckless is it to let unknown people into your home.   At the very least the contractor  should be able to provide ID numbers and home addresses for all of his workers and also proof of insurances.

John Graham CEO HouseCheck  john@housecheck.co.za    083 310 9766

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