Comment – Joe Public is a fraud…

It’s time to fight back against the blame and claim culture.

Personally, I blame the Americans and their ambulance-chasing, “where there’s blame there’s a claim” litigious culture. Because it seems that every action is now potentially accompanied by a financial claim.

Inclement weather is the fault of politicians; obesity is caused by advertising (and not, apparently, by fat people stuffing junk foods in their engorged gullets); and each tiger death is directly attributable to the Chinese government because it presides over a large population of men suffering with erectile dysfunction.

But nowhere is this more evident than in the field of demolition, where blame and claim has largely replaced the NIMBY (not in my back yard) stance of our forebears. Today, demolition works are often welcomed with open arms because local residents sense the opportunity of a fast buck.

These claims range from the broken window in the immediate aftermath of an implosion, through “disturbance caused by constant noise” and laundry tarnished with demolition dust, to cars damaged by debris left on the road.

And what do all these claims have in common? Yes, they are all virtually impossible to disprove. That window might have been broken for months; that laundry might have just been dropped on the ground; and that car might well have been a barely mobile wreck long before it came into contact with two ounces of dirt on the road outside a demolition site.

Worse still is the fact that demolition contractors are morally obliged to take all such claims seriously, often resulting in a financial pay out of some kind. No demolition company worth its salt wants to be seen by a client to be anything but considerate.

But much of this is a scam.

In the run-up to a tower block implosion, I have seen residents in neighbouring blocks hanging out their laundry just prior to their evacuation with the full intention of making a claim when they return to find their clothes “mysteriously” sullied by demolition dust.

Maybe it’s time for demolition contractors to embrace this blame and claim culture themselves and to greet each false claim with a counter-claim for emotional distress caused by fraudulent claims from local people.