Letter from the Builder Beast

Build In Fear
This is not a question and answer column, but I have to share the following letter:

Dear Andy Bozeman,

I really liked your last column about the sliding cat rug, especially the part about the expanding tile. That has happened to me. I am a builder and since you seem so smart I am hoping you can clear up a question for me. Why don’t my customers like me after I build their house?

I always try to help them save money. Like the time a young couple had very little money but needed a house. I built a fine place that was even cheaper than they expected. I did it by spreading out the roof framing twice as far as what other people call standard. Unfortunately we had a problem with bad lumber because the roof sags all over.

Another family had plans that they wanted to reverse. For some reason the stair framer didn’t know. Now the stairs come down inside the hall bath, but at least they can get to the second floor. And think how convenient it is for the children to come downstairs to the bathroom without even going through the hall.

There’s the time I left out an expensive floor beam that the engineer said was important. I knew better. Without that beam there was enough money to wallpaper the whole house, even the closets. Sure the house shakes a little when you walk around,  but I just told the owners not to put anything heavy on the second floor.

I helped some people build a lake cabin. Instead of wasting money on concrete and steel, I saved a fortune by setting the house on tree stumps. Who could have known the trees were inferior and would leave stumps that could rot so fast. For some reason the people blame me. Why? I didn’t plant the trees.

Yet another family had plans that showed the kitchen on the right end of the house. They wanted to reverse the house so the kitchen would be on the left end. Everything went OK, except that I forgot to tell the plumber. We ended up with a toilet in the living room, but I didn’t panic. I just installed a fountain so now they have a neat little waterfall whenever they pull the flush handle.

Well I could tell you lots more about how I help my customers, but I really need an answer to my original question.


B.B. Frizzard, Builder

Mr. Frizzard,
Perhaps you’ve made a few slight miscalculations. Removing any framing like floor beams and roof structure in the name of saving money is ………how can I put this gently………….Stupid!
But I guess it’s the little things that anger your customers. Shaky floors and sagging roofs and collapsing lake cabins can be a bit unnerving to the average person who has to live there.
Stairs in the bathroom? You may be on to something but only time will tell. Of course your customers will tell, too, and maybe that’s a good thing.
Finally, the real builders I know don’t do the things you do, so I don’t think you should call yourself a builder anymore. A change of career is your best answer. I don’t know what you should do, but try to find a job where lots of people can keep a close eye on you.
Dear Readers,

Halloween is the time we heighten our fear of ghosts and goblins, witches and warlocks, and things that go bump in the night. I now add to that list a creature who is to be feared every day of the year. He’s out there now, lurking in the darkness, waiting to dig his claws into your checkbook. Just try to build anything. Talk to all manner of  true professionals. He’ll be there mixed in with the crowd, hiding behind a mask of promises. If you’re not cautious, he’ll get you and you won’t even know it until it’s too late. Beware of  The Dreaded Builder Beast.


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