Oakville Homes

September 26, 2013

Cowboy Builders – they exist and some have big names. Right Peter?


I’ve just returned from a very informative trip to England.  It was nice to see homes that have been around for a while – centuries to be exact.  Had a Guinness in a pub that was over 400 years old – the pub that is.  While there, I viewed a show called, “Cowboy Builders“.  Basically a show that helps people ripped off by bad builders.  Sort of like a Mike Holmes or Brian Baeumler type of show.

Major difference – they actually name the less than honest builders with pictures, company name and anything else that would identify them and help the consumer.  Brian and Mike are good at what they do and help consumers to learn what to look for but, they don’t name the bad builders.  That is up to the consumer to guess while watching the show.  I understand Mattamy has been showcased on at least one of Holmes’ shows. To be a true consumer advocate, they should name the builders who are not up to snuff.

But, it seems that the lawyers rule the roost.  Say anything and they try to send their kids through college or buy a bigger yacht on your dime.  They don’t seek the truth, just try to shut you up and help their client make more money without fear of being exposed for what they are.  Back in the day, you were apt to be persuaded to shut up with a bully boy but now, it is the threat of a lawsuit from some Bay Street lawyer.  Few people can actually afford to defend themselves in today’s court system.  Actually, Mattamy has tried both on me.

I have had correspondence with someone fighting another builder and they are having to pay quite a bit to get their story out there – a story even municipal governments don’t want printed.  Developers pay a lot of money into the political system and they want their monies worth.  Some people donate money to a good cause – without strings attached and then there are those that donate to ensure their name is emblazoned upon the edifice.  There was a large donor to the Oakville YMCA but there is nothing named after him.  He donated for the cause, not the advertising.

If I had seen a show like “Cowboy Builders” and noticed it was about a builder I was interested in, I would have second thoughts about buying.  Or, I would ensure I built in some protection.  I would be forewarned and able to make a more educated decision on what to do.

Our system is flawed.  It seems Tarion, dominated by builders/developers, has a poor reputation when it comes to protecting the consumer.  Our municipal building departments – who are charged with protecting the consumer and ensuring all facets of the (weak) building code are covered.  In Oakville, we have seen this fail.

Speaking of Oakville.  I have had communication with the Mayor and Building Department.  They have replied with nice letters that when you read between the lines, basically tell me to FO.  Yes, they quote me the scripture, according to the building code but take no responsibility for what they do.  According to them, they will act when a builder like Mattamy tells them they are ready.  What happened to a proactive enforcement program?  Personnel issues maybe?  If you are short numbers, then why not let homeowners hire house inspectors to monitor the build and report infractions to the building inspectors.  Why would you be frightened of this?  As a municipality, it would be quite legal for you to pass this bylaw.  The municipality is responsible for enforcing the building code and this would be one positive strategy to allow the municipality to complete this task.

I forgot – DONATIONS.  And don’t forget pre-election photo-ops.

I ask the Mayor of Oakville – why no apology from the Town of Oakville for putting my children at risk by allowing Mattamy to sell a house with illegal wiring?  What are you afraid of?  They can’t sue you for telling the truth.  Unless your lawyers are afraid of the truth.  A simple apology for the transgression.  Unless of course, your cash cow has told you that there will be no more money if you do it.  Get a back bone and stand up to the developer/builder and put it on the table.

Something honest people do.

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