Our guest columnist – Con Constantine – will present readers with a cleverly written send-up and an ironic imitation of the building industry.
Con hopes that by enjoying his articles – you will learn about the building industry and not fall into carefully concealed traps that can be costly, stressful and time-consuming.
Con strongly supports the concept of ‘buyer beware’ but at UltraCon Constructions – its more about what he doesn’t say!
Bonjour and welcome back –
Why the French Hello – and welcome back.
Each year UltraCon Constructions launches a brand-new Dream Home and this year’s is our Deluxe Versailles Dream Home – complete will antique treasures that may well – or may not – fund your retirement. More of this later in this month’s editorial.
In January – I mentioned that I had a teeny-weeny-yellow-polka-dot-bikini reconciliation with my estranged brother George – CEO and COE of Shark Infested Waters Inc.
George is in the building industry as you have probably guessed by his appropriately named business but George and I have been estranged because we had an argument over building defects some years ago. We could not agree to disagree – hence our years of silence.
I needed some help shortly after Christmas and there was no one else I could turn too so I ate a large slice of Mrs. Constantine’s Fruit Flan – Humble Pie on this occasion – and called George.
My dilemma was as follows…
Those of you who have been my loyal band of followers since day one will know that UltraCon Construction’s moto is Opus Cito – Work Swiftly – and all members of all my subsidiaries do just that.
My Building Surveyors have this drummed into them at our weekly meetings which only last about 15 minutes – they must uphold my moto and Optus Cito.
What this means practically is that each Building Surveyor has a list of builds to inspect on a daily basis. They all drive vehicles from Rent-A-RustBucket with my portrait sticker on the rear window and I have now added a bumper sticker to each vehicle which says ‘Honk if you love your UltraCon Dream Home’.
My Building Surveyors tell me people constantly honk at them which fills me with pride and joy! My only rule is that my Building Surveyors do not give the New Zealand Peace Sign out the driver’s window as a thank you for people’s enthusiasm for their Dream Homes.
The faster the Building Inspectors go – the better. They drive past the properties at great speed and because they are all so good at their jobs – they can tell in a fleeting second if all is well with the builds. Also – they know if they have time up their sleeves at the end of the day – they can take the Rent-A-RustBuckets for a leisurely drive to a favourite destination.
The down side of all of this is that the strong arm of the law knows my Building Inspectors are on the job and they get great delight in issuing speeding fines.
Up until the end of last year – Mrs. Constantine was more than happy to accept demerit points on her licence – as I was – but we both ran out of space so I had to think of someone who would be happy to take some demerit points.
George could hardly refuse because in return – I have offered him a defect-free Versailles Dream Home complete with French treasures that are his to keep or sell.
The outcome is win/win. Mrs. Constantine and I can still drive with impunity – my Building Inspectors can continue to do their jobs – swiftly. Brother George has sadly now lost his Licence for 3 months but he is so thrilled with his Versailles Dream Home that he is happy ride his bike in the meantime.
As you all know – I have a fragile relationship with Inspector Mike Heathcote and that I secretly hope that people will hopefully see the folly in Building Defects so Inspector Mike will have to pedal on his tricycle to his ever diminishing jobs.
Mon dieu – the opposite is true so I hear!
Between Inspector Mike and his termite detecting Border Collie – Ace – business is booming and another service has been added to the Building Masters menu.
I actually think Ace finds most of the Building Defects but Inspector Mike is too proud to admit this!
When Inspector Mike completes his inspection and returns to his luxury mobile office to tappety tap on the computer to produce his Building Defect Report – complete with happy snaps of what he considers defects – he has a Negotiation Service which he offers his clients.
I actually can understand why Inspector Mike’s clients don’t want a confrontation with Real Estate Agents who have all passed the ‘Blind Eye’ course with flying colours. As I say – they should ‘ave gone to UltraCon’s Unreal Real Estate Agency!!!
Anyhow – based on the Defect Report and the cost of repairs therein – Inspector Mike will negotiate with the Real Estate Agents on behalf of his clients – to buy the property at the right price.
Again – as I say they should ‘ave purchased an UltraCon (Defect Free) Dream Home and never had the encounter with Inspector Mike et al.
I mentioned earlier about the Versailles Dream Home complete with French antique treasure.
I have recently met a charming French artisan who can produce a Marie Antoinette chair overnight. His name is GreenGnome Sac-Du-Mains and he is famous in Europe for adding/subtracting to the French heritage and culture.
I like to take people on face value – as I hope they take me – so GreenGnome and I have gone into business with UltraCon’s Versailles Dream Home.
As you know I do not lock my Dream Homes so if I am lucky enough to have had members of the Vandal family taking up residence prior to the Dream Homes being sold – the houses come complete with art work.
The Vandals have a kind of laissez fair approach to painting and to the untrained eye – the art work could look discombobulated but it is a perfect backdrop to GreenGnome’s French antique furniture.
The purchasers of the Versailles Dream Home will get a framed certificate from GreenGnome authenticating the antique furniture as French National Treasures.
Whilst I am in French mode – I want to talk about another so-called Building Defect according to Inspector Mike.
I just love anything and everything faux – as does Mrs. Constantine. All Mrs. Constantine’s Gucci, Pucci, Cutsy handbags are all Faux – or so she tells me to keep me happy! The faux bags certainly cost me a pretty penny but so do Faux Weatherboards.
I love the Faux Weatherboard look – each board is symmetrical and perfect and looks like one of my tradies – Pete who manages my subsidiary Pete’s Impeccably Imperfect Painting Service – has run his faux bristle paint brush over each one with meticulous attention to original preparation and priming.
According to Inspector Mike – house exteriors lined in part aluminium/PVC/vinyl faux weatherboards sheet material are subject to moisture being trapped and the original timber boards and wall framing deteriorating. Inspector Mike – shock horror – usually recommends removal of the faux weatherboards.
The next thing Inspector Mike will be recommending is that the faux French national treasures be removed from UltraCon’s Versailles Dream Homes!! Not if GreenGnome and I have our wicked way!!!
The sooner Inspector Mike realises he is no match for me – the sooner we can get together over a cuppa and a slice of Fruit Flan and put this crazy notion of Building Defects to rest.
When this happens – I will give Inspector Mike a Marie Antoinette chair and a holiday in one of my Versailles Dream Homes!!!
Meanwhile – Inspector Mike will continue to talk incessantly about Concrete Spalling, Roof Sarking, Gutter and Downpipe Rust, Roof Ridge Tile Cement Pointing, Unprotected Timber Stumps, Efflorescence and so on and so forth ad infinitum!!
I am now going to sit down – have a cuppa with Mrs. Constantine and talk about this year’s LBGTI Festival which is to be held in Madrid. Mrs. Constantine is in the process of designing her float for the big parade and her costume as a Flamenco Show Girl! Gulp!!!
Mike Heathcote is the founder of Building Masters Inspections and a veteran builder with decades of experience. Utilising his industry knowledge, Mike and his team of experienced Builders provide an Inspection Service offering expert opinion on the true condition of buildings, including estimated repair costs, helping home buyers find their perfect property, Melbourne wide.