Having hardscape features added to your outdoor space is a great way to add beauty, functionality, and value to your home – especially when the material you chose for the project is natural stone. Stonework is an age-old craft that is as durable as it is unique. It’s also one that requires the skill of a professional to ensure that your hardscapes have the form and function you imagined. Hiring a professional hardscape contractor is essential for homeowners for many reasons in addition to skill and craftsmanship. Your hardscaper should also be licensed and have the right insurance coverage to safeguard both its employees and you, as a homeowner.
Are You Liable if Your Hardscapers’ Employees Are Injured on the Job?
It’s pretty common for homeowners to assume that when they hire a landscaper or hardscaper to do work on their property that their responsibility ends after the project design and cost are agreed upon. But there are situations that could arise during the construction in which you might have liability if something goes wrong. That’s why it’s important that you verify that your contractor is creating a safe workspace for their employees. If it isn’t, you might be liable as a homeowner. A licensed landscape contractor will make sure their employees are safe.
In North Carolina, it isn’t required that all landscapers be licensed. Some homeowners may believe that they are safe to hire unlicensed contractors, costing them less, because they have homeowner’s insurance that will cover any accidents that occur on their property. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. While having a homeowner’s insurance policy may reduce your out-of-pocket expenses in the event of an accident, you could still end up being financially responsible for injuries that occur.
Typically, homeowner’s insurance includes liability insurance in the policy. This will cover legal representation if you are sued, payment for legal judgments filed against you, and payment for accidents occurring off your property (for example, if an employee somehow damages your neighbor’s home or property while working on yours). However, most homeowner’s insurance policies only provide this coverage when a licensed contractor is being used. Talk with your insurance representative to what your policy covers and what your requirements and benefits are.
Licensed landscape contractors in North Carolina have to meet the requirements set by the NC Landscape Contractors’ Licensing Board. When you hire a contractor that is licensed, you’ll know that they are skilled, that they have obtained a surety bond to protect their customers, and that they have Workers’ Compensation insurance to protect their employees (in most cases). You should verify that they also carry liability insurance. This type of insurance covers any damage that happens to your property.
If you chose to hire an unlicensed hardscaper, and one of its workers is injured while working on your project, the court could find you liable for the accident and responsible for covering the worker’s medical expenses. You can see why it’s important to hire a contractor who is licensed and insured and who cares about employee safety.
Benefits of Hiring a Licensed Landscape Contractor
When you hire a licensed landscape contractor to install hardscape features in your yard, you can be assured that all the work being done is compliant with statutes and regulations pertaining to your location. Additionally, you’ll have peace of mind that all the correct permits have been obtained and that your projects will meet your local codes. Licensed landscape contractors not only have this knowledge but have also been tested on it to obtain licensure.
Another benefit of hiring a licensed landscape contractor is that you will know that your project is in the hands of craftsmen who are up to date with new processes, trends, and requirements, as continuing education is required for license renewal. These are landscapers and hardscapers who are committed to their trade and to providing quality work for homeowners.
Hardscaping is what we do at Ambrose Landscapes. We provide our clients in WNC with hardscape designs and construction that will enhance their outdoor living space, provide enjoyment for decades, and require little maintenance. Our natural stone craftsmen are more than hardscapers, they are truly artists who create pieces of art for you and your family to enjoy while always maintaining safe and compliant work environments.
When you hire Ambrose Landscapes to do your hardscaping, you can rest assured that we have skilled professional landscapers who have the expertise to create the features you envision. We highly value our talented craftsmen and the homeowners we work for. As such, we are dedicated to the safety of all of our employees, and to always maintaining safe workspaces for them. Feel free to ask to see our credentials and proof of insurance for any work we do for you.