This last few weeks have seen some out of the ordinary experiences for me, appearing on This Morning for a Builder’s Bum competition, filming a ‘taster tape’, doing some press interviews – and all have centred around the phrase “lady builder” which I use both in my social media and in ‘real life’.
I do and have done so many different things in the world of property that when someone asks me what I ‘do’ for a living, it’s a tough question to answer in one word. I’ve dabbled in property sales & marketing, self-manage a portfolio of lettings, do design work for clients….. but the thing that I always come back to is that I love getting mucky and being on site – renovations, new builds, it doesn’t matter as long as we’re in building mode. My sites, clients sites, I’m happiest getting stuck in and making sure things are being done properly.
A few people (men!) have questioned my skills and right to call myself a lady builder, which in equal measures amuses and irritates. Last week when we pitched up at This Morning, the security guard looked up at Mr M’s broad shoulders and though I was the one to say we’re here for the builders bum comp, he addressed Mr M with a smile and a good luck mate. His face when Mr M pointed down at me and said ‘She’s the builder’ was a treat. As was the lad who came down to get us, the guy who came to do the release forms and even Gino D’Acampo exclaimed ‘You’re a builder?!’
That sort of stuff is funny, water off a duck’s back, but having run a specialist building company, renovated & worked on hundreds of houses and personally done just about every different manual job on site at one time or another, it irritates me when people say ‘Yeah, but you’re not a ‘real’ builder are you?’ Grrrrrrrr
What is a ‘Real Builder’ anyway? Someone who trains as a brickie, a plasterer or a plumber and then sticks to that trade all their life? Someone who builds a number of extensions then comes off the tools to run a company with employees? Someone like Steve Morgan of Redrow Homes who trained as a site engineer then built up a nationally recognised company but possibly stopped getting his hands dirty sometime in the 70’s (sorry Steve 😉 )
There are a number of dictionary definitions:
Builder.com says this:1. a person who constructs something by putting parts or material together over a period of time.2. a person whose job is to construct or repair houses, or to contract for their construction and repair.My Oxford English says this:1. a contractor for building houses etc.: a master builder2. a person engaged as a bricklayer etc on a buiding site