Construction companies are responsible for the development and construction of a building or similar infrastructure. They will typically be well versed in the fields of civil engineering and architecture. While some may be under the impression these companies work in just one area, this is not the case. In actuality, they must be efficient at multitasking. A construction manager will often be in charge of the project, and they will work with the design engineer and project manager to manage the whole project. Construction companies will employ a large number of laborers and tradesman to assist them in physically building the specialized structure.

Construction's Dirty Little Secrets

My personal account of what construction workers get away with at house sites.

New neighborhoods are popping up in cities across the United States like weeds. In today's market there are literally thousands of new and custom home builders in our country. With more and more people wanting to help build their own home, it is keeping the construction industry's fire fueled.

Americans are living the American Dream of home ownership and yet they are also completely oblivious to the things that are taking place around them in the new neighborhoods. As a potential homebuyer, you more than likely get the virtual red-carpet treatment from the builder, especially if it is your first home. As a reality check, you must realize that they are treating you so well because of two reasons: 1) they want you to close on the house they are contracted to build for you. If you don't buy the house, they don't get paid until someone else buys it, which could take months. 2) If this is your first home then they want to get you hooked on their service and products for future homes that you will want built. And even if it isn't your first home they will still want you to be a return customer in the future as well as a free referral service.

During the construction of a new home, the builder will have a variety of different contractors in and out of your new house. The contractors, of course, have a whole slew of people that work for them. Most of us hope and pray the regular construction workers are both skilled enough to do the job as well as legal to be in the United States. Even though most national builders will watch their P's and Q's by doing background checks on the people at the job site, this does not mean that the workers actually have scruples.

Not all workers at the home sites will have any sense of morality. From the time I went into contract for my new home to be constructed, I was advised by the very open sales associate that there may be things that I would see that I would not like taking place in my future home. Some of the things that had taken place in the community I was building in included smoking and rubbing inside the home even after signs were posted not to do so, construction workers relieving themselves in the sinks and bathtubs (both one and two), hanging the drywall and leaving food and drink items from lunch in the walls, and overall outright abuse of custom applications inside the home (ex: not caring how level and straight the custom countertops are because they will miss the football game if they don't leave on time).

I was informed that if I were to ever see anything take place during construction, not to say anything to the workers but to the builder instead. This was to make sure scuffles didn't ensue on the work site, especially since I would not be the owner of the property until closing day. This makes sense on the part of the builder and the future homeowner, and as I found out through word-of-mouth things such as the aforementioned occurrences happen everywhere and quite frequently.

Even though the things that may happen during the building process seems a little off and it makes you wonder why any civilized person would treat other's property like that, it happens. But even after the building process if there is still new home construction around your new home, you may face other oddities from the construction staff.

One of the biggest things I found in the community I was living in was the blatant theft of water and electricity from other homes. I was actually the victim of this several times over several months of continued home construction in my neighborhood. There were many times when I would look out of my back kitchen window and see electrical cords plugged into my outside outlets. The construction crews would sneak over to the closest house, even though not always mine, and basically steal electricity from a homeowner so they could finish a job quickly. At other times I could sit and look out my upstairs window and watch workers sneak across to occupied homes and steal water from the outdoor faucets without the homeowner being the wiser. This happened at least a half a dozen times on a daily basis. The sad part is that I have no idea how often it happened to me.

Even after speaking with the local construction/builder's supervisor, I was basically told to get the car license plate numbers of the ones that were stealing utilities from my home and somehow they would be forced to pay my bill. As comforting as it sounds to have some sort of answer to the problem, how could anyone be forced to pay a utility bill without legal action? You would actually have to hope and pray that the offender would confess and not fight the payment for the infraction; chances of this happening are slim to none.

So what can you do? And is doing anything really worth the time and effort that you will have to put forth? Basically, if you have a home owner's association then you have one good thing on your side. Contact them immediately and get them working for you so you can stop the blatant utility theft that is taking place in your own neighborhood and community. If you are without an association and you feel speaking with the builder will leave you high and dry, then you can always contact the city council and find out if you need to file a report with the local police department.

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  • Avoid construction complications

    Here is how I resolved my personal issues, but it hasn't helped any of my neighbors. Since I stay at home to take care of my children and go to college, I kind of have the upper hand. I normally have my outside outlets turned off in my breaker box in the basement unless I need to use them. Some houses aren't set up this way, so you will have to check your own box to see. Also, if I see anyone stealing my utilities I write it down and then call the supervisor, which is in a trailer about a football field from my home. You can also check your meter readings and then if you need to you can keep track of the offenders and then hand them a bill for services stolen. If nothing comes of this then you have documented information for legal action.

    Bottom line, unless you are a six-foot-tall, bullet-proof man that resembles Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime, don't confront the construction workers or contractors by yourself. A majority of the time this will only lead to problems and someone getting hurt. Even though what they are doing is nothing less than a crime, it doesn't mean that you should jump off your high horse to play sheriff of the community. The smart thing to do is track what is happening, report it, and let your neighbors know what is taking place so you can help each other. In a more perfect world this wouldn't happen and people would have more respect for the property of others. Unfortunately the world is far from perfect and we are living in a land of ignorance and jealousy. Since it's virtually impossible to change people, the least we can do is look out for ourselves and our fellow neighbors.