Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Mike Holmes: Finally, Someone Gets Zapped For Fraudulent Electrical Work

Suppose you're one of those DIY handyguys or gals, and you decide you're going to do some work on your house. First you install some new sinks and shower fixtures. Next, you rip up the old vinyl and lay down some lovely marble tile. Lastly, you do a little unpermitted electrical work and upgrade your main panel. You look around your house and spot puddles in the bathroom -- you know you did the plumbing wrong. You look down and spot cracked grout and loose tiles -- you know you didn't install the tile correctly. Lastly, you flip a light switch, and the lights come on like magic. At least you did the electrical work right, right? The truth is, when you screw up plumbing, you know right away because there's water on the floor. If you screw up electrical work on the other hand, the lights may still come on when you hit the switch, but who knows what's going on behind the walls? You may not know you have bad electrical work in your home until there's a fire, and by then it's too late. Shoddy electrical work is downright dangerous, and potentially deadly. In Ontario, a man is facing jail time for doing electrical work without a licence, and Mike Holmes thinks this is a great thing. It's the first time an offender has been given this kind of sentence for this kind of offence, and Mike feels it send the right kind of message to would-be crooks out there lying to unsuspecting homeowners. Bottom line: permits are not expensive, and they're an important safeguard to make sure the work is done right. Make sure you hire the right people and that all work done on your home is permitted appropriately.

From the National Post:

Mike Holmes: Finally, someone gets zapped for fraudulent electrical workA man in Ontario is facing 30 days in jail because he was doing electrical work without the proper licence. According to the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA), this is the first time in Ontario anyone has been given a jail sentence for an offence like this. What do I think? I think it’s about time.
This guy was also found guilty of using a fake certificate, failing to get inspections and leaving unsafe electrical conditions at four homes. Not to mention, he was a repeat offender. As part of his sentencing, he was placed on two years’ probation.
I wager there are dozens more people out there doing the same thing. The problem is, you fine them, they pay the fine, and because they’re making more money than the fine costs, they move on and do it again.
The media has been abuzz with this story. Is the sentence too severe? Did he deserve this? Some people are saying the problem is the system — permits are too expensive.
Let me tell you something — permits aren’t that expensive.
An electrical permit on a small job is about $30. We recently did a big job on a house that required just over $6,000 in electrical work. The electrical permit was $130. For $6,000 in electrical work, $130 to check that it’s safe and up to code is OK in my books.
Is jail time too severe? Absolutely not, because it sends the message loud and clear: We’re not taking this anymore. This has to stop now.
Wiring is not a hobby. If you screw up the electrical, that’s a fire waiting to happen.
Just because the lights turn on doesn’t mean they’re safe. How many of us have ignored flickering lights, which are red flags for dangerous electrical situations and potential fire?
Too many homeowners think it’s OK to hire someone on the side, pay them cash, not pull any permits or get an inspection, and then seal up the work behind drywall. The thinking is that if there is a problem, insurance will take care of it. But let me fill you in on a little secret: Insurance companies are getting fed up.
They will investigate and bring in as many people as needed to figure out why they should give a homeowner hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair their home. If they find out you didn’t follow the rules and hired the wrong person just to save a few bucks, you won’t see a cent.
Always hire licensed professionals. Unfortunately in this case, the homeowners thought they did.
Every province has its own regulations for contractors and trades — and some are controlled at the municipal level. But the bottom line is that whoever is in charge — province or city — has to take a clear stand on what can and can’t be done, and if it means sending people to jail, they should do it. Unsafe work that puts families at risk is unacceptable.
It’s time we see more authorities take these kinds of measures to stop these crooks, because that’s what they are. They’re not contractors. These are people that go out there with one purpose: To screw over anyone they can in order to make money. To me, that’s criminal.
It’s a serious problem, and I’m happy to see people finally smartening up and not letting them get away with it.
Watch Mike Holmes on Holmes Makes It Right on HGTV. For more information visit makeitright.ca.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mike Holmes: Pathway Events 2014 in Tempe, Arizona

Guess what I did this weekend? I usually don't talk about myself too much, but I'll give you a little hint:

Yup, this weekend I drove up to Tempe, Arizona to show my support for Mike as he made a short presentation for Pathway Events. It was a fun trip, well worth the four hour drive. Here are some more photos:

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Mike Holmes Discusses Lexis Homes and Holmes Approved Homes

In May of this year, Mike Holmes was in Saskatoon, helping to promote the 2014 Kinsmen Riverview Lottery Home. For more information about the Kinsmen Riverview Lottery Home, see Mike Holmes At The 2014 Kinsmen Riverview Lottery Home and Mike Holmes Touring the Kinsmen Lottery Home in Saskatoon - Video.

On October 10, videos from Mike's tour of the home were released. In the videos, Mike speaks about Lexis Homes, the builder, and the Holmes Approved model for building better homes. Check out the videos (embedding was disabled, so please click on the links to view the videos):

Mike interviews a Lexi Homes client

Mike discusses winning a Holmes Approved Home

Mike discusses Lexis Homes

Mike discusses the trades pride

Monday, October 13, 2014

Thanks Mike!

This past weekend, Canada celebrated Thanksgiving, and the people touched by Mike Holmes' generosity have a lot to be thankful for! So how does Mike Holmes and family celebrate Thanksgiving? HGTV Canada gave readers some insight into Mike's favorite memories of the holiday on their website:

"My favourite Thanksgiving memory…it would be my mom, my dad, my grandmother, my grandfather, and all of the family on the Bell’s side (my mom's side) meeting at grandma and grandpa’s house. And there was so much food. I mean mashed potatoes, turkey, ham—too much food. My favourite? Stuffing. And then the family would play poker afterwards while we (the kids) watched TV." - Mike Holmes from Holmes Makes it Right.
Photo of Mike Holmes at 2-years-old, courtesy of Mike Holmes'

"I guess my favourite Thanksgiving memory would be getting together with my whole family while my mom cooks a Jiggs dinner. It’s an East Coast dinner with salt beef, cabbage, potatoes…and turkey!" - Mike Holmes Jr. from Holmes Makes it Right.

"My favourite Thanksgiving memory...kind of difficult to think of one. But, since my family is from Newfoundland, my favourite thing about it is making a Jiggs dinner with my mom. It’s the best kind of food!" - Sherry Holmes from Holmes Makes it Right.

How did Mike kick off his holiday weekend? With a game of pool! From Mike's Facebook page:

This weekend is Thanksgiving in Canada. I stopped by quickly for a game of pool before I spend some time with the family. Have a good weekend everyone!
Last but certainly not least, SOS Children's Villages, a charity Mike has been involved with for 10 years, put out this beautiful video and made Mike a photo book thanking Mike Holmes for all of his service to the organization. The video features children benefited by the donations Mike has helped raised saying "Thank you Mike!" in their own languages. For more information about Mike's involvement in SOS Children's Villages, see Mike Holmes for SOS Children's Villages International.
I was so humbled by the gift SOS Canada presented me, and I am honoured to be part of this great organization. These kids need our support and I'm proud to help!
To learn more about SOS Children's Villages Canada go to their site:


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Mike Holmes for Rinaldi Homes - Video

Last week, Mike Holmes was in Niagara meeting and greeting fans of his and fans of Holmes Approved builder Rinaldi Homes at the grand opening of their the Coyle Creek Townhomes. Just a few* fans came out to meet Mike at the event (*few=massive crowds!) which was held on Saturday, September 27, 2014 in Welland, Ontario. For more information about this event, see Mike Holmes in Niagara For Rinaldi Homes and Mike Holmes in Welland Ontario With Rinaldi Homes.

This video documenting the event was published on the official Rinaldi Homes YouTube channel on October 3.

Rinaldi Homes has partnered with Mike Holmes to raise the standard in the home building industry. This video showcases the Grand Opening of the Coyle Creek Townhomes. All Holmes Approved Homes are built with specific building products, installation methods and building practices to ensure enhanced durability, energy-efficiency, fire- moisture- and mould-resistance, sound protection and higher indoor air quality.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Turn, Turn, Turn - Nichole Faucher, Andrew Evans, and Glen Coyle Leaving the Make It Right Crew

It was announced on Tuesday that three more of Mike's crew are moving out from under his wing to undertake new projects. Nichole Faucher, Andrew Evans, and Glen Coyle will be retiring from the Make it Right Crew after season two wraps up. If you're an avid follower of either this blog or Mike's Facebook page, you know that Glen gracefully announced his exit earlier last month in September. From Mike's Facebook page:

Andrew, Nicole and Glen Coyle Page have been dedicated members of my crew. They all helped me make it right for homeowners and communities for many years. Once the second season of Holmes Makes It Right ends they will all be working on new projects. I couldn't have asked for a better team and I wish them all great futures in their new endeavours.

The Holmes Spot wishes Andrew, Nichole, and Glen all the best! Turn, turn, turn!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Mike Holmes' Refuge From Renovation

Can you believe it's been almost a month since the special "Mike's Ultimate Garage" aired? (See Mike's Ultimate Garage - Wrap Up if you have no idea what I'm talking about). If you saw or read about the special, you know that Mike Holmes is a man with many toys. Cruising around in his various off road vehicles and more luxurious on-road vehicles (such as his Range Rover Autobiography Edition, which has been described by some as a $185k mountain-climbing limo) is a way for him to de-stress and unwind. It's also a way for him to raise money for his various charities by pulling out some of his more unique vehicles to display at car shows. I'm a firm believer that you can tell a lot about a man by the car he drives. It shows what kind of taste a person has, whether they value luxury or economy (I admit, I'm more of the latter than the former), and whether or not they want to stand out or blend in. In this article from Wheels.ca, Mike talks about his various vehicles and what they mean to him in his day-to-day life. Spoiler alert, he's got a lot of 'em, some of which he didn't mention in the article!

From Wheels.ca:

Mike Holmes’s refuge from renovation
Published September 3, 2014

TV’s Mike Holmes de-stresses by ‘riding it right’ in his cars
You’ve seen him inspecting rooftops in sub-zero weather. You’ve seen him punching holes in drywall, looking for plumbing leaks. And you’ve seen him looking forlornly at renovations gone horribly wrong, saying, “Take it ALL down.”
Mike Holmes (who insists he’s “just a contractor”) is a true Canadian celebrity whose various shows are televised in more than 100 countries. He lives in a modest 2,000 square-foot, 1970s style home northwest of Toronto and we recently met at his new, 1,850 square-foot Mancave, the subject of an upcoming two-hour, HGTV special, .
Holmes is a confirmed gearhead whose vehicle collection includes a pair of ’32 roadsters (one red and one blue), a Boss 302 Mustang, a Range Rover, two BRP Spyders, a Kawasaki Vulcan, and a 1985 Yamaha V-Max.
Mike started with dirt bikes at a young age. “I was the crazy kid on the trails, doing wheelies, going as fast as possible, stuff that I certainly wouldn’t recommend now.”
His first car was a Chevrolet Celebrity station wagon, “to carry lumber. I should’ve bought a truck but it was the right price.” Mike renovated his first basement (including electrical) when he was 12, ran a large contracting business at 19 and, “at 21, I went on my own and haven’t looked back.”
Next he bought a Ford Econoline van and “did it up with captain’s chairs, a killer stereo and big mag wheels.”
He regrets selling the van. “I loved the van but it wasn’t practical as my kids were beginning to grow. I could sleep in it, it had the windows, the blinds, and a POUNDING stereo (even now, I’m a big stereo guy). I recently bought another one to relive those days. We don’t see customized vans anymore.”
Mike’s favourite car is “my Range Rover. It’s the Autobiography Edition, one of only 300 made and I love that car. It’s spectacular as it mixes luxury with handling, performance and off-road ability all in one. It goes anywhere I want to go, but I don’t take it out much, there’s probably only about 3,000 kilometers on it right now. I kind of cherish it. ”
Even though he aced his automotive courses in school, Mike practices what he preaches. “I leave all the mechanical work to the pros. Auto wasn’t what I pursued — I’ve been doing what I’m doing since I was very young, and I don’t see the point of tinkering.” He laughed, “I do wash and wax them though.”
As we talked about his motorcycles and Spyders, Holmes seemed to relax and a visible calm came over him. There are so many demands on his personal life, one of the few places he finds refuge (as so many of us do) is when he puts everything aside and goes for a ride. He laughs, “I put on my helmet, nobody can recognize me and I can just unwind and ride around in peace.”
Holmes has really gravitated to the three-wheeled BRP Spyders. “I think it’s intelligently made, it’s comfortable, and maybe because it’s bigger and wider, it’s an eye catcher and while I’m riding it, motorists see it. To me, it’s safer.”
Mike takes his vehicles to shows and cruise nights to raise awareness of the Holmes Foundation, a charitable organization that supports training young people in the skilled trades through apprenticeships, scholarships and bursaries. “It’s a way to let kids know the Foundation exists and at the same time, get them interested in the trades. I believe it has made a difference and that young people are finally saying, ‘Hey, I want to get into the trades.’”
Holmes believes we’re facing a major shortage in tradespeople. “And it isn’t just about finding a good contractor, painter or plumber. Trades people support every major infrastructure and industry in the world — that’s transportation, healthcare, communications — everything.
The Holmes Foundation is one step in correcting that shortfall, and Mike is also an ambassador to WorldSkills, an international competition involving over 40 different trades. “It’s basically the Olympics of the Skilled Trades and what I saw this year in Germany, blew me away.”
The next WorldSkills is in Brazil in 2015, “and I’m working towards getting it on television to help get the right people in the right trades. I am very proud to be part of that and I’ll be involved till the day I die.”
Holmes’s various shows are televised in over 100 countries and, “it was a real shock to turn on the television in Europe and see myself dubbed in German saying ‘richtig machen’ (Make it Right).”
For more details on Mike’s vehicles as well as an insight into his incredible Mancave, check out , a two-hour special airing September 1 at 8 pm on HGTV Canada. The new season of airs Tuesdays, also on HGTV Canada.
If you happen to see someone on a three-wheeled Spyder painted to look like an F18 jet fighter, it’s probably Mike, de-stressing and “riding it right.”

Correction – September 05, 2014: This article was edited from a previous version that mistakenly said the Spyder is manufactured by Bombardier.

In fact, it is manufactured by Bombardier Recreational Products, a separate company.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Mike Holmes: When Not To Renovate

"It's all junk, tear it all down!" For those of you who love Mike Holmes like I do, you're probably very familiar with phrases like that. Mike Holmes has been called a "celebrity renovator" by some, and as of late a "superstar renovator" by others -- that's quite the promotion! So it might be surprising to some that renovation may not always be a homeowner's best option in all cases. When should  a homeowner renovate and when should they wait? Buying a new home is exciting, but did you know that finishing a basement too soon before foundation settles is a no-no? Have you ever looked at all that empty space in your attic and wondered how much it would cost to turn that waste space into a second or third story? First, as Mike points out, that space in your attic is not wasted at all. In fact, it serves a very important purpose: protecting your home. Renovating an attic into a bedroom is quite a costly project. Technically speaking, it's impossible to renovate an attic into a bedroom, as doing so would require a second story addition as opposed to a renovation, so it's best to wait on a project like this -- indefinitely.

From The Province.com:

The purpose of most renovations is to increase livable space. But sometimes you shouldn't do it because you could risk your investment and your home’s structural integrity and safety.
For example, when people buy a newly constructed home, they often want to finish the basement right away. But the general rule of thumb is to wait at least a year. I’d wait at least two, let it go through a couple of freezing-and-thawing cycles to see if any leaks or cracks show up. The last thing you want is to spend $30,000 to $50,000 only to rip out the work to fix a problem.
Also, you don’t turn a utility room into a livable space with finished walls and flooring because you need to have direct access to the systems there. Makes sense.
But the big one people always ask me about is the attic. Attics aren’t meant to be living spaces, so turning them into one requires a lot of money, work, permits and engineering. It can also lead to problems.
An attic’s job is to help insulate the house, prevent heat from escaping and deter condensation that can cause mould and/or rot. Turning it into a living space means changing the roof, electrical, HVAC and most importantly, the structure.
Most attic floors are built with two-by-fours, meant only to support the roof above and ceiling below — they aren’t strong enough to support people, storage and/or furniture. The floor joists would need to be reinforced with two-by-sixes to carry the weight load to the outside walls.
You’ll need stairs, and that means making sure you have enough headroom to be legal and safe.
Then you have to build a cathedral ceiling — a ceiling with minimal space between the roof and the finished ceiling, which usually isn’t enough for adequate insulation and proper air flow.
And what about heating? Can your furnace handle heating that additional space? Not to mention the extra ductwork, heat registers and adding a cold-air return.
I would avoid it altogether and use your attic for what it’s built to do: protect your home.
Another area people are tempted to finish is the crawl space which is basically a partial foundation that’s about four to five feet deep — just deep enough to get below the frost line. It’s usually cold, dark and damp — it might even have a dirt floor. Most people want to finish them for storage purposes, or to help keep the living spaces above warm and reduce heating bills — never a bad idea.
There are two basic ways of dealing with a crawl space: turning it into a warm zone or making it a proper cold zone.
Converting it to a warm zone means closing off the venting, insulating the foundation walls, laying down vapour barrier, gravel and rigid foam board on the floor, and then adding a heating duct and cold-air return. If you close off the vents and don’t add heating and a cold-air return, you will get moisture.
Now, you could do all this work and still have the floor above the crawl space cold. (I’ve never been in a room above a crawl space where the floor isn’t cold.)
The other option is making it a proper cold zone by insulating the floor above and sealing it with vapour barrier, then making sure there’s enough ventilation. Some say vapour barriers can trap moisture against the floor joists and cause them to rot, but if you properly insulate the floor above, you shouldn't have warm air meeting cold.
There are homeowners who want to turn the crawl space into a full basement, which involves excavation and underpinning or bench pinning. It’s a massive job and doing it wrong leads to major structural damage. I wouldn't recommend it unless you are 150 per cent sure it will be done right and you have a very, very big budget.
No matter what renovation you take on, your top priority is your home’s health and safety.
Sometimes it’s best to not renovate at all, which is strange advice coming from a contractor.
Watch Mike Holmes on Holmes Makes It Right on HGTV. For more information visit makeitright.ca.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Mike Holmes in Niagara For Rinaldi Homes

Mike Holmes was in Niagara today lending his support to Holmes Approved builder Rinaldi Homes. The event drew a huge crowd eager to meet Mike and learn about the Holmes Approved program. "Today's event was just right!" stated Mike via Facebook. For more information about Mike's visit today, see Mike Holmes in Welland Ontario With Rinaldi Homes and Mike Holmes Partners with Rinaldi Homes.

Pictures from today's event:

Friday, September 26, 2014

Mike Holmes in Welland Ontario With Rinaldi Homes

Mike Holmes announced today that he would be making a public appearance with Rinaldi Homes (A Holmes Approved home builder) in Welland, Ontario on September 27, 2014. If you're in the area, Mike invites you to join him between 1 PM and 5 PM at 10 Coyle Creek Court (off of Timberview Cress) to celebrate the Rinaldi Homes townhomes opening. In the meantime, you can read up on Mike's partnership with the home builder, which was announced in March of this year (see Mike Holmes Partners with Rinaldi Homes for more information).

Here's a video Mike made earlier this year to explain why he supports and stands behind Rinaldi Homes.