WITH zero building experience, they thought it was a miracle when they made the cut.
Then renovation rookies Polly, 24, and Waz, 28, discovered they’d have to survive the first week to earn building rights on The Block.
It’s one of the first twists in WIN’s home renovation show.
For starters, the couple ( pictured) from the Sydney suburb of Coogee is among eight couples vying for the right to renovate four houses.
Four will be cut in suddendeath challenges from tomorrow night when the show starts airing in its stripped fivenights-a-week style.
And then there’s the scale of the renovations the four successful couples will have to perform. This time it’s houses, not apartments; with gardens, facades and no running water.
As builder-turned-presenter and The Block host Scott Cam says: ‘‘ It’s not a renovator’s dream, it’s a renovator’s nightmare.’’
But Polly and Waz, one of eight couples selected from thousands of applicants, just want a shot at the dilapidated workers’ cottages, which sit side by side in the inner Melbourne suburb of Richmond.
The couple entered at the insistence of Polly, who’s a fan of the show. They couldn’t highlight their renovation skills in the fiveminute audition tape, ‘‘ basically because we don’t have any’’, she laughs. ‘‘ We painted our apartment and it was probably the worst 48 hours of my life.’’
Instead, they highlighted their love of life and willingness to do anything: Waz is operations manager for an ATM company and was preparing for an ironman event when The Block came calling; while Polly, a promotional staffer, completed a couple of triathlons this year, despite protesting she only pretends to be fit.
Now all that remains is for the couple to survive this week’s eliminations and the constant reminders from Cam that time is always running out.
After elimination week, Cam will conduct a series of challenges both on and off site. Some will take them away from their cottages but give them skills and prizes to use back at The Block.
Cam and executive producer Julian Cress started looking for suitable properties last year and eventually found what they wanted: four cottages in a row and in a dismal state. Cam says despite the four couples not having to do their day jobs around renovations this series, there’s plenty to keep them away from their piles of rubble.
‘‘ There are challenges to be met each week and the renovations have new elements,’’ he says.
‘‘ The floor plans are much bigger than before and you have to remember that every house has a front yard and a back yard.’’
But while some things have changed for this series, Cam says that some aspects will always remain the same.
‘‘ I think in all the shows, there’s the same quality of work that’s needed, so you need the same level of expertise. We’ve had that right from the start,’’ he says.
‘‘ The bathrooms aren’t getting more elaborate – they’ve still got a dunny and bath and shower – it’s just how you style them and there are probably some new products on the market.
‘‘ But our teams still have to get in their tradesmen, their qualified people, to do the correct quality of work. That’s how we’re playing it again.’’ The Block, WIN, weeknights, 7pm