How do we trust the safety of our lives when we lack accountable licensing oversight?

To the Editor:
Anticipating the increase in noise pollution for homes along the streets adjoining Western Avenue, I recently sought to purchase an upscale window with three levels of glass and blinds between the windows to soften the exterior sound measurement for a bedroom window.

At the time of the order and deposit, I requested and it was agreed in writing that the vendor would obtain the building permit from the town of Guilderland to be certain that the new bedroom window met egress codes.

In my opinion, I felt that I could not go to town because I have not found the Guilderland Building and Zoning Department to be reliable. I wanted to be sure that the window would be egress compliant, that it would be safe for me, future residents, and emergency personnel. I wanted to be sure the window met codes.

Other towns in New York require bedroom windows be up to today's egress fire code and installed in older homes prior to a re-sale. It's a good law considering children who cannot advocate for themselves are often sleeping in upstairs bedrooms in older homes without egress-compliant windows. It is an easy law to follow because you can recoup the cost of the code-compliant windows in the price of the home.

About two weeks after the sizable deposit check cleared, the installation coordinator emailed me with a delivery and installation date.  However, the vendor had not applied for the permit.

It’s unimaginable that the home-improvement contractor as step one did not apply for the permit. In other counties of New York, such as Westchester and Rockland, and in New York City, the trades need to be licensed with their counties to protect homeowners. The trades are also required to keep up their licenses and continuing education. Not Albany County; they do not require trade licensing.

Watching the limo trial of Mr. [Nauman] Hussain made me cancel the window order. I didn’t want to be put in a situation in the future, heaven forbid, of a fire and they roll back looking to blame a previous owner to try to allege it was a homeowner’s fault when I would have been trusting a permit and a window-replacement vendor. Mr. Hussain made a tragic wrong decision no doubt but where was the accountability of the vendors for vehicle safety inspection?

How do we trust the safety of our lives when decisions we make fail us by not having simple processes in place such as trades licensing? We can’t make good decisions when the people we are trusting with our lives and our homes lack accountable licensing oversight. Albany County leadership, do better for residents.

Christine Duffy


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