Back in 2001 I had the idea for the TV show that ultimately became Holmes on Homes™ because I was constantly being hired to do renovations a second time. I had to constantly fix bad work done by other so-called contractors. I hated doing things the second time and I hated the toll bad renovations took on families. Sometimes families spent their life savings trying to create their dream home and instead ended up with no occupancy permit…or a home full of mould…or a dirt foundation…or ice dams on the roof…or crumbling stucco. You name it, I saw all sorts of screw-ups. And I saw that people’s lives were often devastated as a result. Many lost their life savings, marriages suffered and some people even lost their homes. Others ended up living in cold, mouldy, dangerous conditions with subpar work around them.
I thought if there was a TV show that taught homeowners about their homes and about how to hire a contractor maybe some of these problems would disappear. So we made Holmes on Homes™. But the problems did not disappear--instead I learned that the problems I saw were just the tip of the iceberg.
People write me from all over the world asking for help. I get hundreds of emails each week about shoddy renovations. And I wanted to help these people but there were just too many families asking for help. I’m only one guy--I can’t fix all these problems. But I kept thinking - what can I do to help? What will make a difference? And I realized that the best way to help is to train more people to build correctly, more people who will Make It Right™. That is why I started The Holmes Foundation.
Canada does not have enough skilled trades people – in construction or in other trades – and the problem is only going to get worse as the baby boomers retire unless we do something about it. As long as we don’t have enough skilled trades people, we will continue to have bad contractors. If we don’t get more skilled trades people who will build our roads, schools, hospitals and houses in the future?
Trades people are absolutely critical to society but don’t always get the respect they deserve. Many parents and teachers discourage kids from getting into the trades. That attitude is just wrong – for Canada and for kids. Skilled trades jobs pay well, and are creative and rewarding. I love being a contractor and so do most of the people I work with. The goal of The Holmes Foundation is to get people to understand and respect construction and the construction trades so that parents, teachers and students will consider these trades when thinking about careers. Please help me get the message out.