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#221847 08/19/22 07:29 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,349
Likes: 1
Cat Servant
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What annoys me most is the way building trades are no longer respected by the public — or even employers.
I was raised in a time when “journeyman” meant something. Those days are gone. These days folks seem to think anyone with a tool belt is only slightly better than a retarded monkey.
They seem to think any body from the shelter can do your job, that $10/hr is a fair wage. Employers add more to the list of stuff YOU need to supply. Can’t use your blue hard hat that’s served you for years — go out and buy our color! You’re second guessed and micromanaged every step of the way (“Why are you running pipe? Just hang a cord on the wall!”)

Paralleling this trend, more crews seem populated by marginal types — ex-cons, dopers, folks still in rehab, and immigrants who can’t speak basic English, let alone read a code book. I’ve actually been chastised for following the print, rather than doing things “how we’ve always done them.” One boss even fired me for putting in an “unnecessary” code-required $5 disconnect.

Small wonder kids don’t want to enter the trades.

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Joined: Jul 2004
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G
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I think kids don't want to be in the trades because it is hard work and they have to actually show up somewhere. The kids seem to assume assume they can get rich designing video games laying on the couch.
Our trades are being taken over by immigrants at least in SW Fla.
I probably told this story but I was watching a 4 plex for a builder friend my wife knows and the electrical crew was all Latino. The lead guy seemed somewhat knowledgeable but most of the crew only knew a couple of tricks each. They were good at their trick and the rough looked good when they were done. They went real fast too. One guy was up in the trusses running wire. Another guy was setting boxes and prepping the conductors. A third guy was putting in the KO bushings and strapping the wire. It was amazing at how fast they went. I didn't see any lost motion. I am not sure how you compete with that in typical residential construction. I doubt these guys were making $15 an hour.
I would like to see more people getting back to the trades tho. Right now there isn't a single plumber, electrician or HVAC shop that is not advertising hard for new people. One plumbing company is saying "No resume, no experience required, no background check, no drug test. We will train". That is desperate. It also make me wonder if I want these guys in my house. They sound like they just hired on because they like the smell of the glue wink


Greg Fretwell
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,313
Likes: 7
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Yes, there are very few young ones interested in earning a good living in the trades, both union and non union.

It's been this way for some time, and it looks like it's not about to change. And there are a lot of "Help Wanted" signs on the ground, and on the trucks, for all trades. Heck Fedex and UPS are offering $16 to $22 hr. and have a tough time. The Fedex Center near the Municipal Bldg. here is bussing in 2 charter busses a day from NYC.

There are a few resi contractors that use the technique you describe here Greg, and they bang out a new SFD rough and service in a day or two. They do a compliant install for the most part, and if there are any issues, someone is on site to make the corrections quickly. Their ethnic makeup is Latino, Asian (Chinese, Korean. etc)

We have a 17 building, (mix of 10 and 21) units apt complex going up, they use the same technique, and that crew is Slavic.


John
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,313
Likes: 7
Member
Sorry Reno, your Lack of Respect post is taking a turn.

As to 'respect', I don't have a tool pouch any more, but on occasion I run into some disrespectful people.


John
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,745
Likes: 13
G
Member
People don't respect trades until they need one. Then they gripe about how expensive it is. That is particularly true of service techs. Customers will get mad if you don't have the part on the truck but they don't grasp how expensive it is to keep that truck stocked. I was involved in the logistics back in my former career in the computer biz. Even in the 90s, a van and the parts they carried had a "carrying charge" close to $100,000 a year, before we put a guy in the truck. That is not the price of the parts, just the expense of carrying them and the amortized cost of the van.


Greg Fretwell
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,349
Likes: 1
Cat Servant
Member
That’s fine.
Indeed, what are being described are the symptoms of the greater problem.
The work crews you describe are but cookie cutter crews. All the do is assembly line repeats of other peoples’ plans. They’re quick and efficient because they’re repeating the same job again and again.
Who did the layout, the calculations? Probably sone “engineering tech” in a plan shop who’s never owned a pair of Kleins. It’s cookie cutter design born inside a CAD program and rubber-stamped by an engineer who has never seen a job site. Finally, the job is reviewed, plans permitted, and job inspected by guys who took an 18-month program in “inspection technology.”

School teachers and career counselors tell kids that the building trades are for misfits, druggies, and others not “good enough” for college. Primed full of “self esteem,” and these students have no respect for actually learning anything but do think Google has the answer to everything.

End result? Electric work is considered so unskilled that it’s reserved more and more for those on the lowest rungs of the ladder.
I’ve witnessed the same dynamic in house panting, where folks have no concept of the prep work involved.

Look at the way the NEC has developed the past few decades. More and more micro-management by parties far away from the job. Remember when shared neutrals were routine? Good heavens — the latest NEC actually demands plug-in receptacles in certain situations. Have we forgotten how to twist on wire nuts?

Pile on the regulatory burdens, and you drive away the legitimate contractors, or price them out of the market. If I want to be a legal contractor, I need my Masters’ license, a lead license, an asbestos certification, additional licensing to work on manufactured / mobile / RV homes, and who knows what else. In my area you simply can’t get real contractors to touch an older home.
So . . . Work gets done under the radar, either by shade-free handymen or folks who had a fifteen minute seminar at the home center.

Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 464
Likes: 1
J
Member
The apprenticeships here are advertising about the pay and a guaranteed job without college debt. One large service company just was advertising a 10K signing bonus.

On the current prints I am working from I wonder if they had a clue of what code requirements were or if they were ever checked for accuracy. I have kitchen stoves with no power called for, 2 DW next to each other when there is only one. lighting shown on the millwork drawing, but nowhere else. And I am sure some of these have letters behind their name.


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