Pole dancing and other building no-nos

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

We all make mistakes – right? Absolutely. However, most of us own up and go all out to ensure that the error is corrected in the shortest time possible. “Most of us” unfortunately does not appear to include Eskom, which seems to simply ignore problems in the hope that they will go away.

A recent report in the Pretoria News told the sorry tale of a woman in Hammanskraal who has had to stop building her home because there is an electricity pole in the middle of one of the bedrooms. Before you wonder why the builder decided to go ahead despite the pole, apparently the owner didn't have much of a choice as the pole had been planted in the middle of the stand.

One might think that it would be fairly easy to have the pole moved to a more convenient position, but it appears that Eskom has dug in its heels and has demanded that the owner pay to have the pole removed. The pole is still there and, despite numerous meetings with Eskom, little or nothing has happened except that the parastatal now claims that the homeowner will have to pay R50 000 to have the pole moved.

Why, why, why?

The question that has to be asked here is who decided to erect an electricity pole in the middle of a privately owned property in the first place. Perhaps more importantly, surely Eskom should ’fess up to the mistake and make good as quickly and quietly as possible? Sadly, it looks as though history is set to repeat itself and nothing short of a court order will convince the company that it is being unreasonable.

On the other hand, having a great big electricity pole in a bedroom may not be the end of the world. While it could be argued that erecting a roof over the offending object may cause the architect to lose a few hours of sleep, there are buildings that have had bigger issues to contend with.

A little research and uncovers a list of the worst building fails – and it’s no exaggeration that the odd pesky electricity pole is small-fry when compared to some of the building bloopers out there.

Oh my!

The best examples of what can go wrong when architects, builders and project managers don't keep their collective eye on the ball can be found at www.viralnova.com/31-build ing-fails/.

Unfortunately, the mistakes are pretty obvious (except, it would seem, to the builders involved). Staircases that lead to absolutely nowhere, wheelchair ramps that have the same degree of slope as Olympic ski jumps, an escalator that carries people into the ceiling, doors that open to the street four floors below and perhaps my personal favourite: an unenclosed toilet built next to a row of hand basins.

One can only hope that Eskom sees the error of its ways and goes all out to ensure that the offending pole is moved to a more sensible spot in the very near future. If however it doesn't and insists the pole stays put, the homeowner might want to search for an architect and builder who are able to incorporate this very unusual feature into her home.

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