High noon for the contract cowboys

It has long been my belief that cowboy builders should be made to dress as cowboys. If they get out of line, make them wear stetsons and a holster, is what I say. The worst offenders should be given over-sized sombreros, of the style available at Benidorm duty-free. That way at least, the public would have a better idea about which new apartments to rent or buy.

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By  Sean Cronin Published  October 22, 2005

|~||~||~|It has long been my belief that cowboy builders should be made to dress as cowboys. If they get out of line, make them wear stetsons and a holster, is what I say. The worst offenders should be given over-sized sombreros, of the style available at Benidorm duty-free. That way at least, the public would have a better idea about which new apartments to rent or buy. — “Isn’t that John Wayne up there on that scaffold doing the snagging dear?” — “So it is honey, and look, there’s Alan Ladd on the mixer. He looked much taller in Shane - Let’s go straight to the next place shall we?” Unfortunately, despite many letters to the relevant authorities, liberal legislators have so far refused to adopt my Stetson Bill. But sooner or later they will have to see sense and do the right thing. Until then, cowboy builders will continue to operate with relative impunity in this market — yee-haaaing their way through the wide-open plains of the Gulf. And that is what they seem to be doing. Our front page story last week about dodgy materials being used on major projects has stirred up a hornet’s nest of responses from readers. Many have recounted their own personal experience of cowboy builders as well as dubiously sourced construction materials with the “Made in Karama” kite mark. It seems to have touched a nerve and seemingly everybody has a personal tale to tell. None funnier, it must be said, than an ex-colleague who witnessed the toilet that he had a few seconds earlier been sitting on, disappear in a cloud of dust as a boiler came crashing through the roof of the ceiling above. What a way to go, as it were. Like the best black comedy, hilarious, but scary. Whoever was responsible for that particular installation should be given an over-sized sombrero without delay. The lowest price wins mentality is, in part, to blame for the corner cutting that seems to be the water cooler talk of the industry at the moment. It is a false economy, and some property companies are waking up to that now. Shrewd investors are increasingly looking at the names of contractors and consultants involved in projects before buying off-plan, in a bid to avoid ‘lick and stick’ merchants. If developers continue to choose the cowboy contractors over quality firms, it will be high noon for them and their buildings soon enough. Sean Cronin Editor||**||

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