Mike Holmes wants to fix the world

And he figures he’s got just 13 years left

by Jonathon Gatehouse

A rhetorical question needs no answer, but sometimes it’s better to be safe than sorry. “Am I full of crap?” Mike Holmes barks from the stage, pausing just long enough to flash a teeth-baring smile. “No, I know I’m not.”

Even if they disagree, the teenagers before him—Aboriginal youth from across southwestern Ontario, brought together for a career fair at which the burly contractor is the keynote speaker—are unlikely to say it out loud. They’ve seen him on TV. He’s famous. Or at least recognizable enough that a bunch of 16-year-olds want to take his picture with their cellphones. At their age, Canada’s second most trusted man—trailing only David Suzuki in an April survey by Reader’s Digest—was a dropout, working full-time as a renovator, and living alone in a Toronto apartment where he wired the TV, stereo and all the lights to a panel attached to his armchair. Now he’s standing there, jabbing his finger in the air like Apollo Creed in Rocky, and pulling out every trick in the motivational bag to convince them to stay in school, and preferably pick up a skilled trade. There’s the scare: “If you quit, what the hell are you going to do? Work at McDonald’s?” Blandishment: “There’s so much opportunity. In 10 years, we’re going to be a million tradespeople short.” Even the potential for hookups: “I have met some of the hottest female electricians, welders and plumbers . . .”

But it’s the appeals to a higher purpose that seem to really capture their attention. Working construction isn’t just about throwing up ticky-tacky boxes in the suburbs, it’s blazing a path to change, Holmes promises. Energy efficient homes that can be “heated with a candle, and cooled with an ice cube.” Eliminating mouldy attics and basements so that kids don’t develop asthma. Saving the planet from evils as diverse as oil dependency to prescription meds entering the water supply via our toilets.

On a crisp fall day, beneath a blue and white striped tent in a field outside Brantford, Ont., Holmes is preaching the eco-gospel with fervour. He talks about the subdivision he’s planning in Okotoks, Alta., envisioned as the “greenest community in North America.” He mentions his stint last year as an official adviser to Canada’s delegation at the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change, and a new pilot project with the Assembly of First Nations to design and construct sustainable housing for Canada’s native reserves. He pledges that sometime in 2011, there will be a relief mission to earthquake-ravaged Haiti, one that will mirror his successful New Orleans project in the wake of hurricane Katrina. (“Haiti’s not quite ready for me,” he tells the teens.) It’s the “Make it Right” philosophy he’s been expounding on TV since 2003, and more recently in a newspaper column, books, and an eponymous magazine, writ far larger than fixing somebody’s leaky basement. The revolution is coming, and the crew-cut 47-year-old with the bib overalls and Popeye forearms is nominating himself as its leader. “I’ve taken on the world,” Mike Holmes proclaims. “I’m the guy who throws the bricks and blocks through the windows. I’m the guy who makes things happen.”

The story of Mike is a well-polished monologue. It begins with his father Jim, a “jack of all trades, master of none,” who begat a repair prodigy. At six, Holmes will tell you, he helped rewire the family home in Toronto’s east end. At 12, he refinished his first basement. At 19, he was running a contracting company with 13 employees. By 21, he owned his own firm. The family, which includes an older sister and younger brother, was poor—“Kraft Dinner and hot dogs on a daily basis”—but happy. “Doing things right the first time” was the Holmes way.

The stuff that usually gets left out of the spiel are the grittier details. How he left school in Grade 11 after clashing with his teachers. How he married at 19, became a father at 21, and had two more kids by his mid-20s. How the last big economic downturn in the early 1990s practically wiped him out. As the reno market tilted toward the “bottom-feeders,” Holmes had to sell his company building, then lay off all his employees, and finally sell his car. His marriage imploded. And then, about a month after he and his wife separated, his father died at age 55.

“My dad went down to the basement one night, missed the top step, fell down the stairs and broke his neck,” Holmes says quietly. We’re sitting in the backyard of a split-level in North York. Out front his crew are getting ready to drill holes for a geothermal heating system, a project that will be part of the upcoming season of his new show Holmes Inspection.

His mother Shirley died a few years later at age 56—she had a heart condition, but it was the medication that killed her, says Holmes. The losses have left Canada’s favourite contractor with a rather morbid outlook. “Even when I was younger, I said that I’d never make it to 60,” he says. That’s why he’s in a hurry to break ground on his first Holmes Community in Okotoks, start fixing the reserves, build the business and a legacy for his own kids. (All three work for him, although the eldest, Amanda, is on maternity leave, having recently made him a grandfather.) “It’s a different focus. It means that I’ve got to accomplish everything I want to accomplish by that age. I’ve got 13 years left.”

The TV stardom that fuels those grand ambitions came about through serendipity. A decade ago, Holmes took on a side project building sets for an HGTV how-to show, Just Ask Jon Eakes. Michael Quast, then the director of studio programming for Alliance Atlantis, now the Holmes Group CEO operations, figured the stagehand was a star-in-waiting. “He came in with veins popping out on his neck, and diarrhea of the mouth, talking about how he was sick and tired of seeing people get screwed by contractors. I said, that’s a great concept for a television show and you should host it.”

It took more than a year to get Holmes on Homes off the ground. Pete Kettlewell, who started off doing sound for the show, moved on to be the director, and is now CEO media for Holmes’s company, recalls the particular challenge of finding reno victims. “Nobody wanted anything to do with Mike. We couldn’t get into anybody’s house to film.” In desperation, they snapped a picture of their electrician, Frank Cozzolino, bent over on the job, and plastered his plumber’s butt on flyers asking consumers if they were “tired of getting a bum deal.” Holmes himself handed them out along busy Toronto sidewalks and in Home Depot parking lots.

Most people thought the home makeover trend had already peaked when the show finally premiered in the spring of 2003. But Holmes’s version offered some new twists. “You’re in trouble, and we’re going to save your ass, and you still get the kitchen,” says Kettlewell. “The hero and the villain. It’s the best story arc there is.” And then, there were Mike’s surprising talents in front of the camera: passion combined with an almost comical anger. The “reveal”—the entirely unscripted moment where Holmes peels back the wall and explodes at what lies underneath—quickly became his trademark. “He’s a natural,” says his former director. “I would just say one word, like ‘kids,’ and he’d go on a tirade, ‘Jesus Christ, that’s right! There are kids in this house!’ ” Holmes’s frequent malapropisms like “escape goat,” (or, as he tells the native teens in reference to the dinosaurs, “mass distinctions”) were also part of the charm. Soon, the show was drawing more than 300,000 viewers, 10 times HGTV’s usual audience.

But it wasn’t all smooth sailing. In 2005, just after the fourth season wrapped, there was an acrimonious break with the show’s co-creator and original producer, Scott Clark McNeil. It’s one of the few things the loquacious Holmes isn’t keen to discuss, although he makes it clear that hard feelings still persist. “I’ve learned in my life that a virus is a bad thing and you want to get rid of it.” Kettlewell, who was a long-time friend to both men, likens it to a high school power struggle. In the end, McNeil was bought out, Kettlewell stayed, Quast came in, and Holmes became the unquestioned master of his destiny.

There were some obvious ways to grow: finding more foreign markets for the show, expanding into books and the magazine. But the real challenge was identifying a more lasting way to make money. “You can’t build a sustained business on television,” says Quast. “My vision has always been that the television pieces should ultimately be construed as advertising for the primary business.” The answer was that they wouldn’t just fix homes—they would start designing, building and inspecting them.

Quast foresees a time—perhaps as soon as 2016—when his star no longer does series TV, just big-time specials like his 2009 Gemini-award-winning Holmes in New Orleans, which would suit the contractor just fine. One of the prime motivations for wrapping production on Holmes on Homes last year, after seven seasons, was to free up Mike’s time. As the reno-rescues got progressively larger and more complex, Holmes was shackled to the job site by a concept that demanded he be in almost every shot. In the new show, Holmes Inspection, which premiered in October 2009, he’s more of a foreman, leaving the grunt work to his crew. (This past summer, he took a vacation for the first time in years, and spent weekends cruising Georgian Bay on his new 30-foot Bayliner, dubbed Wake it Right.) Although there has already been some job-creep as the show enters its second season, as Kettlewell is fond of saying, “Mike’s sweat is gold.”

With the foundation poured, Holmes and his partners think they’re primed to really start capitalizing on his celebrity. In July, the Holmes Group struck a deal with Time Warner to distribute his magazine across the U.S. (The first 200,000 copies hit newsstands on Nov. 16.) A new distribution deal has just been struck with BBC World, putting the shows into northern Europe and the Middle East. (It’s already available in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Germany, the U.K. and South Africa.) Revenues are up 35 per cent for 2010, and the company recently hired a CFO and a director of human resources in anticipation of rapid expansion. There are plans to push the Holmes Inspection business into the U.S. by the end of 2011. And Holmes is even talking about building his homes in China.

However, getting over the first hurdle is proving a lot more difficult that Holmes ever envisioned. Wind Walk, the company’s prototype green development 20 km south of Calgary—ultra-energy efficient homes, geothermal heating, waste and grey water recycling—has been in a holding pattern for months. Officials in Okotoks (the town boundary is across the road from the proposed 457-home site) have raised questions about traffic, water use and density, and have tied the project up in appeals to the province. Holmes doesn’t mince words about his opponents. “The truth is that it’s simply the bigger dick syndrome. There were a few council members that didn’t like me telling them no.” The real issue, says the TV star, is his refusal to hook into the town’s water and sewage system, denying the town the ability to levy taxes on the development. “All I had to do was cave and I would be building it now,” he says. “It’s something I didn’t expect, but once the first one is done I won’t have these problems.”

Holmes is confident that he will prevail sooner or later. And given his immense popularity, it’s hard to imagine he’s wrong. His 2006 book Make it Right: Inside Home Renovations, recently became HarperCollins’s second-best-ever-selling Canadian title, surpassing Wayne Gretzky’s 1990 autobiography. A grip and grin photo op with Holmes is coveted by politicians of all stripes (see his trip to Copenhagen). And his reputation as a no-nonsense straight shooter has even translated into entreaties to run for office. “I have been tempted, but I wouldn’t do it,” says Holmes. He declines to identify the party, but in the next breath expresses his personal admiration for Stephen Harper.

Of course, not everyone is a fan. It doesn’t take much poking around the Internet to find anti-Mike postings by contractors and, more recently, home inspectors, outraged by his perceived blackening of their professions. (By Holmes’s estimate, only about 20 per cent of people in the business qualify as “good guys.”) When he’s out filming in the Toronto area, his former competitors occasionally have unkind words to share as they drive by in their pickups. And that home in the countryside west of Toronto, that he shares with Anna, his girlfriend of eight years, now has a high fence and security cameras—although that has more to do with people who like him a little too much.

Holmes’s partners, having helped build a brand that stands on the integrity of one man, openly worry about somebody with an axe to grind trying to take him down. “Everybody’s not as nice as he thinks they are. He trusts everyone,” says Kettlewell. These days, Holmes uses a driver, especially for nighttime functions. And he’s been repeatedly warned to steer an extra-wide berth from the women who show up at his hotel, hoping to engage his sympathy, or something else. So far, the press has been kind, but they could turn at any moment. “We know what the cycle is,” says Kettlewell. “They want to burn you, and have you rise out of the ashes again. But that burning hurts.”

The letters and thick packages of documents come in at a clip of about 20 per day, enough to necessitate a daily trip to the post office. The emails rise and fall with the seasons and broadcast schedule. Five hundred per week during the summer, 1,000 in the fall, closer to 1,500 near Christmas. Since Holmes on Homes started appearing on the U.S. version of HGTV last April—all seven seasons, in high rotation—the majority of pleas for assistance are now from south of the border. Like the Illinois family left with a half-finished addition when the builder walked away with their last $20,000. Or the Pennsylvania woman writing on behalf of her mother, a double-breast cancer survivor, whose drafty house needs a new roof, porch and insulation in the attic. “Mr. Holmes, please help make it right in this lifetime for her.”

Amanda Heath, the Holmes Group communications coordinator, who spends much of her time triaging the requests, sums them up thusly: “Everyone has cancer. They’re unemployed. And they have mould in their mobile homes. It’s actually pretty demoralizing to read them.”

Most supplicants don’t understand the reality of a TV show, especially a Canadian one. The job sites are almost invariably within easy driving distance of Toronto. (Any time the shows have travelled, it was planned out months in advance.) There’s an emphasis on new and interesting screw-ups. And the victims need to be both articulate and telegenic. Those whose tales of woe make the short list get interviewed on videotape by story producers. The case gets pitched to Mike. The problem is researched, preliminary plans and budgets are drawn up. Then the network gives it a thumbs up or down. The process often takes months.

These days Holmes tries to insulate himself from the emotional turmoil. “The hardest thing I’ve had to experience since all this started is reading all of these stories,” he says. He’s stopped going to homes between shoots and offering free advice like he did during the first seasons. Although he knows that any time he makes a public appearance there will be at least one family there literally crying for his help. “These people are in desperate trouble. They are in financial trouble. And that hurts because I can’t help,” he says. “My staff tries to protect me from myself. Protect me from all this hardship. That weighs heavy, believe me.”

The desire to fix everything has slowly given way to a wish to lead by example. Build the sturdiest, greenest homes possible. And then set up programs to teach others how to do the same. The reserve rebuild will serve as a pilot project not just for Canada, he hopes, but for struggling communities around the world.

The idea came about in Copenhagen, during a conversation with another member of the Canadian delegation, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo. “I’m like a lot of men,” says Atleo. “My wife’s a big Mike Holmes fan.” With an estimated 80,000 new homes needed in Aboriginal communities across Canada, the pilot build—probably about 10 houses, with the host reserve to be announced later this month—is modest, but the goals are lofty. Plans and information from the project will be made available through a First Nations Centre of Excellence. And eventually, a training program focusing on green construction techniques and sustainable design. “It’s about building capacity,” says Atleo. “We’ve got to start somewhere.”

Holmes, in trademark fashion, is a little pissed about how long it’s all taking to get organized. He may cite the project as a big part of his legacy, but he’s approaching it just like any other reno, chomping at the bit to get his hands dirty. “Don’t just talk, walk,” he squawks across the quiet North York backyard. There are even bigger things in the pipeline, Holmes hints, something he won’t be able to talk about until March. The to-do list stored on the iPhone in his pocket is three pages long, he tells me. And the clock is ticking.




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Mike Holmes wants to fix the world

  1. "The real issue, says the TV star, is his refusal to hook into the town's water and sewage system…"

    No–the REAL issue is that Southern Alberta's relentless population growth is finally butting heads against the finite water supply here. The water supply has simply been maxed out. Regardless of how 'green' Holmes' plans for water reclamation are, they simply aren't sustainable. (Read up more, and you'll see that his plan involves using groundwater, with an environmentally-dubious plan to 'return' treated, USED water to the aquifer.)

    Like other developers, Holmes is trying to sell Canadians the fallacy that endless housing construction is 'sustainable,' if 'smart growth' and low-flush toilets, higher density, etc. are part of the package. This simply isn't the case. Less than 5% of Canada's vast land area is arable, and that land is being gobbled-up by housing. Water resources are already severely stretched. Calgary's metro area is runing out of landfill space, as Toronto already has (most unrecyclable landfill waste is construction detritus). The root cause of this is Canada's absurdly high immigration intake: HALF A MILLION people annually (250,000 permanent and the same number of 'temporary' immigrants), the only purpose of which is to keep banks, Real Estate Income Trusts, developers (e.g., Holmes) and builders in the warm bodies which garrantee endless and environmentally-unsustainable housing starts. Holmes can paint Wind Walk as 'green' as he wants, but it is anything but.

    • How about they look at making Golf Courses illegal? They (among other industrial users) are extremely high volume users of fresh water.

      There is no way I believe the myth that Southern Alberta has maxed out their water supply. It is extremely mismanaged.

      And yes, I used to live in Southern Alberta, so I do have some idea of what it is like. Far from being green, it more brown than anything. And your red herring of immigration stats has NOTHING relevant to add to the conversation of water use. I highly doubt that they are all moving there and using up your water building houses.

      Pete

      • http://www.saskriverbasin.ca/file/Fall02e.pdf?PHP

        Population growth, and its effect on things like water consumption, are as real as climate change; however, they aren't spoken of in polite company.

        There are too many people in Alberta, as is, for the given water supply. While not as acute as the American Southwest (where non-replenishing aquifers are increasingly supplying the region's bulging population supply), this is a deadly serious issue. 'Mismanagement' is the real red herring, here–between irrigation, industrial uses AND household use, water rights in the province are already spoken for. More eficient use, etc. will merely tweak out a few percent of capacity.

        Everyone's sticking their heads in the sand, over the issue of mass immigration, either because it's the PC thing to do (mustn't object to 'diversity,' after all), or–like the real estate-financial complex–because they're making money off of it. You simply can't keep adding half a million people to Canada's metro areas, and not expect severe environmental consequences. More people in the country (and, specifically, the Calgary metro area) means more household water use, more irrigation for local food production, more industrial and energy-related water consumption…and, yes, more golf courses–PERIOD. While I respect Holmes' integrity as a contractor, he's pushing Wind Walk to make a buck, and anyone buying into his 'green' mantra is guilty of stupidity.

        • Population growth is a problem so I hope you're not having any kids.

          We need continued immigration to feed our economy with our aging population. If Canadians are willing to take a huge hit to their lifestyles as they get older and retire then, sure, let's cut down on immigration.

          Most immigrants don't come from countries where golf is a popular past time so if more golf courses are being built, you can put the blame elsewhere.

          And sure, Holmes is going to make big bucks off this project. We live in a capitalist society. Doesn't mean he can't try to be a little more ecologically sensitive at the same time or do you think that in order to be green a person has to be a communist?

    • Mike Holmes has been told buy the MD council he has to find more water and he as top do something with the sewage but he keeps geting in the national press like this and makes it sound like he has no problem. The reality is his name does not even appear on the land title for this land he talks about. So what is this project really about? Its about Mike Holmes putting his name on it and making money, he could care less about the water supply of sewage contamination because when that day comes he will be long gone! This guy is nothing more than a fast buck artist!!!!

  2. I"ve always found him kind of pinkly angry and frightening, and it seems many of his saviour renos are done on awfully wealthy looking homes in Toronto area.

    But I applaud his efforts on First Nations, and I admire that he's truly a self-made man. Come on, Mike, help out a few single parents now and then; renovate a house that isn't worth a half-million on the market.

    • Good call!

  3. Hey Mike —

    We love your show!!!
    How about starting a "Holmes on Homes" Technical Institute we sure could use one in the states.

    All the best!

  4. Too bad he's an ecotard promoting the Global Warming fraud!

    • You can't actually argue this wothout insulting, can you?

      • That's because the only arguments the luddites have are insults.

  5. He may have detractors and may be a little over the top in some portrayals, but at least he has people thinking about quality and making a change for the better (for housing initiatives, etc).

    Show me someone else (one person or a group) that's working as hard and as visible as his organization that is trying to make a change for the better.

    • Um, Jimmy Carter?

  6. it never ceases to amaze me how there are people who love to trash talk other people doing good things in this world without one single intelligent comment of rebuttal. congratulations to all the ignorant haters who have nothing to offer to society.

    the sustainability part of the wind walk project for example are products and methods to make the house self-sufficient so it doesn't consume finite resources. examples being geothermal heating to use the natural, never-ending heat in the ground to heat an cool houses. solar panels to generate electricity to power appliances and lights. grey water systems RECYCLE water in a house so that the shower water you use gets treated to flush your toilets. it isn't completely sustainable, but its a giant step forward.

    i'm not arguing that alberta has maxed out. i simply don't have any knowledge on the subject. but instead of complaining what the "real issues" are, how about you help solve the problems that are at hand instead of trying to make him look like a fool when he's in fact doing way more to help this country, world, people than the average bear

    • The water treatment system proposed by the Holmes group has already been panned as a threat to the groundwater (via contamination). Okotoks will also be on the hook for traffic and other demands on its infrastructure, right next door and without tax revenues, from this bedroom community. Yes, this is less terrible than most new developments, but it would still be better to have an absolute moratorium on new developments. If the feds slam the brakes on our eye-popping immigration intake (500,000 during the last recession, including thousands of elderly, sickly people and known criminals), this would be possible. People like Holmes could be 'greener' by devoting his efforts to retrofitting EXISTING housing, of which there is already a glut of in Calgary's stagnating market. Of course, this wouldn't make him as much money. Seriously, if people people want to make homebuilding 'green,' the best way is to quit building so many houses, for so many hundreds of thousands of people. For the sake of our environment, developers have to go the way of asbestos mines and the immigration intake has to be sharply reduced.

      I'm not trying to impugn Holmes' work. He seems like an honest man, who takes pride in his craft. His books and magazine and TV series are excellent, with a lot of good info that I've made use of. He appears to genuinely care for people. And he should be given credit for embracing leading-edge tech, like living roofs, which other contractors are too cheap, chicken and unskilled to touch. However, he IS out to make money, just like everyone else, and doing so (i.e., by building a housing development for exburban commuters) conflicts with environmental concerns. Wind Walk simply isn't environmentally 'friendly,' and no amount of PR will fix that. And, for someone appealing to the Common Man, Holmes should realise that local democracy means people DO have a right to say "not in my back yard."

    • If Holmes is having so much trouble with his Wind Walk project where he is trying to build it (politics are unfortunate but understandable), has he considered moving the project to a native Canadian/aboriginal reserve instead? I'm sure they might be more willing to embrace his assistance and help (especially if they have a great need), the project might be completed sooner, and Holmes can show the world his idea on how to build or renovate communities to be environmentally friendly and hopefully with as little to no drain/impact on the environment.

      Once he completes the first community, on a reserve or elsewhere (many are afraid to be first), and can show it in reality (presuming it is successful), other people, communities, and nations may show interest. And if water and sewage planning and permits are the problem, has he already considered adding one or more water and sewage experts to his team (since these are basic planning necessities)?

  7. Right on Josh, first "big picture" thinking comment I have seen on the subject. If all the houses in Okotoks or anywhere else around the Calgary area were to be built the same way the water use would be diminished substantially. There is already a community in Okotoks that uses geothermal/solar technology and it is the way housing needs to be built. Putting anything to do with global warming aside, it is just a smarter way of using the earths resources Period.

  8. Okotoks doesn't disagree with the "Green" concept of the WindWalk development. They applaud it! They disagree that their neighbour, the MD of Foothills, is allowing the intense urban development development to develop on Okotoks' doorstep against their joint inter-municipal agreement. This new community would suck Okotoks' services without paying their share of the additional costs of new infrastructure. Present Okotoks residents would effectively subsidize the parasitic new development. Sorry, Mike Holmes, but WindWalk is a great concept in a wrong location.

    • If Holmes is so Hell-bent on going eco, why doesn't he start by rehabilitating EXISTING developments? Examples include places like Seebe, or some of the aborted condo projects around Calgary? So many chipboard, hemlock and vinyl specials that could use Holmesization. Since he's so crazy about living roofs, he should be promoting them to commercial users. I remember seeing a news report about a hog farmer, who spent tens of thousands a MONTH on AC costs. For something like that, living roofs would save a whack of money, and CO2 to boot. This would be a far better 'green' project than some exburban bedroom community for Calgary yuppies.

  9. I think Mike Holmes has definitely got a lot of Canadians and even Americans aware of the issue of building green. Over 60% of the energy consumed in the U.S. is simply spent on heating and cooling buildings be they commercial, residential or industrial. There is a very good article in 'Fine Homebuilding' an American magazine on the wrong direction taken there and how we lost direction in the 80's with cheap energy. All of these McMansion behemoths we have built in such a severely cold climate and all concerned with getting the most square footage. It will be long way back the path we should have taken in the '70's but I am glad Mike Holmes will be leading the way. Shame on the ignorant fools that begrudge the guy for preaching what is right, all buildings can be built with heating/cooling efficiency in mind.

  10. Great article! You should've started your green project here in the USA….with Obama's push for clean energy, and many of our trades have been doing that for years, you would have been welcomed with open arms here. My husband just designed a green building & was the GF on the construction of it—his Union's Apprenticeship Training Center….it's a 100% green building in the Midwest, 1st one and the prototype for all the others which will now be built nationwide. We could've used you here, Mike !

  11. really like the article,I really like the part about frank Cozzolino wat a joker .Allways bending over to show you his good side..laughing my butt off.. :)

  12. Mike holmes is not interested in changing the world, Mike Holmes is interested in building an empire and making money, just like every other so-called shady contractor out there. He says he's protecting the consumers from these bad contractors, who's protecting consumers from Mike Holmes? He's making a LOT of money off the backs of trusting consumers. Who checking up on Mike Holmes? Look at the amount of money he charges home owners to "FIX" what HE calls bad contracting work, by scaring the home owners into think they're home is not safe, they got a raw deal from their contractor, etc….I think trusting and innocent home owners are falling for it and getting taken financially by Mike Holmes. He's not in this to make the contracting industry honest, he's out to make money and build his fame and empire just like every other celebrity. Ask some of the home owners who've had work done by him, they'll tell you how unhappy they were with him and the money he sucked out of them.

    • Its money that would have doubled if not corrected by Holmes. I have seen alot of crap work out there by in a hurry contractors who want to do it quick and move on to the next job & gets done inadequately. the money its costs to correct these less than proper builds will be a whole lot more if left unchecked ,that is often the case.

  13. God bless Mike Holmes! Even though we spent nine months of 2010, our last $10,000 on computers to do tens of thousands of hours of computer 3d rendering to make a presentation just for him, and we're still not sure whether he ever saw it because we never heard from him personally, that doesn't for a second negate all the good he's done for other people who his people think need the help more than we do. Yes, it would have been nice had he seen our presentation and thought enough of all the work put in to turn us down personally, or not to be completely ignored since, but obviously the amount of requests he gets makes communication impossible. I just hope that the people he does end up helping really appreciate their good fortune as much as they appear to and sometimes more. They've managed better odds than winning the lottery. Good luck with everything you try to do and may those around you be truly there for you Mike Holmes! Live forever, the world needs you!

  14. It’s not just the contractors, it’s the inspectors and the geo tech engineers who sign off on everything without a second thought about the work that was actually done.  I bought a brand new home in a new subdivision on a terraced lot that was backfilled then filled with water to compact it and two weeks later a slab was poured then a house built, my house…….of course when you are looking at spec homes you never know that  geo grid was required in the subdivision terraced lots and it was signed off on but never put in. Now of course the foundation is failing but it would cost 22,ooo dollars just to hire a lawyer to look into it not including court costs. Where is the responsibility of inspectors who okayed everything…they are not going to carry any cost.  Just the homeowner, there should be a place for the consumer to get help especially here in the west in Southern Utah where poor management of the industry has left many a homeowner holding the sinking and cracking homes and empty retirement accounts because they have been borrowed against to try to fix the problems and strained marraiges trying to deal with the sight of lovely home falling apart.  Everyone who buys a home here should be required to watch Holmes on Homes where poor foundations were dealt with. It’s been 7 years now and I try to get used to seeing the cracks in a place I fell in love with and to try to see my blessings in all other areas of my life, but I tell you it’s hard, really hard. 

  15. They must not pay him much if he bought a Bayliner aka Baysinkers.

  16. Regarding Holmes getting “it done” near Okotoks, AB….. well this article is from December 2010, now it is July 2012….. he isn’t getting anything done. He can’t figure it out….. he isn’t welcome here. Green communities are great….and rural communities invented renew, reuse, recycle. But keep your “city” out of our “country”….. Go Home Holmes!

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