'It's too hard and too big': Is this the toughest Block yet?
THE Gatwick Hotel may not be the biggest building renovated on The Block, but it comes with its own quirks challenging enough to leave amateur renovators shell-shocked.
Nine's long-running reality reno show returns for a 14th season, and five fresh-faced teams will have just 11 weeks and a budget of $220,000 to transform the notorious Gatwick into five luxury apartments.
"It's not the biggest building we've ever done but it's the biggest construction we've ever done. There's 150 tonne of steel going in which is an enormous amount of steel," host Scott Cam says. "I think people are pretty shell-shocked by this build.
"When it was a timber-framed home (like last year) it was achievable... but I think these guys are looking at it as almost unachievable; it's too hard and too big and too much concrete and demolition."
At least the teams had the advantage of knowing where they would be renovating before filming started, right?
"Our contestants are still surprised by the amount of work required," Cam says.
"They knew they'd be renovating the Gatwick but when you speak to any of the contestants they (admit) never really realising how intense it is and how quickly they have to make decisions on the spot.
"It's all well and good on paper but when you get here and see the space you start to second guess yourself. You've got to make hard and fast decision on The Block or else you come unstuck."
The teams will compete in a 48-hour kids' bedroom challenge to determine who gets first pick of the apartments. Each has a different aspect and size, with the largest apartment boasting a mammoth 100sqm open-plan living and dining area.
Three of the apartments are located within the old, heritage part of the building while two grand penthouses will be newly constructed on the roof.
The choice isn't as straight-forward as viewers may think. The two rooftop properties are clean slates with no heritage features, while one of the lower apartments has a safe with hidden 'booty' inside.
As always, Cam acts as mediator, sounding board and disciplinarian.
"There have been lots of meltdowns, but just internal meltdowns within couples as opposed to couple versus couple," he says.
"Spencer our master craftsman had a complete meltdown in week one and wanted to leave. I said 'Mate you've been here three days, calm down'."
Shelley Craft returns as co-host along with judges Neale Whitaker, Shaynna Blaze and Darren Palmer, foreman Keith Schleiger and his right-hand man Dan Reilly.
The Block premieres on Sunday at 7pm on Channel 9.