There was no denying the game of construction was somewhat a mix of poker, chess and perhaps a touch of SNAP thrown into one, to create the industry as we know it.
Knowledge was owned by a few, shared by none and somewhere in between was a tone of systems and regulations that we expected would make sense if everything else failed. Ironically, it was only when things did not go to plan that we were forced to poke the Great Wall of China to see how real they were in fulfilling a job in ‘protecting us.’
So the phrase implies, “Rock bottom will teach you lessons that mountain tops never did.” It was only when everything goes off course and the train derails, that you find yourself in a rabbit warren wondering the point of governing bodies when they could not directly enforce the change we needed to see.
“Rock bottom will teach you lessons that Mountain Tops never did”
It has been reported that in Queensland alone, subcontractors lose $500 million per annum from builders going broke.
“That’s just the way it is”, we were told. So why is that?
Was it a lack of business acumen?
Was it the shame so frequently attached to failures that cause us to bury our heads and not seek the help that was necessary?
Was it intricately linked to the fact that construction had one of the highest suicide rates out of any other sector? We certainly thought so.
But when you pulled apart the systems as such from housing industry bodies, to licenses, it was evident just how broken the system was/is!
How was it possible for you to have a license in ONE state, yet be suspended in another?
Were we a society that was that avoidant of common sense?
Sure, as a builder I have been suspended in ONE state because someone believes I have stuffed up. But no worries, I will get a license in the next state and carry on from there.
Because that makes sense right?
How about abandoning a site?
Well technically, if I showed up on-site once a month, maybe even once over the course of TWO months, then I could still claim possession of your site as according to the boundaries set, I was still deemed to be ‘working’, despite no progress.
Therefore, as a builder, I own your site!
Again, that makes sense, doesn’t it?
There were people exploiting the system, and the sad reality was that the hands of the consumers were tied. But all we were witnessing, again and again, was how broken the system really was in protecting the residential consumers, the clients who needed it most! Your grandparents, who saved their entire life, sacrificed what they had to provide, only to have the savings they acquired with a little money to invest to get ahead… That’s who was suffering here!
Was it fair that we merely accepted “That’s just the way it is?”
Was it fair that we set up systems to look like we had a handle on things that really, made no logical sense?
Was it up to the private sector to take over the licensing of the industry to perhaps generate something a lot more logical and fair? Because telling people “that’s just the way it is” was no longer going to keep a $134 billion industry afloat with a charming reputation when really, it felt more like a scene in a western movie!
Buyers Agent, Simon Pressley said that the federal government needs to step in to commission a new independent department to design a comprehensive building star-rating system.
“The absence of good hygiene within the construction sector – that is, prudent quality control – over the past two decades has resulted in a deplorable quality of workmanship, primarily within Australia’s mass-produced dwellings in our biggest cities,” Pressley said.
It was one thing if you were sheltered by the walls of a large corporation, as chances are you wouldn’t see much of this. But start heading your way to the top and you will soon see how far the fall truly is.
It wasn’t always pretty and there were many cracks in the cement! But calling out an illogical system that continues to tell people “that’s just the way it is,” surely had to conclude at some point for the sake of the next generation we were seeking to support.
Written by Tamika Smith
Founding Director – TSR Property Solutions
Founder & Executive Chair – Top 100 Women
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images