Five contractors on backwater-valve roster
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.