reality tv

The difference between reality TV and reality

Today, straight from the Department of the Bleeding Obvious, a former contestant from The Block explained how renovating on TV isn’t quite the same as renovating your own home in real life. Shut the front door! Really? You can read that story here and this is what I wrote on the topic a little while back.

Back in the olden days before we met and life turned into non-stop unicorn meat with sparkle gravy for dinner, JD was involved in a reality TV renovation show. He’d originally been asked to audition for the host role (think Scott Cam) but they decided to go with someone younger (think Jamie Durie in his Backyard Blitz days). However, he got a call a couple of months later when the producers realised that they needed someone who could actually, you know, build. So, he grabbed his tool belt and headed for the bright lights of television as the site supervisor. What he found there did not leave him overly impressed.

What makes a good apprentice?

The building trade is one that’s based on the concept of apprenticeships and it’s a concept we fully support, having had numerous apprentices work with us over the past 20 years. Most apprentices come to us straight out of school but you can also join a trade as a mature-age student, which is what JD did. Sitting in a classroom full of 18 year olds was a bit of a shock to him after 10+ years in the corporate world!

 

Kim & Kanye #justlikeus

Honestly, when you think about it, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are just like totally normal people – going over time and over budget on a renovation. Just like us, they had to live with the in-laws for a while while work was happening (hi Kris!). And when that got too much (renovation timeline not going as planned) they moved into interim accommodation while work was still happening. I guess things got a little crowded at Kris’s place. And to top it all off, there were suggestions that Kanye’s VPB (very public breakdown) was caused in part by the stress of the renovation. Man, I hear you! Those things can be stressful!

project home

Why does a project home cost the same as a renovation?

If you’ve progressed any way at all down the renovation path, you would have discovered pretty quickly that it’s fairly easy to get to $250,000 without trying too hard. That kind of money will get you a ground-floor extension, but it might not cover re-doing your ensuite as well. Which is hard to understand when you flick through the Sunday papers and see page after page of project home after project home being offered for $250,000. That’s a four-bedroom, two-bathroom family home for the same price as a large living room and a kitchen reno. Whaaaaat?

 

Safety first: more than a catchy cliche

Crawling around under a house is not many people’s idea of a good time (once you’re over the age of 10, that is), but if you’re a builder, it’s just part of the job. It’s generally pretty dirty but otherwise relatively uneventful. Last week, however, on one of the 5to50 job sites, the crew came across a large funnelweb spider. While we do love working with a diverse range of customers, funnelweb spiders are not the top of the list and this unexpected interaction prompted a spider-specific Toolbox Talk. All the 5to50 carpenters carry First Aid kits but it’s also important to know where the nearest local hospital is and how you’re going to get there if required.

Sydney renovations

Who do you need on your renovating team?

 

If you’ve been playing along with The Builderette for a while, you know that I’m a big believer in a renovating or building project being a team effort. Everyone needs to be working towards the same goal and to the same game plan. If they’re not, that’s when things can go off track. And when things go off track in a renovation, it can get stressful and expensive pretty quickly. So, who do you need on your renovating team?

renovating

23 things that are more fun than renovating

 

You’ve heard me say it before, but undertaking a renovation or large building project (or sometimes even a small one) can be stressful. So I thought I’d put together a list of activities that are more fun than renovating just to, you know, take your mind off things.

 

  1. Stubbing your toe
  2. Getting a paper cut
  3. Coming back to your car to discover that you have a parking ticket
  4. Doing all your supermarket shopping and then realising, when you get to the checkout, that you don’t have your wallet

How to defy gravity

I heard a wonderful interview with engineer Bill Lawson on a podcast the other day (Richard Fidler’s Conversations) where he talked about how engineering is really the art of defying gravity. I thought this was such a wonderful way to describe a science that’s all about working out how to keep heavy things from collapsing. Which is something that builders are pretty interested in too.

 

we love small building jobs

Why we love small building jobs

 

When I first met JD about seven years ago, as a residential builder he was focussing on larger renovations and the occasional new, luxury home. Saw the movie, got the t-shirt. Now, our focus is on small building jobs and here’s why:

 

We like helping people

It’s true – JD really likes helping people come up with building solutions that are within their budget and that will add value to their lifestyle and/or their home. The solution to your problem may not be a big, expensive renovation, but that’s what a lot of builders prefer to work on. We like the smaller stuff.

renovate for profit

5 things I learned from my favourite TV renovator

Do you love property developer Sarah Beeney’s show Property Ladder? I do! Each week Sarah visits people who are determined to renovate for profit and equally determined to ignore any and all advice that Sarah (a successful, professional developer) has to give them. It’s one of those shows that literally has me howling at the TV! I’m not sure if it’s still being made but there are always re-runs on Foxtel. Ask me how I know!

 

Over many years of, ahem, research, here’s what I’ve learned about how to renovate for profit from Sarah Beeney.