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!
Greetings again and welcome back –
I have been extremely busy since my last column which was just prior to the Spring Racing Carnival.
My horse did come home thanks to the jockey – cousin Vinnie. I had a quick word to Vinnie before he was invited to the podium with members of the racing glitterati to be congratulated on his win and, of course, to be interviewed.
Public speaking is not a talent about which Vinnie would boast but onto the podium, he went – grinning from ear to ear. The crowd had no idea what was on Vinnie’s mind but I did – it was his debt and defect free UltraCon Constructions Dream Home which he would be proudly calling home in a couple of months.
Vinnie was asked to say a few words and he told the crowd he couldn’t have done it with his cousin – Con Constantine – and at that point – the sky was snowing UltraCon Constructions business cards. I organised a flyover with the pilot dropping thousands of my business cards over the racecourse – like confetti.
Sadly – Inspector Mike Heathcote didn’t have such a salubrious end to the Spring Racing Carnival.
Inspector Mike’s horse must still be running so he lost his $10 each way bet and the Building Masters marquee caught fire. There was a group of Real Estate agents standing in front of the huge magnifying glass façade – obviously unaware of sun physics – waiting for Inspector Mike to emerge to challenge him about building defects and the subsequent sabotage of many sales.
For all intents and purposes – these Real Estate Agents looked impeccably dressed but many of the suits had a plastic component – obviously ‘reduced for quick clearance’!
Sun physics were at their best on this occasion and when the suits started to singe – burning embers flew into Inspector Mike’s marquee and the whole structure went up in flames.
Mike emerged from the marquee incredulously watching the Real Estate Agents being hosed down by the fire brigade’s hire pressure hoses with a few left standing in their branded underwear surrounded by rings of plastic on the ground – highly inflammable suits.
At this time every year, Inspector Mike announces the winner of the Worst House of the Year Award and this year’s house is worthy of discussion.
Needless to say – if client Daphne had considered purchasing an UltraCon Constructions Dream Home – she never would have met Inspector Mike and had to endure the building inspection process and been completely demoralised and devastated when she received her Building Inspection Report stating the recommendation that the house was unhealthy and unsafe to occupy and that the house should be demolished by a licensed asbestos removal contractor.
To go back – Daphne contacted the Real Estate Agent selling the property. The Agent gave her many guided tours of the property waxing lyrical about potential, potential, potential. The Agent took her out for coffee after each visit to the property in his you-beaut, turbocharged prestige car.
Daphne was impressed when the Agent turned up each time in a different you-beaut, turbocharged prestige car thinking the Real Estate Agency must have had a car-sharing policy making a very clear statement about their commitment to reducing carbon emissions.
Each time Daphne raised the issue of possible issues – the Agent turned every stumbling block into a stepping stone.
Blind Freddie could see evidence of past and present termite damage on the exposed interior and exterior wood members. My reaction would have been – given that I am a committed Jainist – live and let live and build more freeways so the termites can get around easily and not disturb the residents of the house. The presence of termites gives the wood the much sort after, flavour-of-the-month, authentic rustic look.
The house had a problem with water under the house due to the hot water pressure relief overflow being directed to the house footings. Nothing wrong with this – add a breeze in the summer and you have instant evaporative cooling. It is also an added bonus for vegetation growing nearby – no need for irrigation systems around the house.
The power supply was limited to a number of power and light circuits and may not support the use of multiple devices. Again – nothing wrong with this – save on power by going out to internet cafes to eat and use devices. A candlelit house is so romantic and we all look better when we are not seated under bright lights.
Ah – the omnipresent issue of asbestos raises its head again.
Inspector Mike’s opinion was that the exterior wall lining sheet material may contain a form of asbestos.
The exposed side of the asbestos sheet within the wall void space would be abraded by dust and breeze resulting in particles of asbestos entering the property interior through vents, cracks and gaps which is considered dangerous for the occupants of the house.
The Real Estate Agent told Daphne – who has ‘Clean Disease’ – that the so-called dust in the house was due to the fact that it had been vacant for a couple of months. The Agent said he would organise his cleaner to come in and give the house the once-over. This service would be ‘on the house’ – a Christmas present.
The Agent was relishing the thought of separating Daphne from her – in excess of $400.000 – the commission from which would be his Christmas present but Daphne infuriated him by telling him Inspector Mike would need to come and give his tick of approval – or not.
The remainder of the story is history with Inspector Mike saving Daphne from purchasing his nominated – Worst House of the Year.
I could continue to talk about the rusting roof, the collapsing shed and the pergola which doesn’t comply with NCC framing regulations and obviously built without a permit, the exposed and dangerous electrical wiring and so on – but Mrs. Constantine and I are heading off to the Fruit Flan of the Year awards night which is a huge event on our social calendar.
Mrs. Constantine will get the opportunity to meet and greet fellow Fruit Flan enthusiasts in a non-combative way. There are strict protocols for the evening which include no discussions about Fruit Flan recipes which will minimise the occurrence of a brawl and the involvement of the mounted constabulary.
I will work the room in my inimitable style – hand out business cards and look forward to continuing prosperity throughout 2019.
I wish the same for you in 2019 – thank you for your company this year.
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.