Licensing Debate, Consumer Protection - On the House

Licensing Debate, Consumer Protection

By on March 4, 2014
debate over licensing

Question

I subscribe to Milton Friedman’s postulate that licensing is for the protection of those licensed not the public.

My 60-year-old house has finally developed a squeak in the floor and a sagging door. My grandfather built this house, along with my Uncle Charlie. No permits and no inspectors. The pump house is over 100 years old! All redwood, never painted!

Roberto

Answer

We aren’t big on government either, but we do believe that uniform regulations need to be in place to protect consumers. It’s obvious that your grandfather and your uncle were handy. But, the building code and contractor licensing are in place to ensure that health and safety codes and building laws are carefully monitored before, during and after construction.At the turn of the century folks did business with a handshake. And that’s still the way business is done in many parts of the country. But, when you’re dealing with strangers, there is a chance that you might be duped. That’s why licensing laws have been enacted in many states.

Building permits help to protect consumers. There are products on the market that are sold over the counter that either don’t meet modern health and safety standards or are not energy efficient or that, when improperly installed, can be a real danger.

To a lay person, a recessed light fixture is a recessed light fixture. But today the law requires such a fixture to have an integral heat thermocouple. This turns the light fixture off automatically when it overheats a superb fire-prevention feature.

We’re glad your house has held together so well. But we don’t agree that there are too many regulations. We hope your home is as safe as the ones we build with our contractors’ license, using the building code and building permits.

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