Suddenly out of nowhere, a storm brews up. Media gets hold of a story, blows something up into a bigger storm than it deserves, and then away it goes. Social media gets hold of it and then you’re dogmeat – you get ripped apart in the court of social opinion. Pardon me for not getting as excited as some people are, but I just don’t think that it is such a big deal.

What am I talking about? Is it the price of the Ngauranga to Petone cycleway going up to $200million, almost a fifth the price of the whole Transmission Highway? Cos that’s just barking mad – but then again, anyone could have told you that was always going to be an expensive black hole to pour concrete and steel into. And gravel. And rock. And more rock. Hmmm. Nope, not that. But we did warn you…

Is it the Councillors and Mayor of Wellington City Council, who seem to raise more media clashpoints than any previous administration of the WCC? Is it really that bad or is it over-exaggerated? Is it more aggressively argumentative this term than it was in the last one – or the one before that? Was Prendergast really better at controlling the Councillors than Jester or Foster? Wade-Brown seemed to get more flack at the time – now her administration seems like an oasis of peace by comparison? Or is it all just another media beat-up, yet again, tormented by the anti-fosterites? I see no real difference from this to other years, in that the WCC always has robust discussion.

The architect talking to the gracious woman of the house…

Is it that the price of the Library has just been adjusted by selling it off to the highest bidder (as proposed) and then leasing it back again? Is that a good idea or a really stupid proposal? The Council used to be in the top floor of the Library anyway – is this just brushing over the fact that the Council no longer own their own offices, which are earthquake-prone and due for demolition? There are two competing arguments here: why should Council own any property at all? and the opposite: why shouldn’t the Council own all the properties it can? There’s arguments either way.

Actually, it’s none of those. Instead, its a story today that – shock, horror, indignation – GranD Designs makes a drama out of things that aren’t really that dramatic at all !!! Who would have knew? I’m shocked – SHOCKED – to find gambling in this nightclub! Round up the usual suspects! And of course: don’t read the Stuff comments…

Gambling? Outrageous! Who would have known!

The comments are, of course, written by the mad, bad, and dangerous to gnaw. Some weird ferret named McGooly writes in with a bee in his/her bonnet and says: “And when are they going to build kitchens that dispense with 2 metre high and deep cupboards that are so difficult to use?. I built my own kitchen and everything is at bench height or lower and in easily opened big and small drawers, holding dishes, pots, pans, cleaning products etc. Reaching to the back of deep high cupboards is so time consuming and tiring. I bet no highly paid architect never suggests an easy alternative. They seem to believe that everyone is a standard 2 metre tall.”

Hmmmm. I call that one total bullshit… I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who is 2m tall, apart from Gordon Moller or Max Herriot, nor any architect apart from them that would ever design a cupboard for a person of that size. I really wish that I could just hit a reply button on the Stuff website to just brand these sort of comments with a “complete hogwash” stamp, automatically.

Corrupt to the core?

What else is there? A certain John Smithers says: “We said at the start of our build that we did not want to be one of those “Grand Designs” type projects. Well guess what? It happened. And not just to us, similar misfortune happens to almost everyone else we speak to. Grand Designs will even be playing down some of the skull-duggery that happens within the building industry because that level of realism does not make good TV. Our conclusion is that the building industry is corrupt to it’s core. And it is designed that way. Building contracts have very little protection for consumers. What protection they do offer is either extremely difficult to enforce or easy for builders and architects to dodge. We have also found that architects have no accountability for their work and that their so called “professional body” does not protect or compensate consumers for their members’ mismanagement. For architects to paint themselves as blameless is, to use their own words, “fraudulent and wrong”. The best advice we could give anybody – apart from don’t do it – is to get yourself a bloody good lawyer at the start of the process.”

Wow – that escalated fast! I thought the subject was about GD – but instead, it seems that all the world’s architects are evil, as are their builder mates. Again, I call for the hogwash button.

Boris66 says, in reply to Rough Ol’ Hori (and no, I’m not making these names up): “architects cost the earth and are affordable only to the select top end sector of the housing market. GJ’s and Stonewoods and other franchises/chains build some excellent quality designer homes without running up a $100,000 tab before breaking ground. The state houses of the ’50s were (very well built) 1 dimensional 3 bed, single garage open plan kitchen/diner boxes, I was living in them as a kid in the ’60s, they’re nothing like what these companies are building. The problem is, we need someone building 1 dimensional 3 bed, single garage open plan kitchen/diner boxes to solve the housing crisis, and no-one is; double internal access garage, separate lounge, 2 double bed plus master with ensuite is about as basic as it gets.”

Grouse says, curiously: “I’ve heard that Chris Moller is actually an avatar operated by Kevin McCloud.”

Well, of course… and lastly, one comment from Hothead, who started this all off: “Interesting to hear the NZ Institute of Architects has an opinion to share with us on a television programme. Where were they before, during, and perhaps after the leaky building crisis?
            This rolling disaster has affected 10’s of thousands of kiwi families, and would not have happened if the NZIA were doing their job. As an umbrella group for (government registered) architects they should have had the knowledge and insight to see the design problems that created leaky homes. They should have realised that inappropriate techniques and combinations of materials had crept into common usage, and given advice to avoid the problems before they happened.
     Other professions have industry bodies that handle issues common to their members, eg, the Medical Council, IPENZ for engineers, the Society of Chartered Accountants, the Police Association, etc,etc. It seems the NZIA is only up to watching tv.”

Round up the usual suspects…