Discover the Truth About Your Contractor
A recent newspaper article warned homeowners of an inspector who had been fined more than $80,000 by Oregon’s Construction Contractors Board (or “CCB”) for performing illegitimate inspections and using the license number of an inspector who had the same first and last name. It is a reminder that licensure comes with important consumer protections, including insurance and bond requirements and other reporting obligations intended to put owners on notice of a history of problems.
Fortunately, homeowners have easy tools at their disposal to aid in the evaluation of contractors and inspectors. The Oregon CCB requires contractors to be licensed. Its website features a searchable database that provides licensure status, bond and insurance information, as well as any disciplinary history. A relatively recently added feature is the “Buyer Beware” list that provides names, pictures and descriptions of repeat and extreme violators of CCB rules.
Similarly, the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries offers an online database that assists users in verifying the validity of a contractor, reporting fraudulent activity, or resolving disputes.
Barker Martin encourages its clients to perform appropriate due diligence when selecting contractors. Key questions to keep in mind are:
- Is my contractor licensed?
- Does my contractor have a history of complaints or violations?
- Is my contractor bonded and insured?
In performing due diligence on a contractor, an owner may also consider references and a more thorough review of the contractor’s insurance policies. With the above questions and tools in mind, the goal is to rest easy knowing you have hired the right professional for your project.