I’m starting to think that things are happening to us just so I can write about them. Tales and trials evolving, thick and fast. Every day there is something that happens in our life that would be considered ‘important’. So does everyone else of course however I believe we’re getting more than our fair share of events. Events that should only occur once a month, once a year or maybe even once in a lifetime? 

We still have no more information about our rental situation in the factory or our house which I’ve decided to process as ‘good’ news. No news means no moving. It has however set the default mode of life to slightly below ‘keeping it together’. I realised this subtle change in vibe when I found myself weeping as I read the news article about Bond homes (a Ballarat building company) that has just gone into voluntary liquidation.

Bond Homes is a residential builder in Ballarat who had been operating for 30 years and had 20 full time staff. More than 2,500 construction companies have collapsed since 2021. TWO THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED! That’s fucked! The government announced earlier this year they want to (well, need to) build one million homes in the next 10 years. ONE MILLION. How is this even going to be possible if construction companies keep dropping like flies.

Way back in 2020 the government launched its Homebuilder Grant which would give people an extra $25k towards their build. SO many people went to companies like Bond and signed contracts to get their homes built.* Bond sold 12 months worth of houses in a few months but with the rising price of raw materials and labour shortages the margins just got too low. Bond, after 30 years went into liquidation with $3000 in the bank and 16 houses in production.

How fucken devastating. Not just for the company and their staff but for the 16 families that now have to recoup what they can from partially built homes. It made me cry. It made me want to reach out to the owners and give them a hug. It made me look at Matt and think, what the fuck are we doing? If a previously successful company has to close its doors after 30 years then what hope do we have? We’ve barely started and I feel so vulnerable. So exposed to external forces that are outside our control.

I think I just needed to cry for a bit. Being stoic all the time doesn’t leave a lot of room for tears and the emotional quotes from the Bond Homes owner tipped me over the edge. Once I’d regained some composure I talked to Matt. Matt was as deeply affected as I was, minus the water works but he also had a good and quite obvious observation to make. We aren’t a residential builder. We’re not builders at all in fact. We’re manufactures of a prefab building system that is part of the solution to the building crisis. 

While what happened to Bond homes is heartbreaking for all involved it is evidence of a broken system. An industry that is steeped in tradition and has generally been resistant to change is no longer sustainable. Matt’s gone to the Master Builder dinners - out of a room of 20 people, 3 of them showed an interest in what we’re doing (Only one woman by there by the way). 

This is why we MUST persevere. We MUST continue to show people our building system because we are part of the solution. Offsite construction is needed now more than ever. While it may feel like the industry we’re in is crumbling around us, we have to keep wading through the hard stuff. Obstacles don’t block the path, they are the path.

Shitty obstacles like, through no fault of our own this week, GoDaddy released our domain name for TinyOffice.com.au back on the market which was immediately brought up by an evil bot. We currently have no website or email address for TinyOffice. Our digital front door has just been slammed shut. See, that shit right? How does something like that even happen? We just have to keep reminding ourselves The obstacles are the path, the obstacles are the path…

*Side story… We tried to sign up to the Homebuilder grant since we’re building our own home. We weren’t eligible because I was from New Zealand for fuck sakes! Being such a large amount of money we decided it was worth taking my name off the title for the land (which cost about a $1k in lawyers etc). It then took 18 MONTHS to get our plans through council so we missed the deadline (and the extended deadline) for the grant. We had recovered from our disappointment because while we didn’t get the grant it had started us on the path to building our home finally. Unfortunately a few months later at tax time I had to pay tax on ‘selling’ my land to Matt when I removed my name off the title. Luckily the land value wasn’t that high but it was essentially it cost us, well me, $6k to NOT get the Homebuilders Grant. Shitbag.

Video of the week
Dave Grohl And Taylor Hawkins Tell The Greatest Story Ever | Triple M
Podcast of the week
Smartless: Bradley Cooper
Font of the week
Dragon: Font of the week by Rajesh Rajput

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