Wednesday, August 6, 2008

To License Or Not To License

Many counties in New York, and I presume other States as well, do not require the licensing of plumbers, electricians and other trades. That's bad news for unwary residential and commercial owners who rely on unlicensed tradespersons to perform critical work. Absent some State licensing requirement, together with continuing professional education, it is difficult to have confidence in the quality or safety of work being performed. Lawyers, doctors, architects and other skilled professionals are required to be licensed, why not the construction trades?

Granted, licensing alone does not guarantee that an individual is fully competent to perform the work. However, it is an additional measure evidencing that an individual possesses some requisite skill. Instead of local licensing requirements (which are imposed by some counties but not others), the prudent course would be to have statewide licensing for the trades. Together with continuing education requirements, this would bring uniformity to the construction process, avoid cronyism by local licensing boards, and ensure minimal levels of knowledge and skill by construction professionals.

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