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What’s in a number?

At this time of year, with freezing temperatures outside and more than a little doom and gloom in the news, this slightly lighter story caught my eye.

It’s the kind of tale that highlights that whatever business you’re in, it’s important to have the right systems and processes in place. Some things need to be double-checked and maybe even triple-checked before you take action.

Steve Ballas thought he owned number 200 Marion Street, in suburban Sydney. That’s what it said on his letterbox, after all, and he’d owned the house for fifteen years. But it turned out that unbeknownst to him, his house was in fact 198 Marion Street.

This is unfortunate because the owner of number 200 had engaged a demolition company to knock it down. Since Mr Ballas had number 200 on his letterbox, I’m sure you can predict what happened next.

The Australian businessman was at work when he received the call from his neighbour, telling him his house was being flattened. Of course, he thought his neighbour was joking, but sadly for Mr Ballas, he was deadly serious.

The best thing about this story is that the unlucky homeowner managed to be fairly relaxed about it – he wasn’t living in the property at the time, which may have made the demolition error easier to bear.

He told the press, “The owner of the [demolition] company was on another job and raced over here when he heard; he was speechless.”

“He was looking at it and looking at me, and I just said, ‘There’s nothing you can do…no one was hurt, this is going to be a thing we laugh at one day’.”

The demolition company said they were “devastated” by their serious blunder. Workers had checked the properties but failed to spot the number on the post box of the house they were meant to be demolishing because it was covered with junk mail.

The owner said, “From now on I’m going to have to be more specific, and put better precautions in place before we go in and demolish a building.”

You assume this kind of thing could never happen and yet it does. It just goes to show that it’s always a good idea to look over your working practices from time to time to ensure they’re sound and that you have the right checks in place.

On that note, if there’s anything at all we can assist you with please do get in touch.

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