Canadian Contractor

John Bleasby   

Win a Dewalt Combo Kit! Entries close Friday!

Canadian Contractor

Enter our 'What would do you?' Dilemma Contest today!

Short-circuited by an unreliable electrician
Home builder Jeremy McGuire had locked down every aspect of his contract with clients Doug and Betsy Higgins to build a 3500 square foot house on their 2-acre lot just outside town. He had itemised all elements of the project, right down to final trim carpentry and flooring, and had a group of trades on call who he had worked with for many years.


‘Oh, Brother-in-Law!’

However, Doug and Betsy approached Jeremy with a last minute request. Betsy’s brother Scott, was a licensed electrician. Would Jeremy use Scott instead of his usual electrician? Apparently Scott needed the work. To make it easier for Jeremy, Doug and Betsy would pay Scott directly so Jeremy wouldn’t be involved financially. Jeremy had reservations but agreed.

Jeremy was very well organised and ran his jobs on a tight schedule. His trades appreciated the efficiency; it meant they could schedule other work based on Jeremy’s reliability.

The problem was that Scott was not reliable. He only worked weekends, not when the rest of the crew was on site, and always left a mess of wire cuttings, coffee cups and wrappers that had to be swept up by Jeremy’s crew on Monday morning. That wasn’t all. When the ESA inspector arrived for the final check of Scott’s work, he found several deficiencies. Scott said he would correct his work, but would be busy for the next two weeks looking after some personal things. That had a big impact on Jeremy’s dry wall team in particular, since they had booked their time on site to fit with other projects.


Jeremy felt the best thing to do was to hire another electrician to come in right away to correct Scott’s work and keep the job moving forward on schedule. But that would cost him money and risk upsetting his clients. What should Jeremy do?

  1. Explain the problem to the Higgins, outline the additional costs that would be incurred to correct Scott’s work and get their go-ahead.
  2. Manage around the problem without upsetting the Higgins by appealing to the dry-wallers to adjust their work timetable with other projects.
  3. Contact Scott and impress upon him the importance of not letting Doug and Betsy’s project fall behind schedule.
  4. Some other solution (explain).

Please outline your proposal clearly and concisely in an email sent directly to:

John Bleasby at

DCK287D2_K1Entry deadline is August 26th 

If your answer is chosen as our winner, you will receive a new DeWalt Combo kit:
20V MAX* XRR Drill (DCD791) & Impact Driver (DCF887), featuring more powerful brushless motors and better ergonomics than previous DeWalt models, and featuring a dust & moisture resistant coated and sealed switch.
Retail price $389


Stories continue below

Print this page

Related Stories

2 Comments » for Win a Dewalt Combo Kit! Entries close Friday!
  1. Eric Elford says:

    I would first contact Scott, explain the ESA’s findings, and clearly suggest he get over and fix things immediately, as you have a schedule. And explain that if he can’t or won’t, that you have an obligation to inform the Higgins of the situation and it may also result in a problem with the Higgins which he will have to also deal with himself. If he complies, Get the drywallers to work with the delays and get it done. If he balks, then approach the Higgins and expain the situation calmly. They will eventually be footing the bill, so its a good idea to involve them with the ‘training excercise’ involving Scott.
    Always work the job as a professional with compassion.

  2. Marten says:

    I would suggest talking to the Higgins, showing them what ESA as found as well as what the job site looked like on Mondays. Ask them to get Scott over right away to fix the problems. And with compassion explain the cost of delays in getting this work done. As well as finishing the job on time. Explaining that you take pride in having a clean and well organized job site. See what the Higgins have to say, after all it is their sub.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *