I've been watching "Holmes on Homes" and "Tough as Nails" lately. The second one, in particular, seems packed with advice on how to run a business. Holmes, by contrast, points out what the weaker players are doing wrong.
Any thoughts? Real wisdom, or just prime-time pap?
Keep your eyes open for the newest Mike Holmes series "Holmes Inspection'. He goes in to a house after the home inspection has been done and has his crew fix what the inspectors missed.
It's in its first season here in Canada right now so it should be south of the border next year.
He has also started a home inspection service in two Canadian provinces. I am not sure if he is going to personally come with the crew and fix things if his "experienced, trained, reliable and fully independent professionals" screw up.
I think that "Tough as Nails" capitalizes upon a fairly small segment of the construction industry. It is very unrealistic to see any business in the industry today that can afford to focus upon the high quality that Cindy demands. While it is true that some customers may be willing to pay more for higher quality, the truth is that most of them don't have a clue. The "skin" of her finished product does indeed appear to exude perfection, but in paying attention to the items in the background, her demands aren't quite as far-reaching as the show has you believing. In a recent basement finishing episode, the CSST feeding a furnace looked so sloppy that I truly believe it was installed by Stevie Wonder.
Her show isn't really about construction. It is more about sensationalizing the fact that a woman runs a business in a traditionally male-only trade. I have nothing against this, but they go out of their way to focus upon her feminine side and her painfully unattractive daughter being her side-hand.
HGTV really does focus upon bringing women into what were male-only roles; from yard work to concrete foundations, they go out of their way to demonstrate that anyone can do it. Amy Matthews, DIY's informal spokesperson is always introduced as a "licensed contractor", again pushing the traditions envelope. Of course, these networks also focus upon putting men (well, people who look like males) into traditionally female roles such as interior design.
As for Mike Holmes, a similar issue remains. His projects are based upon an open check book. I'm sure that every contractor in every trade would love to provide a "picture-perfect" product. That is unheard of in construction today and has been so ever since we started building things.
Case in point: That orange sheet stuff that Mike insists upon with every tile floor. What is it? Would you even know it existed (or exists under your floor) if you hadn't specified it or saw it being installed?
His strategy of "Making it right" is a great idea, but nobody is willing to pay for anything more than basic code compliance. The only place you see big money being spent in construction is the $5,000.00 commercial kitchen ranges and $1,000.00 toilets. The stuff that you actually see.........
It is important to note that these home improvement shows are almost entirely funded by appliance and tool manufacturers. Their goal is to put their high-end products front and center for the general public, not the contractors. Shouldn't everyone have a Sub-Zero commercial refrigerator in their kitchen? Hey, they put one in a Habitat for Humanity home on TV, right?
The sad reality is that perfection demands a price that customers simply are not willing to pay. Unless you are willing to work more for less profit, these shows demonstrate an impossible accomplishment in the real world.
Don't get me started on "Extreme Makeover-Home Edition". That whole show is nothing but an advertising farce.
There have been several things that Mike Holms as pointed as code violations that were not. He made a big deal when he found 2 GFCI outlets daisy chained. Does the Canadian NEC prohibit 2 GFCIs in series? I also notice on his show, most panelboards are mounted horizontal. Is this the norm in Canada? These shows are the extreme. Some like the house flipping shows and DIY shows many times show unsafe and dangerous practices, such as lamp cords run to homemade light fixtures and tied to house wiring or fixtures installed without boxes. Or wiring done by people that should not pick up a hammer much less a pair of linemans pliers. Others like Mike Holms show, perfection with all high-end products and endless labor, doing a job only the very wealthy could afford.
If you want to get disgusted, go to the Hachi web site (home inspectors) and read what they think are "code violations" or unsafe things. If you call them on it they say they are not code inspectors and they are not required to know the code, then go on reporting code violations. I finally just stopped going there. My daughter and son in law paid one of these charlatans and he pretty much just defrauded them out of their money.
I like the HOH series because it seems like the work is done how it should be. Of course the budget for the fix seems to be way more than what the original job cost. I wish I could have someone screw up a 8k kitchen remodel and have HOH come in a fix it with a 40k budget. I used to work for someone that had a similar work ethic in that if it took some extra to make it right that is what he did.
I have to place some of the blame on the HO that contracts with someone that says they don't need permits or when thing start to get fishy they continue to let the work progress. Or when the HO goes with the bid that is way out of line with the other bids and thinks they will get a quality job.
I had hope for the show Renovation Realities, but quickly lost hope. I almost think that has to be staged when you see someone doing demo of a roof that they are standing under.
The thing that bothers me more than anything is when someone like Fuad Reves wires something up and only has 1" of free conductor in the box, or no connector. On one show someone ran flex slinky duct off of a downdraft stove into the knee wall and out to a vent Where is the technical oversight? If you are going to show someone how to do something do it right. If you don't know have someone that does know. I have even seen on This Old House where the electrician used pancake boxes with multiple cables in them. Come on, you are shown as licensed and still do this?