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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Why Rebuilding May Be More Difficult in Florida than Texas

After Irma finishes with Florida, the state  will join Texas on the long, long project of rebuilding homes and businesses. The work will require thousands of construction crews, drywall installers, plumbers, electricians — every kind of trades person you can imagine.

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In Texas, however, the supply of those people may be more abundant than the supply in Florida, for one simple reason: Licensing.

In most states, not just anybody can show up with their toolbox and start working on a house. In order to protect the public from incompetent contractors, governments typically require people to pass tests, pay annual fees, and demonstrate either significant education or experience in the field.

In Florida, a license is required for most significant remodeling and construction work. The chapter of the state code that governs those licenses is nearly 60,000 words. Before someone even takes the contracting exam, they need to have either a four-year degree in a related field, or four years of proven experience. Just like a lawyer or accountant, they need to demonstrate that they've taken continuing education classes in order to keep their licenses current.

In Texas, there's almost none of that.

The construction professions for which Texas requires licenses are electricians, heating and air conditioning installers, mold assessors and remediators, water well drillers, specialized construction of modular housing and modifications for disability access. (Along with a slew of non-construction licenses, from laser hair removal to property tax consultants.)

That means a lot of the work on a house that's been flooded — such as installing drywall and flooring — can be performed by almost anyone. For consumers, that allows for more choice, especially at a time when skilled contractors will be in short supply. But it also entails more risk, since it's difficult to ensure that the person doing work on your house is trustworthy.

CLICK HERE to read the entire Houston Chronicle article

1 comment:

Ken Semler said...

Coach,

Express Modular is a licensed modular builder in both TX and FL. Your are right on point with your comments. Texas is much like most of the northeastern states, if you pay your money you can be a home builder. In Texas, you don't even need that if you build "traditional" homes. You need an Industrialized Housing Builder License only if you build modular homes.

In FL it is much more difficult! You have to pass a 16 hour exam. Of that, 9.5 hours of the test must be taken at a FL location and the test is only given every 2 months at 4 test sites. You have to provide documented and notarized descriptions of at least 4 years of construction supervision experience. Financial stability is evaluated and approved. In addition, every year every builder must complete, document, and prove that they have taken 14 hours of continuing education before each license renewal.

So yes, if FL had a contractor shortage before IRMA, it won't get any better anytime soon!