Using permaculture ethics & design principles to transform an old energy guzzling bungalow into a showcase of sustainable design. It's about energy cycling, building community, self-reliance,creatively using & reusing materials... all without spending heaps of money.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Vandalism

Principle 4: Apply self-regulation and accept feedback

I believe that I have had a pretty good run when it comes to vandalism. The house was empty for about six months before I really started working on the site. During that time the house was broken into once and the place was smashed up a bit. A glass pane broken, some walls and cupboards damaged, a door broken... I reported it to the police and spoke to my neighbours. I also left a note for any unwelcomed guests, suggesting that they find something else to do, and that the property was being watched.


Kitchen cupboard kicked in and wall damaged by vandals in November 2008

I have made an effort to greet people as they walk past, and speak to people who show an interest in what were are doing here. There has been some fantasitc feedback - 99% of it positive. Since I have been on site regularly, and engaging with the locals, nothing has been damaged and nothing stolen.
After the cladding went up I noticed a couple of plums thrown against the wall, but didn't think much of it. Then today I got a call from Chris (from Chris's Timber), whom I bought building materials from, telling me about some vandalism. Anxiously I visited the site to find graffiti plastered across the front of the house. It seems that not everyone likes to see something different.
Fortunately nothing seems to have gone missing, except for a can of spray paint (silly of me to leave it there). Again I reported it to the police, gave them the spray paint lid with fingerprints on it (which may help identify who did it) and spoke to some neighbours. We are not far away from getting the house to lock-up. That's a priority for me now.
In resolving the current problem (graffiti) I found a suggestion on WikiAnswers that I use regular oven cleaner to remove it. Other suggestions include lacquer remover, kerosene and WD40. Interestingly, colorbond is coated with a layer of 'grease/oil' to protect it during transportation - and the surface it is said to be almost impossible to get paint to stick to. Maybe it's not as bad as what I first thought... I'll test it out and see what happens.


Vandalism on south wall, facing street 


Vandalism on west entry wall

UPDATE
8th December 2009 - I managed to clean the whole lot off! Using lacquer remover initially (which was a bit harsh) and later methylated spirits. It took about 2 hours. Looks almost as good as new.
10th December 2009 - The incident made it into the local newspaper.



3 comments:

Chris said...

It's not a nice feeling when someone seeks to destroy something you've created with your own hands.

We used to have regular vandals when we lived in town, pulling palings off our front fence.

At least you can go on to do better things, like building with your hands again. They couldn't even bring their own can of spray paint to vandalise your home, LOL.

Best of luck with the clean up and getting the house to lock up. :)

Anonymous said...

Got to be a teenager.

No doubt a local.

I'm sue they will come back to the scene of the crime.

Make sure you snarl at every kid who walks past just incase it's them.

I the meantime I'd try WD40 apparently it fixes everything.

Good luck, Jeff.

Gina said...

My heart goes out to you; I can imagine how you felt. To a sensitive person, that feels very personal, a violation of sorts.

The problem is universal and I don't think it's been studied enough.

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