Kyle T. Webster

Brian Hill, Hillrise Construction, Camarillo, Calif.

I take compliance code very seriously but I have to admit, I’m not a purist on the topic. For example, I often look the other way when it comes to maintenance code violations. I take issue with requiring an owner to pay for a permit to replace something that has a limited lifespan (hot water heater, garbage disposal, roof, etc.). As long as it’s done by a qualified licensed contractor, there should be no life safety issue and seems to be purely a revenue generator.

Another area I’m not diligent about reporting is interior space zoning issues. Contractors are asked to build an infrastructure that can be easily converted after inspection. It’s not technically against code but we all know what the owners will do as soon as we leave.

I do have very little patience with unlicensed contractors. Personally, I think it is far too easy to become a contractor; there should be a much tougher testing and vetting process. We are dealing with safety daily, so a contractor unwilling or unable to become licensed is putting many people at risk, not to mention the damage they do to our industry.


Tony Szak, Empire Development & Construction, Onalaska, Wis.

If someone isn’t abiding by the rules, they have to be put in check. I have no problem letting local building officials know where there’s a problem. Not only are [non-compliant contractors] taking business away from me and other companies who play by the rules, but they are putting people at risk.

If I turn in someone, I’m not only protecting the market and the public but I’m protecting them as well. The EPA takes enforcing the lead-paint rules very seriously and those fines are not a drop in the bucket. Anyone who’s been through the RRP classes will tell you that some of the rules are harsh, but it’s all for safety’s sake.

It’s our responsibility to keep small children safe, so if we have to wear HEPA masks and follow the other regulations that could actually save someone’s life, we have to do it.

Granted, I’m not a fan of some of the rules, but that’s the state of our industry. Any remodeler working today knows about these rules, so there’s no excuse for violating them.

If I see someone sanding off a bunch of old lead-based paint and they are not permitted or they’re not using proper lead-safe practices, I’m going to call them on it.