ACHRNEWS

Taking Care of Business: It's a War: Rural Vs. Urban Contractors

April 7, 2008

I have witnessed some interesting conversations from HVACR contractors in urban areas who talk about the need to step up licensing and permitting enforcement in their states. Contractors from populated urban areas are asking their local building inspectors to step up inspections, possibly by hiring more inspectors, and enforcing building codes at a more aggressive rate.

While many contractors follow the letter of the law and pull permits, many others do not, particularly in rural areas where inspections may not be the norm. I can only guess that the ones who do not pull permits do so to avoid the cost and “inconvenience” of going to city hall for the permits, while others do not want anyone inspecting their work because they know it is usually not up to par.

Urban contractors are the first to point fingers at their counterparts in rural or sparsely populated areas where there is a lack of inspectors and a lack of code enforcement.

The example that stands out in my mind is Kentucky, where contractors from Louisville and Lexington are behind a movement to hire more inspectors but are getting little, if any, support from contractors in other less-populated areas of the state.

In an ideal world, there would be enough inspectors to ensure that most HVACR work is done properly and by code. But even in a robust economy there has been a woeful lack of inspectors to cover entire states. Imagine what the situation is like now when state and local governments are trying to balance their budgets in down economic times.