Jorge Milanes Despaigne
HAVANA TIMES — Just about anyone will tell you here that they’re an experienced builder. You only need to have some construction materials lying around the house for someone to show up and offer you their services.
“If you need a builder, just call me,” a neighbor who recently moved onto our block tells me.
It’s a good offer, but I haven’t been able to see the quality of his construction work. He may be the best builder out there, but, as my grandmother used to say, “seeing is believing.”
He is obviously looking for work, but, what price will I end up paying for his “work”? I don’t know.
A great many builders who have many years of experience are self-employed. Some have proper authorization and quite a number of others do not. The latter do not have a building license and depend on the recommendations of friends – or on how much of a risk you’re willing to take by hiring them without having first seen their work.
If you get the chance to see them “in action” somewhere and decide to hire them (because you like the work they do), well, so be it. But, even then, you can’t be too careful, as you still run the risk of having much of your building materials sold by that builder.
“You know, the other day I became suspicious of the builder who’s working at my place,” my neighbor Sainy tells me. Like me, she is repairing her home.
“I got so upset over some things that weren’t very clear to me that I decided I had enough and told him to leave. That same afternoon I confirmed my suspicions. An elderly man came to the house and told me he had come to pick up 10 bricks that the owner had offered him. He added that, at the time, he didn’t have the money but he had asked him to set them aside, and he had now come to get them. I looked him straight in the face as he described the builder who’d been working in my house.”
“I’m telling you this so you take precautions and the same thing doesn’t happen to you!” she said to me.
This is one case in point. There are thousands of people who haven’t even noticed the theft of their materials. After they’ve bought them at a construction site and personally taken them home, these vanish right in front of them. Luckily, my neighbor was able to sense the man was stealing, but, does she know how long he’d been selling materials for?
I know I have to be extra careful. My neighbor’s experiences and my other neighbor’s offer are enough to be on guard.