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Is Your Dream Home Actually A Ticking Time Bomb?

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Shoddy work can often be hidden behind a nice sheetrock job. It pays to know who did the work on your dream home. Unions build better.

New York City's iconic skyline conceals secrets that could spell financial ruin for real estate buyers. Beneath the luxurious facades of many new developments, hidden issues— the result of corner-cutting by non-union contractors— wait like time bombs ready to explode on new home buyers. Shortcuts taken to save a buck can morph into massive problems for uninformed home buyers. They could turn your dream home into a financial nightmare. We examine a few of the myriad pitfalls potential buyers need to be aware of. 


1. The Perils of Substandard Materials

The use of lower-quality construction materials is a common cost-cutting strategy that could end in catastrophe. Failures of critical materials could lead to costly repairs and undermine a building's safety. For example, if a non-union contractor saves a buck by using substandard concrete, it introduces the risk of structural instability and catastrophic failure. This exact scenario is suspected to have played a role in the problems at the Leaning Tower of Pizzarotti. Thankfully, the issues at that building were caught before residents moved in. The residents at Champlain Towers in Miami were not so lucky. To avoid potential disaster, choose union-built. Union contractors adhere to the rigorous standards, ensuring materials like concrete are of the appropriate grade to maximize the structural integrity and longevity of the building. 


2. The Cold Truth About Sub-Par Insulation

Insulation that is not properly installed or does not meet the recommended R-value can lead to higher energy bills and moisture-related structural issues. These issues are a silent drain on homeowners’ wallets. Fortunately, union contractors are leading the way on green, energy efficient building practices and materials, ensuring you’re getting the most for your money. If you want to avoid high energy bills, the choice is clear—  opt for union-built. 


3.  A Deluge of Financial Headaches

Shoddy plumbing work, or the use of compromised  steel piping or other materials, can result in pipe bursts, causing nightmares for occupants. Just ask the folks at Two Blue Slip, a non-union building in which the ceiling literally fell on residents heads as bursting pipes inundated units. Union contractors, equipped with specialized training and the highest quality materials, ensure your plumbing will withstand the test of time.

Just ask the folks at Two Blue Slip, a non-union building in which the ceiling literally fell on residents heads as bursting pipes inundated units.

4.  The Shocking Dangers of Shoddy Electrical Work

Poorly insulated electrical wiring can lay in wait for years before sparking dangerous electrical fires. This can be a matter of life and death for residents. But even if electrical issues don’t cause a deadly fire, the financial impacts of repairs can still be devastating. When it comes to electrical work, you’ll definitely want to go with the most highly trained and certified electricians— that means choosing a union contractor. 


5. The Right People For The Job

Reducing wage costs by assigning workers to tasks they are not trained to do is perhaps the most common— and most consequential— corner-cutting technique employed by non-union contractors. Do you want highly trained and certified tradesmen building your building? Or someone with a fake training card that barely knows their way around a jobsite?


For real estate shoppers, the choice is clear. Insist that your real estate agent inform you whether or not the building was built with union labor. Without asking the question, you risk getting the short end of the stick, helping line the pockets of non-union contractors while you pay top dollar for subpar quality. 


Mark Colangelo is a writer and blogger.

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