Demo Day Drama – the False Start at the Riddle St Build

So, the construction of my forever home is off to a great start — I just had to call the cops.

We haven’t even started demolition yet.

Despite years of experience in the construction industry and working alongside more than 50 builders on a daily basis, I still managed to stuff up the start of construction on our new home.

So here’s what happened.

  • Late last year I got quotes to demolish my home so we could build a new house. I selected the most economical (i.e. the cheapest) option.
  • I confirmed their contract in writing, paid them to organise the demolition permit and deal with related work safety notifications, and then booked them to begin on 2nd
  • After a very lengthy Christmas shutdown, February 2nd rolls around and no demolition crew arrives. I even called, emailed and texted in the days leading up to our job to confirm the booking with their office.
  • I call them again, and I end up sending my husband to their site who then has a toe-to-toe confrontation with the guy in charge. He tells us he can maybe fit us in by the end of the month.
  • I cancelled the contract in writing (phew!), found another company who could do it the following week (for more money), and then organised the transfer of the permits. Progress!
  • Here’s where things get ugly: our old demo contractor turns up the day the new contractors starts. He verbally abuses them, tells them they can’t begin working on a job we paid them for and then sends them home! What the?! He then — despite having my number — verbally abuses a member of my staff. Who is pregnant.
  • So I call the cops. I also send him a formal warning. After a little to-ing and fro-ing he tucks his tail and runs off. I am high on adrenalin coursing through my body, and my jaw aches from clenching all day long.


I am not a woo-woo kind of girl.  You’ll get to know this about me. I don’t believe in forever true love and I make my own luck.  But this encounter has shaken my confidence in the start of our build.

However, on reflection, the mistakes are obvious.

Here’s what I learned about how to hire a demolition contractor:

  • Use the builder’s demolition guy. They all have their own ‘guy’ they use, and have a relationship (read: beers) with.
  • If you are going to ignore that rule, check out the company reviews online. I just left this nut some whoppers.
  • If you pay peanuts, you get Moorabbin Demolition. That is, you pay cheap, you pay twice.

Fingers crossed by next post the old home will be gone and with it this yucky start!


Over to you:

I want to hear from you. When have you selected the wrong tradesman? Do you believe in paying a premium price for a premium service? Answer in the comments below.

Also – hit us up on Facebook with your favourite tradies and give them some love. Make sure you tag them in the post so others can get to know them, too!

About Suzanne Commerford

Suzanne has stepped out from behind the desk of Australia's largest home inspection business to build the skills, confidence and independence of women to tackle maintenance and home improvement projects around the home.

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