Matt Bishop had a very interesting article in the June 16 issue of this publication regarding contractor licensing. Perhaps the most interesting and perplexing portion of the article had to do with the fact that the city of Miami, as large as it is, has no licensing or control over contractors doing sub-standard work. Here in Missouri, we do not have a state licensing law, but St. Louis County, the county with the largest population in Missouri, does have a licensing law for individuals performing various forms of mechanical work (sheet metal, pipe-fitting, sprinkler fitting, residential HVAC, etc.) Permits are required to be taken out, and the county’s inspectors make a concerted effort to make sure this mechanical work is executed by licensed individuals.
In fact, two contractors were recently cited and fined for not obeying the licensing ordinance. In one case, the licensed contractor didn’t take out a permit and made some errors on the installation. The homeowner called in another licensed contractor in an attempt to solve the problems, and that contractor — attempting to check on the permit — found that the first contractor had failed to take out a permit. The original contractor was fined and had his license suspended for 90 days. Even though he had been operating in St. Louis County for many years, records showed he had only taken out two or three permits. In other words, his philosophy was: Do a job without a permit and hope I don’t get caught. His luck finally ran out.