Canadian Contractor

Window and door contractor laments poor installations by cash operators

Archie Kontridze says that, in his experience, some 80 per cent of all window installations these days fail to meet regulations

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February 1, 2019 by canadiancontractor

My name is Archiel Kontridze and I am the owner and operator of Sobol Inc. Established in 2007, the company supplies, installs and maintains residential doors and windows. Sobol Inc. has earned awards from Homestars, the leading online community of homeowners and home improvement companies in Canada, and received the Pella Windows Top Gun award. Today we have served over 1,000 customers and continue provide high quality service to GTA residents.

In my 22 year’s of experience, some 80 per cent of doors and windows installed today fail to meet the minimum requirements set up by CAN/CSA A440.4 and the SAWDAC (Siding and Window Dealers Association of Canada), meaning that they are not level, square or plum. I attribute this lack of professionalism to greed on the parts of both company owners and their installers. Door and window manufacturers have no incentive to demand better quality from their retailers so long as the demand for the product remains high.

Since local municipalities eliminated the residential permit requirement for door and window replacement, the industry has become ripe for corruption. While we all understand that businesses have to make money, profit should not come from reducing standards or violating bylaws. Law-abiding businesses should not be forced to shut down their operations because they are unable to compete with businesses that hire unlicensed, illiterate and uninsured migrant or illegal workers.

In Ontario, WSIB in general needs revision. After Bill 119 in 2008 (Editor’s Note: When mandatory WSIB payments were extended to a wider range of contractors), the number of “cash jobs” increased dramatically. When I advertised for an assistant, the majority that responded requested cash payments. Apparently, they had been paid cash before. Many times, I have seen a trailer or cube van without a company name, and certainly without a municipal license number. No name, no trace.

What is the number of small claims cases on door/window projects that have gone badly, and how many have never been reported?
Many times, dishonest dealers will incorporate a business to take advantage of consumers, then declare bankruptcy and register a new business under a different name.

We have all heard horror stories about renovations gone wrong. What makes them go so badly? Obviously dishonest business owners who scam the public are at fault and some blame goes to homeowners who agree to cash deals.  Then the installers fail to meet codes. The biggest blame goes to the municipalities that fail to enforce their building codes and regulations.

Municipalities should bring permit requirement for door and window replacement and introduce the same system for contractors and businesses as for vehicle license plate renewal. Once a year, businesses (contractors) should submit valid documentation (insurance) to meet the required criteria. Only then would they be granted a permit to operate.

I addressed this issue to Mr. Michael Coteau, Ontario MPP for Don Valley East. He responded to my call and promised to follow up, but I have received no further reply. My Federal Don Valley Conservative MP didn’t answer at all.

I contacted the (then) representative of Toronto mayor John Tory during his first election campaign, asking him about his vision on business licensing and illegal business operations, but I never heard back from him or his campaign. The most honest answer I got came from Toronto City Councillor Shelley Carroll who admitted that the city had no resources or tools to go after these businesses.

While growing up in the USSR, I used to listen to “Voice of America” and “Radio Freedom.” I always pictured the Western Block countries as places where the law is the foundation of the prosperity. In my opinion it’s the only valid regulator for any society. Ironically, I studied law myself in Tbilisi State University before my family was forced out of Georgia. I have never returned there.

Instead, I found my home in Toronto. I’m blessed to be a Canadian citizen. However, when it comes to my working environment lately, it reminds me of the old days of the USSR. I can’t believe that in this day and age we allow people with criminal intent to conduct offences and get away with that.

Something has to be done.

Thank you,
Archiel Kontridze



Canadian Contractor is the independent voice of residential renovators and home builders everywhere in Canada.
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