When actress Joanne Peh posted an Instagram post hinting that she had been scammed by contractors, many netizens stepped forward in the comments, sharing similar stories that sparked debate.
But, are all entrepreneurs bad eggs? As the saying goes, there are always two sides to a story.
For interior design firm Goodman Interior, they told AsiaOne on Wednesday, November 24, that things haven’t really gone smoothly for the industry.
They shared the hardships they continue to face while running an interior design business in the midst of a pandemic – but also acknowledged “black sheep” stories in this industry.
The company pointed out that interior designers are responsible for managing the overall renovation projects, which include design work and project coordination with various contractors. Meanwhile, the latter are more focused on specific areas, such as tiling and electrical work.
Shortage of workers
Since the onset of Covid-19, the industry has faced a shortage of workers due to border restrictions and dealing with criticism from owners when projects are delayed, said Goodman Interior’s director of business development, Dawn Tan.
Additionally, the 47-year-old added that some materials would take a bit longer to arrive and cause delays on some sites.
“Last month, a major materials supplier in Singapore had 20 workers who contracted Covid-19 in the dormitory, which delayed installation at many job sites.
“These are the frustrations and challenges that we and the owners are currently facing,” she told AsiaOne.
Lack of trust between owners and contractors
A major problem is the lack of trust between contractors and owners which leads to poor communication when both parties convey their expectations, according to Tan.
“Owners’ expectations for manufacturing are often the [main issue].
“For example, some manufacturing and installation methods are based on market practice, but some homeowners may have different perspectives and expectations because design concepts differ from person to person,” a- she declared.
Sometimes the lack of trust between homeowners and interior designers can also be a stumbling block.
“We have already had a delay in shipping some materials due to the pandemic, which has delayed our schedule. Although we tried to explain the situation to the owners, they felt we were using the pandemic as an excuse. “, she added.
To mediate such disputes, the company does its best to be as transparent as possible about working hours and anticipates the owners of any possible delays.
“Black sheep” in industry
Addressing the elephant in the room, Tan said, “We hear stories of ‘black sheep’ in this industry who may not be performing their duties with due diligence.
“In such cases, we advise homeowners to use trustworthy contractors and interior designers, such as those recommended by friends and family,” she added.
Shady contractors aside, Peh also mentioned in a comment on her original post that she wanted there to be some form of regulation, so that there was “more transparency to protect homeowners.”
“It’s our home, a place that gives us peace and protection but it’s just another project for them,” lamented the actress.
Echoing this point of view, Tan said, “It would be nice if there was a regulatory framework in place in this industry to foster a more disciplined profession. However, transforming this industry is not easy, due to the nature of the work. There are simply too many complex factors to consider.
While there are currently none, one possible way for homeowners to ensure that their contractor is reliable is to seek out contractors who have been awarded the CaseTrust accreditation for renovation companies.
Another tip is to sign a contract with the renovation contractor, and read the terms and conditions carefully to understand your rights and obligations.
Homeowners who find themselves in conflict with contractors may turn to mediating bodies or organizations, such as the Consumers Association of Singapore (Business) and the Association of Singapore Real Estate Developers to resolve these disputes.
Tan reiterated that their goal was not to add fuel to the fire, but simply to raise awareness that it was not easy either.
She said: “We hope the public [will] be aware of the challenges we also face in the renovation industry. There are good and professional ones. ”