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Protecting Your Money: Hiring a contractor

US construction spending tumbled in April
Posted at 4:58 PM, Jan 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-19 20:10:26-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Wefirst reported on the City of Corpus Christi's Development Service's S.T.A.R. Program in November. S-T-A-R stands for Safety, Training, Accountability and Registration; and the registration applies to contractors.

S.T.A.R. is not a city ordinance yet. Some fine tuning will be done before it's presented to city council, hopefully by spring, for approval. But, it's purpose is to have contractors register with development services to protect citizens looking to hire them.

Assistant Development Services Director Michael Dice puts it this way; "this now gives the consumer, the citizen of Corpus Christi, a tool that they'll be able to better choose qualified contractor for whatever job they may need."

Only contractors, and that means every trade and general contractor registered with the S.T.A.R. Program, will be able to pull permits. The program's online search tool will identify the type of work registered contractors are generally required to permit such as remodels, roofing, pools, additions, new homes, trades, etc.

The S.T.A.R. Program may have helped Fadua Ferdin, who was the subject of Tuesday's Troubleshooters report. She hired a contractor in July to remodel her home, but permits were never pulled. Almost six months later, the work's not done, and development services has ordered all work at her house to stop until an engineer/architect provides plans for the project. Afterward, permits can be applied for.

In the meantime, Ferdin's out $30,000 and still can't live in her home.

The intent of this new way of doing business for contractors, according to Development Services Director Al Raymond is, "you can't just show up and say 'I wanna pull a permit 'cause I'm doing work at 2324 Hackberry.' Well, you gotta get registered Mr. Contractor. You gotta have insurance. You gotta do a background check, just at the minimum."

How else can homeowners protect themselves?

1.Check contractor references
2.Determine if permits/engineer plans are necessary for job
3.Agree on a written payment plan
4.Notarized the contract so it is legally binding