Building's critic-in-residence reviews a typical week's assortment of built environment programming
Once upon a time, television used to show actors and journalists performing for our information and gratification. These days, of course, the cameras are just as likely to be installed in our own living rooms. These days, we make our own entertainment. And aren't we fascinating? Every trivial domestic detail, from our avocado bathroom suites to our dealings with plumbers is raw material for the television industry. Can't sell your house because you've painted every internal surface chocolate brown or bile green? Five million people want to take a butchers.

Any comments one might make on the narcissism of the viewers, the inexpensiveness of the actors or the laziness of the producers would, however, be futile – the public knows what it likes. So let's get out the chips 'n' dips, pull up the pouffe and settle down for some construction-related fun.

First up is Builders From Hell. Actually, they were from Laing O'Rourke, and they'd spectacularly failed to ingratiate themselves with a shoe-shop owner, whose premises (which had been in the family for generations) had slipped into the excavation next door. It would appear that underpinning party walls was not the project team's forte. Oh well, what's a tragedy to you is an anecdote to everybody else …

More schadenfreude followed, courtesy of a hapless couple had bought a swanky "executive" box on a new housing estate. The problem was that the house had been built on a filled-in quarry. Not a very well filled-in quarry, alas, as the house began to tilt to one side and developed several alarming cracks. Luckily, it was covered by NHBC warranty, so the organisation offered to buy the house back. Amazingly, the couple decided they wanted to live on that precise spot even if they had to build a new house every couple of months.

No disaster zones in Britain's Best Home, aired on Channel 4. Just the reverse: developing your own home, it seems, consists simply of coming up with a great concept (usually involving "space" and "light", qualities that presenters coo over endlessly) and watching it mysteriously materialise. One subject this week was South African psychology student Debbie Isaac, and her Hampstead dream house – every cubic metre of which was crammed full of space, so she was onto a winner there – although the fact that an architect might have had something to do with it was strangely overlooked.

Sadly, modern talent here was no match for Britain's love of the flouncy and the floral – a head gardener's cottage in Leicestershire, a traditionally restored building of a type normally inhabited by hobbits, was voted top of the three houses paraded that evening. In the last programme of the series, viewers will vote for the best of the seven finalists. My money's on Bag End.

For DIY SOS, broadcast on BBC2 on Thursday, we were once again in domestic transformation land, in a format effortlessly transferred from Charlie Dimmock's gardens. Here, three self-confessed DIY bodgers – "Some people are just not naturally endowed with talent, and I fall into that category" – were saved from self-inflicted disaster by one of programme's roving teams of professionals, suitably decked out in purple or green T-shirts.

The ensuing alterations were presented as pure knockabout fun – a Laurel and Hardy show where the end product is an inexplicable triumph rather than another fine mess. This show should come with the standard Blue Peter warning not to try it at home. On second thoughts, that would be the most efficient way of generating more raw material.