- Jul 21 2021
- By Admin
- 0 Comments
Yes I Can Director Richard Dargham has spoken out against the NSW government’s snap two week closure of the state’s multibillion dollar building industry.
Last Saturday morning (July 17), building and construction companies were given just 36 hours to lock down current work sites and make them safe, although effectively it was only a few hours notice, as tradies do not work on Sundays.
“It’s not as simple as just closing down all the construction sites….that’s not how it works,” Richard said on Tuesday.
“There are so many issues here that are not being addressed by the government, nor the media.
“I am speaking out on behalf of my customers (homeowners), on behalf of tradies and on behalf of building companies as what has happened is just not right.
“This morning I spoke on air with (Radio 2GB’s) Ray Hadley and I had to be really mellow in what I said as I didn’t want to be perceived in the wrong light.
“But the video I have subsequently released and also this statement have given me the opportunity to put everything into perspective and address it accordingly.
“There is no way the government should have made the snap lockdown order on Saturday morning, giving companies next to no time to make construction sites safe.
“My company is currently working on 15 jobs and some of them I can hold off on as they’re not urgent.
“But I have one customer for example who is forking out hundreds of dollars a day living in an Air BNB while we are working on his bathroom so obviously the faster we can complete the work, the sooner he can move back home.
“Now he has to fork out for at least two weeks more than he had budgeted for.
“Originally, the Premier said the lockdown would only be 14 days; now she has extended it again and not once since the COVID lockdown orders were first introduced in early 2020 has the government ever stuck to the timeframe.
“Closing down the building industry means a lot of money lost, a lot of stress and a lot of people will sink into depression.
“I am all for keeping my customers safe and I am a team player.
“I’m not a conspiracy theorist who says the government is lying to us….I look at hard facts.
THE HARD FACTS
“Just in terms of my own company, I outlay $60,000 or thereabout every month on advertising.
“I get 10-15 leads every day as a result of this advertising and it takes between 4-6 weeks for my customers to ‘convert’ (from the time the enquiry is received, for the quote to be done and for the customer to decide to go ahead and to pay their deposit.)
“So even if the ban on building and construction is lifted after the two weeks, this will have put me six weeks behind.
“And if I am not able to visit people’s homes to quote on jobs, who is going to compensate me for the $60,000 in wasted advertising revenue for the month?
“How am I going to do 300 quotes when the economy opens – it’s just not possible.
“Yes I Can Renovations is as safety compliant as I can make it – we have QR codes on all our job sites, we supply hand sanitiser at all our jobsites and to all our tradies.
“All our tradies must sign in and they must wear face masks so we are doing everything in our power to be compliant.
“We give regular updates on everything to all our customers and to all our staff to keep them all in the loop and our project managers ensure that the COVID safety rules are enforced.
“I mentioned earlier a customer whose bathroom has been completely stripped and he is now forking out money living in an Air BNB while we work on his property and now we are unable to complete the job until the ban is lifted.
“Who is going to compensate this customer for his loss or is it classified as urgent enough for us to go and finish it?
“I have another client whose property we stripped out last Friday, then we were actually with the customer discussing plans for the following week and talking about variations and damage we had found when the lockdown announcement came through on Saturday morning.
“(Premier) Gladys (Berejyklian) did not even give us time to lock down sites properly!
“Tradies don’t work on Sundays, making it impossible for sites to be safely and correctly locked down in a few, short hours.
“If this announcement had been made earlier in the week, we would not have even started that job.
“That’s stupid….if you’re going to announce something as big as shutting down the entire building industry, why would you not do it on a Monday because it would have given companies four or five days to act on the information.
“It would have given us enough time to do what we had to do….to make the electricals safe, to make the plumbing safe.
“In the job I am specifically referring to, because we had to leave in a rush, the hot water heater ‘blew up’ as one of the valves stopped working.
“Water sprayed all over the electricals and then the customer had no water for the entire Saturday night so on Monday morning I had to arrange for some emergency tradies to go out there and fix things.
“And then you find that most tradies don’t want to even do the emergency repairs because they are scared of Gladys!
“This poor customer I’m talking about – has half an open house and it’s winter….the only thing separating her living area and the demolition area is a cavity sliding door which is very difficult to secure and doesn’t prevent the breeze from coming in during this cold weather.”
BIG PROBLEMS FOR BIG PROJECTS
Richard then raised the subject of the bigger building sites, with multi-pour concrete requirements.
“If you leave half a concrete pour to cure for 14 days, and then you add the other half to it later on, it is no longer one slab and will crack as the two have cured at different times.
“And what about the timber framing that’s just gone up for residential properties – you can’t leave that exposed for 14 days, so who is going to pay for the repairs?
“And waterproofing….I have two bathrooms which we waterproofed before the lockdown.
“Waterproofing cannot remain exposed for 14 days so for me to get this fixed, does it classify as an emergency?
“I have made a decision today to stand up for my customers and stand up for what is right.
“If a customer is an emergency, I will be sending my guys out.
“They will have been tested, they will be wearing masks and they will have QR codes but then after seeing what’s been going on in the media, who knows what the police are going to say to them?
“That’s nothing against the police – they are just doing their job – but if the government is going to bring out an order this big, at least put some foresight into it and at least hire a professional who is in the industry who can give you the ins and outs of the industry and alert you to the pitfalls involved in such a huge decision.
“There was a woman on the news the other night complaining that she could not get her benchtop done and Gladys responded that she classified this as an emergency….how is a benchtop an emergency!!
“Usually the HIA and the Master Builders Association – both of which I’m a member of – will put out press releases to clarify any grey areas when laws get changed but there are so many loopholes, so many uncertainties and so many unknowns that even they cannot clarify it for us.
“You call Fair Trading and ask 10 different people and you get 10 different answers!”
SOCIAL MEDIA ALARMISTS
Richard went on to call out the “idiots” who post videos on social media suggesting that “COVID tests kill people because of the stuff they sterilise the testing kits with”.
“Do some research before putting out false information as peoples’ livelihoods are at risk and people are going through depression and psychological pain because of your stupidity.
“As for the tradies who think that a COVID test is going to kill them – at least do your own research, don’t just be a sheep or follow some alarmist blindly.
“The product used to sterilise the COVID test packaging is the same product that is used to sterilise most things in hospitals so if you’ve ever had surgery or ever been jabbed with a needle, the sterilising would have been exactly the same.
“Where do I stand? I have tradies who don’t want to do a COVID test because they believe in conspiracy theories….and I have a customer with half a house missing!
“I’ve got customers who are forced to work from home with no kitchens, no bathrooms, no nothing; their kids have to study from home….and I am sitting here copping it from every angle!
“Half our suppliers are closed even if I wanted to go back to work!
“Who’s paying my staff?
“So Gladys, next time you do something like shutting down the building industry, which as you know is the biggest decision you’ve made since COVID started, at least have a payment relief package that helps.
“Half the tradies aren’t even eligible for your COVID disaster relief package and if they go on Centrelink, they receive $600 a week when the average tradie’s livelihood is based on wages of $1,500-$2,500 per week, if not more.
“They’re got bills, they’ve got insurance, they’ve got public liability, they’ve got repayments on their vehicles, they’ve got WorkCover – is this going to be stopped or are they going to have to continue to pay for it?
“They’ve got home loans; companies like mine have warehouses and offices and showrooms, what happens then?
“I went through this situation when COVID first hit.
“I deferred payments on all my loans but later on it was a disaster; I couldn’t refinance, I couldn’t get a new car, I couldn’t do anything, because as soon as you defer payments, the bank no longer wants to lend you any money. How’s that fair?
“I’ve had enough of this and I think it’s time for us to take a stand.
“I’m not saying people should defy the law or do the wrong thing.
“I just think that people like myself who have a voice, who have the power, who have a fulltime videographer, who have a social media following, who have a YouTube channel or radio contacts, we need to stand up.
RAY HADLEY APPLAUDED
“And just on radio, I applaud Ray Hadley over the strong stance he has taken over this issue, not that I would have expected anything less from him.
“So I have decided to send my boys back to work on what I classify as emergency job sites but then as previously mentioned, where is the clarity and uniformity in the definition of the word “emergency”?
“To go back to the example I used earlier of my customer who has “half a house”, it is unsafe for her pets to go into that area where they usually live so they are now locked outside in the weather.”
Richard suggested that if people are defying the law in terms of not wearing masks or going against other COVID restrictions, the government needs to come up with a rule that hurts their pocket.
“People should be fined and demerit points should be taken off their drivers licences,” he pointed out.
“Make it mandatory for tradies to be COVID-tested every three days, or every seven days.
“Make the company responsibility for all people entering building sites to check in using the QR code and fine any tradie who is found to be on a jobsite without a mask.”
Richard had these closing words for the government.
“Come on Premier…..you know as well as I do that shutting down the building industry is shutting down the economy as it’s the building industry that has kept the economy alive through COVID.
“I am not going to stand idly by and lose everything….I am not going to stand by while your government makes decisions on my behalf!
“Your decisions threaten to make me lose everything and have financial implications for my staff and customers as well.
“People are getting stressed, they are getting depressed, when you are in a position to change everything with the stroke of a pen or a few words from behind a microphone.”
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