Water flows down hill and you get paid on Fridays
That’s all you need to know to be a plumber…Right?
We’ve all heard that one or at least a version of it anyway. But the truth is, it is very important to hire a licensed plumber for any work that you may be doing in your home. I would like to list a number of pros and cons to help you understand the benefits of having a trained professional versus a handyman work in your home.
In Ontario, all plumbers must have a certification with the Ontario College of Trades, which means they have the training and certification required to legally work in the plumbing trade.
The obvious reason is that a trained professional is taught all of the current codes and best practices for altering existing plumbing or installing new.
For any of the plumbing in your home that is altered, relocated or added on to, it is imperative that the technician understands how a plumbing system works. It is very possible that a drain for a basin, could also act as a vent for another fixture, like a toilet.
For example, if changes are made to the location of an existing basin drain and the person doing the work does not have an understanding of the plumbing code (in particular, venting) then you could end up with a toilet that is not vented. This could lead to a whole host of problems, such as a poorly flushing toilet, other drains that now become noisy - a gurgling noise - when you flush that toilet, a smell coming from the drain or any number of other issues.
Probably, even more important, is the liability that you are taking on by having someone work in your home, or on your property, without any liability insurance or occupational health and safety coverage - WSIB.
Most people don’t realize that if a contractor or one of his workers is injured while working on your property, you could be liable for the costs if they don't have WSIB.
Does this contractor have any insurance? What if he damages your home with a flood or fire, or burns it to the ground? If they are not insured, then good luck getting anything covered! You may be surprised by how many contractors/handymen that are out there that do not have insurance coverage of any kind.
A licensed plumbing contractor will have all of the above. The easiest way to find out is to just ask!
Any professional plumbing company doing business today will be willing and happy to provide proof of liability insurance and proof of WSIB for your area. In fact, it is mandatory to provide both before a company is allowed to work on some job sites. I would advise homeowners to ask for proof of insurance and worker coverage before that company does any work in your home. If they can’t produce it, or balk in any way regarding insurance, then that is a definite red flag. If they do have coverage, it would be very simple to provide you with a current dated copy for your records.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are very competent contractors/handymen out there who do a very good job. A good indication of a competent contractor is someone who uses licensed plumbers and electricians to perform that portion of the work in your home.