Reno realities of real builds v’s TV shows

Go on, admit it.

You’re addicted to home reno TV programs… you know, The Block, My House Rules, Flip or Flop and anything else where people transform average (or less) homes, into amazing. But there’s one small hitch. That’s not reality.

Just like watching those shows doesn’t make you a pro DIY handyman, nor does it give you any idea about what to expect when you do your own renovation. Why? Because what you see is not what happens.

All that you see, is what’s left after it’s been edited down and packaged, for your entertainment. A lot of steps are left out in the name of that ‘entertainment,’ because they’d be kind of boring to watch. What they don’t show you, are the unexciting but irreplaceable bits – like the hours spent prepping, planning and getting approvals – nor do they show you the army of contractors and suppliers they’ve signed on to work immediately (no questions asked), so that everything can move forward without problems, for filming.

So what is the reality? TV reno programs are built around the drama of putting people and personalities under pressure – it’s not about showing you how to renovate your home, nor how long things really take.

And here’s three other things, that don’t happen in real life renos:

1. Time warps do not happen
Time compression doesn’t happen in a real build. Between plumbing, waterproofing, tiling and fixtures, an average size bathroom take 4-6 weeks to complete in a real life renovation. On TV, it all happens in a few days. That’s near impossible unless there’s a lot of people working extraordinary hours… which is what you don’t see on TV.

A real build schedule is built around known timings, because products and deliveries have lead times, tradies also have schedules to keep to on other jobs, and there are sequences in which work needs to be carried out.

2. Details don’t just ‘happen’
On TV, everything is already set up for the teams. They don’t have to research what renovations to make, draw up plans, consult engineers on structural issues, get estimates, choose contractors, research and select PC items, or get approvals – all of which can add months to a project.

However, in a real reno, all that work needs to be done, by you, and it’s essential to your renovation going smoothly.

3. Tradies don’t cohabit or sleepover
Builders contract specialist trades to complete your reno work. Each of those trades have their own schedules and can’t drop every other project they are working on, to run to your job or suit your changes in timing. Also, despite what you see on TV, multiple trades don’t cohabit a room to carry out their work – that’s a sure recipe for disaster and accidents. And finally, they don’t work into the night to get the job done by your deadline – that’s a fantasy.

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