Monday, November 19
DIY

Cut costs at your peril

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Trying to do things cheaply invariably leads to poor workmanship

This week I was taken out for lunch by an old friend, Dave Forman. Dave is now 83, but he is still at the office by 7.30am every day.

One of the first series of articles I wrote was about aluminium windows and getting real value for money, because there are aluminium windows and there are aluminium windows. Dave spent many hours with me when I was doing those articles and I believe he is still the most knowledgeable person on the subject.

His company, Metal Window Services, is more than 60 years old. They have a winning formula, which is to supply only the best possible product – which, of course, comes at a price – but they never compromise.

They deliver only what they believe in. Fortunately, there are still clients who want only the best and are prepared to pay for it. Yes, that market is getting smaller as we are all forced into cost-cutting, but if you want something that is going to last you will have to pay top dollar. I see more and more cases of bad building as people look for any possible savings. 

We are all digging a pit for ourselves. With this policy, bad workmanship becomes the norm and this below-standard norm becomes acceptable to Joe Average. These days I am being shown work that both client and contractor think is excellent, but compared to what was being produced 15 years ago, it is rubbish.

Try working for a European client and then you realise how far our standards have dropped. There are clients who still expect tolerances of only a couple of millimetres. So, while everyone else is looking to save cents, Dave is now looking at a new top-of-the-range product from a Belgium-based company called Raynaers, which is offering products Dave reckons knocks spots off our local products.

I remain confused as to where we are heading as a country. We have the continual doom and gloom of the news, offset by the sight of many luxury estates being built, new office blocks and shopping centres going up and existing shopping centres being refurbished.

The problem is we are driving on overcrowded and poorly maintained roads to get to these developments, which in many cases are being badly built with inferior materials. So, 10 out of 10 to Dave for refusing to compromise.

*Handy Mac, aka Don MacAlister, is our expert on household DIY issues. If you have a question for him, please send it to don@macalister.co.za or SMS only to 082 446 3859. Find Don on FB: Like us on Facebook

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