Licensed Contractors a Must to Get Projects Done Right

September 22, 2011

Selecting the perfect design and blueprints aren’t the most vital part of beginning a construction project, but rather hiring a licensed professional to bring those plans to life.

Assuring that designers and contractors are licensed and insured is critical to a successful project. “I don’t think people realize the potential calamitous situations of hiring someone who’s not licensed,” said Glen Van Dyke, of Truckee’s Van Dyke Law Group. “There are a myriad of ways to suffer financial loss, as well as jeopardize the integrity of your property.”

Van Dyke, whose firm specializes in construction litigation and real estate transactions in California and Nevada, notes unlicensed workers and firms often offer lower rates, which usually indicates minimal qualifications. Those savings are lost however, when property owners, of both commercial buildings and personal homes, find the work is not accepted by regulatory agencies due to deficient work. In addition to shoddy work, owners have also been left in limbo when unlicensed workers have taken payment and left jobs incomplete.

Lack of insurance is another issue to take into account. Unfortunately not all architects, engineers and contractors are insured, despite the fact that it’s required by state agencies. Errors made during construction and, particularly those that are found after the project is “complete,” are not covered by the uninsured individuals, leaving the owner to pay out of pocket.

“It is critical for property owners to not only check to see if the firm is insured, but that the insurance is current,” Van Dyke said. “And a licensed professional would never let their insurance lapse. It’s imperative to address this before hiring anyone to work on your property. You don’t want to find out after something’s gone wrong.”

Anyone hired to develop a property must have a valid and enforceable license by the appropriate agency. This applies to all types of engineers (civil, structural, mechanical, and geotechnical), architects, residential designers, and all contractors, including subcontractors.

Property owners who have questions about possible legal issues concerning licensed contractors and designers in both California and Nevada can contact Van Dyke Law Group at 877-868-7013, or visit

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