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AU Builder warns of costly reality of show-based home renovations

Property Here - Saturday, April 20, 2013

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DODGY reality television-inspired DIY renovations could wipe tens of thousands of dollars off home values, cause potential health risks and make homes structurally unstable, a building expert has warned.

Association of Building Consultants life member and spokesman Chris Short said reality renovation shows like The Block All StarsThe Renovators and the upcoming House Rules were very influential and gave viewers the impression that "with a weekend's work and a couple thousand dollars of stuff from a hardware store they can add $50,000 worth of value to their house".

Mr Short said DIY work was easily recognised by experienced building inspectors.

"When the shortcomings in the building are pointed out to the purchaser it's not uncommon for them to come to the conclusion that the amount of money involved in undoing this handyman work, which can be up to $20,000 or $50,000 ... is not worth spending," he said.

"For new buyers, it cripples them both financially and emotionally because they've bought what they thought was their dream home and it's turned out to be a nightmare and they're saddled with it.

"We are seeing a lot of it now ... it will turn from a trickle into a stream into a flood in the next few years because the methods that DIY shows promote are cosmetic fixes and almost never address a structural issue and sometimes introduce a problem that wasn't there before."

Mr Short said it was important people seek expert advice before starting a job and should always use the correct materials, particularly if working in wet areas.

"Putting new tiles over old tiles in a shower can trap moisture in the sub-floor area and that is conducive to termite infestation ... and that leads to structural instability."

He said people needed to take care when removing or working with old vinyl floor tiles as many contained asbestos.

The Block All Stars winner Amity Dry said she and husband Phil Rankine received expert help on the show and said DIY renovations can be dangerous.


you want to make sure the job is done properly so the house is sound for yourself and other people who are going to buy it, particularly in areas like electricity and plumbing," she said.

nte"The shows do make it look easy but most people realise there are a lot of qualified tradespeople behind the scenes helping out," she said.

"If it's a simple thing, get advice from your local hardware store ... but if it's something like electrical or plumbing or structural work or anything potentially dangerous you're definitely better off paying an expert."

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