Monday, March 28, 2011

Home Improvement



Part of what I do on any given day is consult for clients regarding what's possible and what's not in commercial and residential projects. Sometimes this includes complete building projects, and sometimes it just involves additions or office renovations.

Lately though, I have been called out more frequently to investigate and report on workmanship undertaken by unqualified personnel from anything involving plumbing and building to electrical and roofing.

Today's call was no different. One of the major banks who also happens to be a client, was in the process of repossessing a home in the northern suburbs of Jozi. The owner seemed to have run into financial difficulty and whilst in the middle of a renovation project, fired the contractor and hired guys off the street to complete the job. Nothing out of the ordinary there. It happens every day. The building council would have a collective heart-attack if they knew about the number of projects undertaken without certification out there.

Anyways, these guys off the street obviously had no idea what they were doing. So shoddy was there work, that they had the staff quarters sewerage outlet running into a corner of the garden. Full stop. No connection to the council sewerage mains. Nope. They simply had the sewerage pipe placed about 1 meter underground, in the corner of the garden.

As for the electrical connection to the staff quarters, they were too lazy to connect the proper cables around the pool, so they simply ran an illegal connection to the street light outside! This would have worked in ideal conditions, except that street lights only switch on at sunset, and only switch off at sunrise, which means the electricity to staff quarters only worked when the street lights were turned on. True story.

The report to the bank read like a crazy Hardy Boys novel.
No doubt with the recession biting hard into homeowners pockets, I'll be seeing a lot worse than this in the coming months.