HGTV Dream House questions


I just watched this episode of Dream House that raised some questions. http://www.hgtv.com/hgtv/shows_drh/episode/0,1806,HGTV_3831_47389,00.html
The owners had hired a general contractor to take care of the new construction and remodeling, and the husband and wife were taking care of the demolition themselves to save money. Neither had any construction experience at all. If people want to take risks, well, that's their business and their limbs and lives at risk, right? But several questions came to mind.
The general contractor, framers and HGTV personnel were on site while the husband and two buddies (again, no experience at all), were demolishing the roof. To say they were clueless and operating in an extremely unsafe manner is an understatement. Which made me wonder.
With all of the construction experience on site, how is it that no one advised the owner on the best way to accomplish the task? The narrator kept repeating that it was highly dangerous work and that the owner could not afford to get injured, yet no one offered even the most basic advice in demolition. It was almost as if they turned the clueless guy loose doing dangerous work because it made the show more exciting. It seemed to me that if an accident did happen, there would be a fair bit of exposure on HGTV's part - contributory negligence or something like that.
It also made me wonder about the OSHA safety regulations and how the show limits its liability. The owners of these shows are getting paid somehow. Whether it's free appliances, an appearance fee or whatever, so a case could be made that they are in fact employees of HGTV. In that case HGTV is required to obey OSHA regulations and is liable for any violations and accidents due to their flagrant risk-taking-for-TV's-sake.
Beyond that, how is it that the GC or one of the framers didn't offer some basic demolition advice? Basic things like don't stand under the deck when you're knocking out the posts, don't start demolishing a roof from the bottom up, etc. Construction people love giving demolition advice, particularly if it is going to save someone major amounts of wasted time and potential catastrophic injury. So why not on this TV show?
R
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"RicodJour"> wrote

Full stop, right there. What contractor in his right mind would take on such a thing? A contractor whose contract didn't commence until AFTER the demo work was completed, thats who. Or a complete dumbass.
In all remodeling work a certain amount of time and money must be allocated to *repairing* the existing structure where the new joins with the old and this is largely an unknown area as its not possible to see beyond the skin of the building as to whats inside. You can't just go willy-nilly tearing stuff apart without the benefit of hindsight from other projects or the ability to perceive what *may* occur.
Suppose a part of the demo area was structurally supporting another part of the building and the unexperienced homeowner knocked it down, causing the supported area to collapse, hurting or killing someone? (shoring an existing header, for example, before tearing it out).
I imagine HGTV has a very tight contract drawn up with the homeowners and everybody involved to escape liability. The homeowners in these glamour shows are the ultimate losers as they trade their security for a mere 15 mins (or should I say, 22 mins) of fame.
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I have a question with Extreme Makeover...
Who pays for the taxes when the crew is finished? Cmon, usually it's a family who can barely make it as is, but when the crew is finished, the family has more electrical gadgets then you can shake a stick at, not to mention a 1000 fold improvement in their house. Seems to me that the program is pricing the housing out of the family's means.
DK
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I think you've got it right about being a TV show and the producers deciding to "create drama" by having the owners working in a dangerous manner. While the GC is usually responsible for job site safety and OSHA compliance, there are probably pages of contracts and releases involved with something like this.
Personally, I'm getting kind of jaded about most of these home improvement shows. We have "Sell this House" where the folks coming in and being filmed by "hidden cameras" are all wearing microphones. Then we have "Flip this House" where they start out the show with "We just bought this house at auction without seeing it first and it looks like it's in much worse shape than we were hoping". Give me a break - these people are supposed to be experienced professionals and they buy a property sight unseen. My favorite was when they buy a property out of town "This will be tough because we don't know any contractors or anyone in real estate" and are trying to get contractors coming out of Home Depot yet manage to get together a full crew that can start work the next day.
Give me Norm and Tom any day.
Steve.
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and the projected profit. Where is the real estate agents fee for selling the house? How's about taxes that have to be paid on the profit? Where's the interest paid on the short term mortgages? Where's the insurance fees? In most cases I see a 'break even' or even worse.
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I don't entirely disagree with you, but in the case of the "flip this house" show, I think the realtor works for the same company that buys and fixes the house. I guess they're just showing the profit on the project before real estate commission and business expenses (which would include interest, insurance, staff costs, etc.). Of course, we all know that these guys can't lose, since they are doubtless being paid for their TV appearances regardless. I do think, though, that many of these houses do make them some money, even if it is likely exaggerated for the sake of good television.
I know in my market, and probabaly all over the continent, these shows have contributed to a surge in small players getting into the house-flipping market. I've bought and sold numerous properties over the years, usually renovating them and sometimes renting them before re-selling them, and never have I had so much competition on the "buying" end from new entrants to the market. Right now, the prices are explosive enough that these people likely still turn a profit despite the high costs they incur buying and upgrading the house, but I would certainly question the quality of much of the work that goes in to them. Also, they are true risk-takers, often paying high interest on their investment money, and leveraging themselves right up to the maximum possible level.
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You got that right. At one point the framing crew left early so they didn't get struck by debris. I mean the homeowner was cutting the entire hip roof structure free and trying to topple it over the edge.
But WHY? Their general contractor talked them into demolishing the second floor structure so his crew "didn't have to measure and fit the new walls to match the old construction." Of Christ's sake, they demolished hundreds of square feet of perfectly good walls and roofs so the GC's crew could frame faster.
-- Dennis
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RicodJour wrote:

I don't believe OSHA requirements cover homeowners at all. And I think the Clean Air Act has a few loopholes for homeowners. It could be as simple as the place had asbestos and the owners had to do it themselves or hire an abatement team. They can tell their grandkids "we did the <hack hack> demo <hack hack> outselves and saved lots of <hack cough hack> money."
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Pat wrote:

When the homeowner is paid, in some form or another, by the show, with the knowledge that they will be doing some of the construction, they become employees of the show.
Spinning it any other way, in an attempt to avoid responsibility and legal action, is about as effective as having a third party accept the money for OJ. It's simply evasive. A pattern of evasion could be considered racketeering and fall under the RICO act.
R
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RicodJour wrote:

It's a TV show, everything is fake and staged, it's all about ratings and advertising revenue. Recall in the 50's, game show contestants were given anwers to questions, and that was outlawed. It's rumored someone figured out that it's legal to give questions to an answer and Jeopardy was born. Ken
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Some friends got a garden makeover on one of these shows recently. The shots were pre-planned, and only what would show on camera was done. Literally.
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Michael Bulatovich wrote:

Yeah saw that show, forget the name, gave some interesting ideas, tongue leaves cheek. The price is usually more than our house costs. It's pleasantly fluffy and gushy. Ken
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Its funny I stumbled onto this thread, because I am in the process of filming a HGTV dream house series in San Diego. Don't believe me, check out our site to keep our friends and family updated in the process. www.dreamhousesd.com.
Anyways, I think many people sign up for these shoes to get the 15mins of fame. However, it makes great economic sense. Due to all the help from the tv show, and people who want to be on tv, we are able to build for about $50 dollars a square foot, and in our market, houses sell for more then $500 dollars a square foot.
The truth is, reality shows, whether be the bachelor or a remodeling show, are very staged. Next time look how they get multiple angle shots, there isn't more then one camera man there. It is just a single guy saying, "Do you mind doing that one more time."
Also, surprisingly, there was no hefty contract we needed to sign. Just a one page document saying they will give us some money up front, and when finished with the house, they will give us some more money. Then there is a lengthy contract, but that is a release that anyone on tv signs, saying the network has the right to air you, and the network can do whatever they like with the footage. Kinda scary, when you think about the Boarat movie, those people were probabley signing vary similar contracts.
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