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What can a handyman legally can and cann

Senna's picture

Some guys on my street were yapping about a local handyman who was threatened by a local plumber over the types of jobs the handyman was doing. The plumber claimed that handyman was taking away work from the plumber doing minor repairs that normally a plumber would have been called for. From what I understand the Handyman charges $15 an hour the plumber $70. I assume the work was pretty minor stuff replacing taps and fixing running toilets, things of that nature.

As a homeowner I can see both sides of the argument. The plumber went to great lengths to get a license but the jobs being performed don’t require much skill. I also think that a homeowner has the right to hire anybody they want to do the job. What do you think? What’s the law say?

(post #60027, reply #1 of 56)

around here .... they can't do most of what they do ... do.


no plumbing or electric ... unless licensed ... which ... they ain't.


I've done some midnite plumbing and electric in my days ...


But no more.


Just not worth the risk.


HO's on the other hand ... can most anything on their own homes ...


Just as long as they apply for the proper permit ...


Ahh .. ha ha ....


Sure .. that happens all the time!


Jeff


Jeff


 


Buck Construction   Pittsburgh,PA


     Artistry in Carpentry                

    Buck Construction

 Artistry In Carpentry

     Pittsburgh Pa

(post #60027, reply #2 of 56)

I think the law varies state to state.


 Here in Alaska a handymans lic. will allow you to do any job as long as the total project is $10,000 or less as long as you're bonded and insured.


 I personally have no problem with who they hire as long as the handyman has some kind of lic., bond and ins.


                                                                                                         Dave


 

(post #60027, reply #3 of 56)

What the law says will vary from state to state and localities within states.

Do any electrical here in Maine for money and you havre broken the law. If you do something careless that results in injury to another person, it becomes a class E felony instead of a simple misdemeanor. The fines can be big time.

Plumbing install here has to be done by licensed or owner of the building. Replacing a faucet is OK. Fixing a leak is unwise without license.

Me - If I touch plumbing, it will leak. That is a given.

;)

the important thing for a HO to consider is not how hard the job at hand is in terms of skjill but how experienced the handyman is. The required skills are ofter wqay more than anticipated, and I have seen way too many houses and house parts ruined by improper work, as well intentioned as it was.

 

 <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


Welcome to the
Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
 where ...
Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #60027, reply #4 of 56)

>> Me - If I touch plumbing, it will leak. That is a given.

That kind of puts you beyond temptation's grasp, doesn't it. :o)


Edited 2/10/2004 6:43:14 PM ET by Uncle Dunc

(post #60027, reply #5 of 56)

Oh one of those to change a faucet washer means that you'll end up back at the city tap or the well head... 

 


Who ever invented work didn't know how to fish....

"Some days it's just not worth chewing through the restraints"

(post #60027, reply #9 of 56)

        Oiffin sounds like your from Maine too. What part? Im up in Bangor


             Ive worked around the state , Bar Harbor, Portland, Ellsworth, Surry Winterport, Waterville and Bucksport   mostly Bangor  as its home.        dogboy

(post #60027, reply #11 of 56)

Look out into the Bay from the Route One bridge in Belfast and you'll see my place

 

 <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


Welcome to the
Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
 where ...
Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #60027, reply #17 of 56)

       Wow your not far away at all,  Steve ( woodslut ) and I are up here in Bangor  anytime you com up here and you have time let us know , maybe meet for lunch.


 Always enjoy meeting other tool guys. 


                                     Dogboy

(post #60027, reply #6 of 56)

Most of this is up to the AHJ, Authority Having Jurisdiction. Building inspection or public works department.


In many areas the rules, as written, make doing just about anything a job requiring a permit and calling in a licensed contractor. In theory it goes all the way down to changing a lightbulb and tightening a faucet bonnet. Most inspectors, at least in growth areas, are over worked and have little desire to bird dog the screwing in of lightbulbs.


This is often contradicted by rules allowing HOs to do much of their own work as long as they are inhabiting the premises. This usually supports a lively 'grey market' business in glorified real estate people buying homes. Serially moving in and renovating, often butchering, homes. Largely free from inspections and controls.


Faced with these contradictions and the issues associated with hiring a full bore contractor for minor job versus a local unregulated handyman botching it for much less many local jurisdictions have opened up a looser contractor category. Usually termed a 'handyman' license, or some such term.


This often qualifies as a light version of a general contractor. You can do a lot of things but there are strictly defined limits. Sometimes these are proscriptive limits and other times monetary. Something like being able to do electrical work within a device box but not adding cables or working within the main panel, other than turning off the breaker. Or something like a $200 limit on a job.


I have had a few discussions with inspectors and a couple or these licensed handymen but understand that there are great differences in jurisdictions. Often down to the county or city level.

(post #60027, reply #7 of 56)

You have brought up a difficult subject here at Breaktime . Most of the pros here "sell' labor and are touchy when their money is in jeopardy. On the other hand a homeowner has rights . On the other hand a handiman has rights . On the other hand there are ways that are better than others at skinning cats.


As mentioned laws vary , but how its accomplished is more important . In Arkansas , a homeowner can plumb his own new house.  Should he ? Most cases not . Plumbers have a vast knowledge base contrary to popular believe . In many cases they overcharge  , but thats not speaking for all of them. Their trade is to be respected greatly, but in reality they cost a lot of money for repair work. Most handi men cant handle the tasks of repair profeciantly. It takes years to know trouble shooting with out wasted motion . Sometimes when a plumber is there for an hour and charges 150.00 , its because hes knowledgeable and solves the problem in a short amount of time. Would I pay it ? No.  


A home owner can do any plumbing after his home is built . If he was to ask for some help while he did it , its very legal as long a bill doesnt address it from someone else. Its the home owners call most of the time.


A handi man doesnt need to advertise plumbing , he will find plenty . I would suggest that he keep his mouth shut and his hands busy lending a helping hand. . Self explanatory .  [ It is the home owners call, not the plumber]


In this state a homeowner can plumb his own new house .


Some pros here have mentioned that they dont fool with plumbing at all . I dont understand that completely , but respect it.


Tim Mooney


 


Edited 2/11/2004 8:58:54 AM ET by Tim Mooney

 

(post #60027, reply #8 of 56)

Here in the PRC, (Calif)  no matter what you call yourself contractor/handyman you have to be licensed in order to charge over $500 a job. I heard somewhere they raised the amount but I have not seen it written anywhere.

 


Darkworksite4:


Estamos ganando detrás el estado de Calif. Derrotando a un #### a la vez. DESEA VIVO LA REVOLUCIÓN

(post #60027, reply #12 of 56)

Here in North Carolina, it can vary from county to county. In my county, a handyman can replace plumbing and electrical fixtures. (And a HO can do literally anything to his own home.)  In this case, "behind the wall" is specifically defined as any changes that are past the surface.


So, if that ceiling fan will require a different workbox, it requires a license.


I am a handyman, and I follow these rules very closely. I have a relationship with an electrical contractor, a plumber, and an HVAC guy (also licensed and restricted here). They know that I won't "take their work", because I have hired them often enough. I refer my clients to them when asked. And in return, they have referred customers to me.


 


 


Vast projects should not be founded on half vast ideas.
. . . I can't live proud enough to die when I'm gone, So I guess I'll have to do it while I'm here. (Phil Ochs)

(post #60027, reply #16 of 56)

Like you, I'm a handyman (handyperson), but I also don't restrict myself to small repairs. I've come to realize that I can handle bigger jobs: I just tend to change my work criteria.

For a small job I might work o all the trades' area and finish everything within a day. But then I may have a 4 week thing which calls for me to hire a carp., grab my electrician and call in my plumber.

I'm never shy to call in the pros when the situation warrents.

But, being able and willing to take on jobs smaller thanGC would gets me into the house and available for the big ones too - where I can REALLY make a little money.

Quality repairs for your home.


Aaron the Handyman
Vancouver, Canada


 

Quality repairs for your home.

AaronR Construction
Vancouver, Canada

 

(post #60027, reply #37 of 56)

I'm a retired electrical contrator from Arizona, just got to NC last April. I have read the NC law, and I'm not happy about it. As I read it, it says if I change a light bulb without a license, it's a class 2 misdemenor, whatever that is.


Since I got here I have been arguing with the Examiners over whether or not I have enought experience to take the test. They want notarized affidavits from two employers. Hey, they are all dead or gone!


If I read you rightly, perhaps I should go talk to the Madison County Building Inspecter. That right?


Frank Heatherington


 

(post #60027, reply #38 of 56)

Where are you at in NC and what law were you reading?


Edited 2/15/2004 1:07:13 AM ET by RASCONC

For those who have fought for it Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.

(post #60027, reply #42 of 56)

Well, thanks. Since I intended from the start to get a license the first thing I did was to contact the (hang on) North Carolina State Board of Electrical Examiners. They sent me a copy of the law, about five pounds of it.


I think I'll go talk to the local inspector here in Madison County, and tell him my situation, and see what he says. 

(post #60027, reply #44 of 56)

I'm in Madison County, between Marshall and Mars Hill

(post #60027, reply #48 of 56)

Welcome to the hills.  We are in Old Fort, at exit 73 on I-40.  There is an acquaintance of mine that lives near you, Junk Man Supreme.  Bernard Coates around Mars Hill.  Has a very large salvage bldg. materials operation in Asheville that is currently shut down for the winter/firemarshall.  Has some excellent buys and probably has a pile of stuff at home. 


Bob

For those who have fought for it Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.

(post #60027, reply #49 of 56)

I'm new here, as I may have said. Where is Exit 73? I havn't yet met this friend of yours. I do like salvage yards, and I ought to take a look at his. You can find all sorts of stuff in places like that, and I have been known to sell some of my junk that was too usefull to someone else to throw away.

(post #60027, reply #51 of 56)

For reference I believe the East Asheville exit where 240 and 40 come together is exit 53.  Exit 73 is 20 to the East at the foot of the mountain 1420 msl.  There are quite a few of us hillbillys and some transplants who live around here on Breaktime.

For those who have fought for it Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.

(post #60027, reply #39 of 56)

As I read it, it says if I change a light bulb without a license, it's a class 2 misdemenor,


I have not actually read the law itself. I checked with my local building inspectors department, and I did a bunch of reading on the NC official websites.


http://www.ncdoi.com/OSFM/Home/Marshal.asp?PARAMSection=sidEngineeringCode


Because I didn't read the law, it is quite possible that I misunderstood. But, the building inspectors, and the licensed guys that I've talked to, agree that I am allowed to change fixtures, but do nothing "behind the wall".


Yes, you should check with your local officials. It is quite possible that you are allowed to do the same as I am here. And what I've found is that there is some demand. There's not enough to make a full time living, but I do lots of things other than change light fixtures.


 


 


Vast projects should not be founded on half vast ideas.
. . . I can't live proud enough to die when I'm gone, So I guess I'll have to do it while I'm here. (Phil Ochs)

(post #60027, reply #41 of 56)

" agree that I am allowed to change fixtures, but do nothing 'behind the wall'."

"... other than change light fixtures."

These days it is not so easy to change a light fixture without doing something "behind the wall". All of the light fixtures I see require upgrading the wiring to, what is it?, 90 degree centigrade rating?? I'm pretty sure I've not spent more than an hour in the past several years doing work in homes new enough to be wired with that wire.

Rich Beckman

Another day, another tool.

(post #60027, reply #43 of 56)

Are you sure the wire you are talking about is not the fixture wire itself? Romex is still allowed, and last I heard it is 60* C wire.

(post #60027, reply #45 of 56)

No, NM-B is 90 degree rated insulation and you can use 90 for hookup and for the base for derating. But it is still limited to the 60 degree column for maximum amperage.

. William the Geezer, the sequel to Billy the Kid - Shoe

(post #60027, reply #46 of 56)

"No, NM-B is 90 degree rated insulation and you can use 90 for hookup and for the base for derating."

I have no idea what that sentence means.

I've 'bout decided that when a new light fixture is being installed and the wiring is the older stuff to simply put in a junction box a couple of feet from the light fixture and splice the new wire to the old wire there and then run it to the light.

Does that work??

Rich Beckman

Another day, another tool.

(post #60027, reply #47 of 56)

"I've 'bout decided that when a new light fixture is being installed and the wiring is the older stuff to simply put in a junction box a couple of feet from the light fixture and splice the new wire to the old wire there and then run it to the light.

Does that work?? "

Yes.

Now I have heard that people just make a 6" pigtail of 90 degree wire and put it in the same box. Not real sure what that accomplish.

If the problem is heat connected through the fixture wiring that would be OK.

But if it is heat build up in the box from the fixture you still have the orginal wiring in the box.

. William the Geezer, the sequel to Billy the Kid - Shoe

(post #60027, reply #50 of 56)

I will say that I have been told to change out fixtures, and when I pulled the old wiring connections down to work on, I got hit in the face with a shower of insulation. But that was on that old rubber covered stuff. I have never had that happen with any romex. I wired new houses and businesses almost exclusively. I ALWAYS run the power to the switch. Nothing over the fixture but a switch leg.

(post #60027, reply #10 of 56)

"Most of the pros here "sell' labor and are touchy when their money is in jeopardy. On the other hand a homeowner has rights "

Tim,

Not trying to pick atcha but I'm not so sure that it'sthe money issue. For me and many that I know, it is the quality issue. There are so many times that I ahve had to take somnething apart and rebuild it after it was "repaired" the year before or the week before by an unskilled person. I live and have almost always lived where licensing is not the issue. For plumbers, guess who gets called back out on the fourth of July or Christmass Eve when leak springs in the porr work of the handyman. Do you suppose that effects the attitude of plumbers towards handymen?

Don't get me wrong, I don't believe in state licensing and prefer the old caveat emptor rule and I can understand and sympathize with foilks who need a handyman. My recent visit top Florida showed me the vast market there for anyone who can and will work.

 

 <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


Welcome to the
Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
 where ...
Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #60027, reply #13 of 56)

The paragraph you  used was me trying to say that , " its hard to advise one way or another because we have hani men and plumbers here . Thats all I meant by the opening statement.


What I dont understand is why carps [or who ever ] dont try . I dont see why when it comes to electricity or plumbing why a carp doesnt learn it to further his education .


I mentioned both sides of the issue as I think you did also . It depends a lot on the handiman or the plumber . Ill give a good point:


A homeowner I personally know was standing in front of the parts bin for faucet parts in this magnificent hardware store we have here. He said , you do a lot of plumbing . I cant find the part  . I explained that the part he had would have to be ordered from a plumber re: a plumbing supply house . 150 for the plumber , 50 for parts comes to 200.00 dollars . I said why dont you just spend 50 and replace it here with a new faucet . You can change it your self in 5 minutes with a basin wrench. So for 60 dollars in 5 minutes , the problem is over .


I run into that a-l-l the time .


Tim Mooney

 

(post #60027, reply #15 of 56)

I agree ... to a point.


I can plumb and wire with the best of them ....


full well knowing my limits ...


But it's not worth a few extra bucks trying to get away with work that requires a permit and inspection in a paying customers house.


Plus ..... I'll be the first to say my plumber and electrician know lots more than I ever will.


I even have a buddy that ran all the electric for his last company ... big time additions ... he was hired on as a carp. Knows tons about electric ...


He just asked me if I had any work for him ... I said Sure ... after you can pull a permit and get the inspection. He's not licensed ... he's as useful to me on electric as I am. We can both make the lights go on ... but we'd both have to hide when the county inspector came around.


Jeff


Buck Construction   Pittsburgh,PA


     Artistry in Carpentry                

    Buck Construction

 Artistry In Carpentry

     Pittsburgh Pa