Five con­trac­tors on back­wa­ter-valve ros­ter

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - THE HAMIL­TON SPEC­TA­TOR

The city has set­tled on five con­trac­tors for home back­wa­ter-valve in­stal­la­tions un­der its pro­tec­tive plumb­ing grant pro­gram.

The ros­ter of pre­qual­i­fied plumb­ing and drain con­trac­tors de­parts from an open field of businesses that home­own­ers could hire to in­stall the sewage-backup pre­ven­tion de­vices and re­ceive full re­im­burse­ment.

Late last year, a city au­dit ser­vices re­port dis­cov­ered prob­lems with the $2.5-mil­lion-a-year pro­gram, which of­fered grants of up to $2,000 to res­i­dents for valve jobs.

The re­port found some con­trac­tors had launched an un­ex­pected busi­ness model that had them team­ing up to get around a three­quote rule meant to keep rates com­pet­i­tive.

In­stead of home­own­ers seek­ing three in­de­pen­dent quotes, con­trac­tors worked to­gether through a sin­gle rep­re­sen­ta­tive to pro­vide ready­made cost es­ti­mates dur­ing sin­gle vis­its to res­i­dences.

In June, On­tario Con­trac­tors Net­work, which fol­lowed this model, was barred for­ever from plumb­ing jobs in the city af­ter of­fi­cials fielded com­plaints about poor-qual­ity jobs, in­com­plete work and ques­tion­able ad­ver­tis­ing prac­tices.

In March, staff pre­sented the ros­ter model as one of six ways to help elim­i­nate prob­lems.

The city plans to post to its web­site the five con­trac­tors pre­qual­i­fied for the tweaked pro­gram, which no longer re­quires three quotes.

They were cho­sen through a com­pet­i­tive ap­pli­ca­tion process, the city says.

The five who met a min­i­mum set of re­quire­ments and pro­posed the low­est price per back­wa­ter-valve in­stal­la­tion were se­lected.

Hamil­ton Sewer and Wa­ter Ser­vices Inc.: $1,221 Rooter Guys Inc.: $1,265 Dave Stokoe Plumb­ing: $1,290 The Plugged Piper Drain Ser­vice Inc.: $1,349

Tomel Me­chan­i­cal Con­trac­tors Ltd.: $1,350

The con­trac­tors have agreed to stick with those rates “and are not en­ti­tled to charge a higher price for that item,” the city says.

Cus­tomers who don’t use the ser­vices of the pre­qual­i­fied con­trac­tors are only el­i­gi­ble for a grant of $500 per in­stal­la­tion.

“The prop­erty owner shall be re­spon­si­ble for all costs in­curred that are not el­i­gi­ble for re­im­burse­ment through the pro­gram,” the city notes.

The pro­gram started in 2009.

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