All Topics / General Property / 2d2n Good and Bad Reno’s

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  • Profile photo of redwingredwing
    Join Date: 2003
    Post Count: 2,733

    Do-it-yourself disasters

    REPORTER: Rohan Wenn
    BROADCAST DATE: January 22, 2004

    Home renovating can be a health hazard for some.
    Renovating your own home can be cheap but it’s also risky. Here’s some advice from the professionals to prevent the roof caving in on your do-it-yourself renovation dream.

    We’re a nation obsessed with home ownership. If we’re not buying houses, we’re trying to do them up.

    But as Olympia Xiros knows all too well the reality of renovating doesn’t always live up to the promise.

    A mother of two, Ms Xiros waited in vain for years for husband Nick to fix up their garage and office.

    “He should stick to what he does, drive a bus,” she laughed.

    Matt Judkins is one of ‘the Reno Brothers’, experts at fixing up bad work. He says bad renovations can hurt much more than your pride.

    “For the unwary a renovation can seriously injure you or in fact it can kill you,” he said.

    Mr Judkins recently took over renovating a property after the owners made almost every mistake in the book. Understandably they didn’t want to appear on camera.

    He says the owners experienced problems with electrical power when demolition work began before a new power unit was installed.

    “What we often see is that people just turn off the main switch in the existing unit,” he said. “It still means there’s power on line, flick that switch and you’ve got some serious problems.”

    The bathroom also gave the owners trouble when they knocked down walls which still had water pipes running through them.

    “Cold water is not such an issue but hot water, you can give yourself a scald and serious troubles,” Mr Judkins said.

    And the owners’ attempts at space creation almost brought down the entire house. Mr Judkins says the owners cut through two structural supports and if they’d cut another brace the roof might have caved in.

    We can all breathe a little easier knowing the owners never made it to the asbestos roof in the back shed.

    “Asbestos is a big issue, often hidden, people aren’t aware of it,” Mr Judkins said.

    He says asbestos sometimes turns up in kitchens or behind tiles and should be professionally removed.

    “You end up with people smashing into tiles, they’re smashing into asbestos,” he said.

    Karen Ashby is from the Injury Surveillance Applied Research Centre at Monash University in Victoria. She says Australians are hurting themselves renovating in record numbers.

    “We’ve certainly seen the trend over the last couple of years towards hospital admissions and presentations,” Ms Ashby said.

    “One third of all presentations to emergency departments are eye injuries and they’re mostly associated with grinding and people not using proper equipment to protect themselves.

    “And also there are a large number of hand and finger cuts and lacerations.”

    As Brian Welsh from the Master Builders Association explains, the authorities can’t keep track of all the do-it-yourself work.

    These days owners perform 40 per cent of all renovations themselves.

    “There’s not that much policing going on in this industry and that’s a great sadness for us,” Mr Welsh said.

    “We’d like to see a much greater scrutiny of what’s going on in this industry by the relevant authorities.”

    Then there are the renovations that don’t quite look the way you thought they would. Christine Tiekert of the Archicentre says using an expert can help avoid nasty surprises.

    “There’s a lot of people doing home renovations who aren’t using architects at all and who aren’t even using professionals either,” she said.

    In case you’re about to start work on your house, here are the dos and don’ts of do-it-yourself renovation:

    Always seek expert advice before beginning renovations.
    Call in an asbestos expert before working on older homes.
    Always use protective gear.
    Read instructions for power tools before using them.
    Never attempt electrical work.
    And if you’re not sure you’re up to the task, use a qualified tradesperson.
    The experts say you should know your limits, be aware of what you’re able to do and be honest with yourself about your knowledge levels.

    If it’s beyond you, don’t be afraid to seek the advice of a professional or have a professional do the job for you.

    The Reno Brothers are online at

    Archicentre is the building advisory service of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects at

    To contact the Master Builders Association visit

    Take Care when you D.I.Y…Look Mum- No Fingers [8]


    “The man that thinks at 5o as he did when he was 20 has wasted 30 years of his life”

    Profile photo of ToolsTools
    Join Date: 2003
    Post Count: 363

    I would hardly call the reno brothers experts.I cringe when I read their weekly column in the Sunday Herald Sun in Melbourne,the crap they dribble,and the advice they give as “experts” to people who want to DIY.They should stick to medicine and accounting,and leave renovations to QUALIFIED tradesmen.


    Profile photo of ShusharShushar
    Join Date: 2003
    Post Count: 190

    Their website contains some useful information though!



    “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

    Profile photo of TradesmanTradesman
    Join Date: 2006
    Post Count: 1


    STAY AWAY FROM MATT JUDKINS.. Ive been a tradie for a long time and keep hearing to stay away from Matt Judkins.
    Ive heard he owes alot people alot of money (tradies) and he’s making the renovation industry look very bad.
    Matt.. stick to accounting and get a real job like everyone else

    Profile photo of Scott No MatesScott No Mates
    Join Date: 2005
    Post Count: 3,856

    If anyone can get a residential builder’s licence (if they have bothered) without formal training in construction, engineering, design, cost control, contract administration, quantity surveying, estimating, services coordination, programming, site establishment, ohs&r and more, then I really worry about the future of the industry & how or why legitimite contractors would stay in the residential building sector.

    Profile photo of Zippy2Zippy2
    Join Date: 2011
    Post Count: 1

    If we are talking about MATT JUDKINS from Reno Brothers , then DO NOT trust him . I am a tradie who did work for him on 2 diff jobs during 2010 and I AM STILL OWED $ 5,000 from over SIX MONTHS ago . He DOES NOT PAY his tradies . I also know of two other tradies in the same position as myself . One guy is owed over $ 10,000 …… . Matt has the gift of the gab , <moderator: delete language>. Jobs were poorly organised , went over time , and perhaps over budget . Yet there is a bunch of hard working regular tradies who have not been paid . WHERE DID THE MONEY GO MATT JUDKINS ? ?????

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