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Holmes on Homes on Holmes Approved Home

OK. I’ll admit I’ve always been a fan of Mike Holmes since seeing the first episode of Holmes on Homes. The mixture of anger, resolve, and a powerful moral drive that the world should have been better and people more honest is addictive to me. Add that to an industry which has generated the aura of a helpless homeowner at the knee of the contractor (and that’s not generated out of complete myth), and we have the making of a modern day knight.

And honestly, if the industry wasn’t as rife with incompetency, poor business practices and a history of poor performance – especially at the homeowner level, then the premise of his show would have never generated anything past a pilot episode. Instead, the show survived and Mike has since opened up a business umbrella for several products and services that run on the “honesty and trust” that he developed in the television show. Inspections, products, multiple TV shows, approved products, workwear, and most recent sustainable homes and communities – Holmes Approved Homes.

I’m a big fan of two things (1) Strong industry self-regulation and (2) A big hammer of regulation when self-regulation fails.

This would be a great attempt to build on the self-regulation side, with the creation of a set of standards that are followed and implemented in new building. The program indicates it adds 5-10% to the cost of the building to have a residence that is crafted under the Holmes Approved Homes system. And that sounds cheap if it delivers on its promises.

Having sat at the Alberta review of the Condominium Property Act for the last two years, all I heard from the developers was – any change to legislation would drive prices up so high, that housing would no longer be affordable. They painted scenarios where the costs would skyrocket with massive increases in even basic entry-level housing. At no time did I feel that the price increase that they expressed could be done on 5-10% increase.

So if we can see that real, sustainable, and importantly, trustworthy new development can be had for less than a 10% increase in costs, then I am all for that. I would champion this program.

As always, we do have a 10 year “testing phase” that the commitments made can be delivered, and I also believe that the delivery isn’t in the architecture and materials so much as it is in the physical construction and the quality of the trades. If the trades issue can be solved (based on the massive failings in new condominium developments from poor implementation) then we really have an inexpensive winner of a private building program.

Holmes’ Homes get celebrity inspection