When seeking to start their own business, many aspiring building contractors are shocked to discover that they must first pass some tests in order to receive a license. They feel that this is an unnecessary imposition on them, as they are already knowledgeable, skilled and qualified, and as long as their future clients will be happy with their work, that’s all that matters.
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As far as they’re concerned, the government has no right to make them prove that they’re qualified. This libertarian attitude is actually shared by millions of people in this country; it reflects the romantic idea of “rugged individualism” which many believe is one of the factors that made America such a great country to live in, and the economic powerhouse it is today.
However, this is not a realistic attitude these days, and hasn’t been for a long time. Building codes and safety precautions are very important, and it’s imperative that a building contractor has the knowledge necessary to make sure that the structures he’s building are safe and sound. This is not a question that should be left up to potential clients to determine for themselves.
The government has an interest in making sure that people aren’t harmed or killed because of poor building construction, and these regulations have saved countless lives over the decades. If you doubt it, just think about the death toll last time we had a major earthquake in this country.
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The last big one was in the Los Angeles area in 1994, in the San Fernando Valley, with a population of a million and a half people. It resulted in 57 deaths. Compare that with the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, which killed over 3,000 people out of a population of only 410,000.
In 1994, the loss of life was less than a fiftieth of the lives lost in 1906, even though the population was four times as large. That’s truly amazing, and it happened in large part because local governments in America have established and enforced strict building standards.
So, while it’s understandable that some might grumble about having to take the Contractor’s exams (after all, who enjoys taking any kind of test?), these exams are necessary and vital. Besides, if a contractor is truly skilled and competent, he or she will have no trouble passing these tests. For anyone who is worried about passing, there are good study guides available to help one prepare.
Contractor Self-Assessment Module
by Enoch Morrison | Last Updated: February 22, 2019