Stan Giaouris, the 387th person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers, found a novel way to gain experience during his two decades as a builder – he worked 80- to 100-hour weeks, which meant he was able to learn twice as fast as the average person.

Stan worked his way up from cadet to co-owner of a construction company with an eight-figure annual turnover. Along the way, he discovered that it’s hard to make money in the industry – margins are low, staff can be unreliable and some clients consider the payment of invoices to be optional.

So Stan exited the construction company in early 2018 and started a new business, The Construction Adviser, which does residential building defect inspections and building advisory. As a former builder, Stan is the ideal person to spot potential flaws in buildings.

You may have heard reports that they don’t build them like they used to – which turns out to be true.

Stan says he would be wary of purchasing a property that was constructed after the 1990s, because building standards have slipped and it’s become harder to find staff (which has forced building companies to hire lower-quality employees).

As a building inspector, Stan recognises that he benefits from slipshod work. So, as a way of giving back to the industry, he works as a part-time lecturer at University of Technology Sydney, and provides extensive industry training, where he aims to instil high standards in the next generation.

That said, Stan says things are already improving, thanks to regulatory changes that mean the directors of property development and architectural firms can now be held personally responsible for their companies’ work, even if the companies have been liquidated.

Stan is a nice guy and a straight-shooter, and also self-aware. Stan says that when he was younger, he lacked empathy and could be dismissive of people. However, practising his faith held up a mirror to his behaviour; and becoming a father made him want to become a better person. So he’s worked hard (and continues to work hard) to become more considerate of others.