26 September 2023

Consumers urged to know their builder

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Building and Energy has called on consumers to check that the builder they engage for work is registered and that they be aware of rules about deposits for home building work.

The call follows the regulator’s prosecution of a Perth tradesman who was fined $10,000 at Fremantle Magistrates Court after pleading guilty to carrying out building work without the required registration, as well as taking an excessive deposit from the home owners.

The court was told the builder was contracted to carry out renovation work valued at more than $96,000 and requested — and received — a 50 per cent deposit. The builder was not registered for the work.

In Western Australia, only a registered building contractor can carry out building work valued at $20,000 or more requiring a building permit.

In addition, the maximum allowable deposit under the Home Building Contracts Act 1991 for residential building work valued at $7,500 or more is 6.5 per cent of the contract value.

Acting Executive Director of Building and Energy, Sandy Randall said disregard for building legislation puts consumers at risk.

“The community rightly expects building work to be carried out correctly and lawfully, given the serious implications for safety and wellbeing,” Ms Randall said.

“The builder registration process aims to ensure that only people with appropriate qualifications and experience can undertake building work.”

She said another important aspect was that only registered builders could take out a home indemnity insurance policy, which must be provided for home building work valued over $20,000.

“This insurance covers home owners for their losses up to a prescribed value in the event of their builder’s death, disappearance or insolvency,” Ms Randall said.

“Likewise, setting a deposit limit reduces the risk to consumers if issues arise during the project. In this case, the home owners paid a deposit more than seven times the amount allowed, which is unacceptable.”

Consumers wishing to find out if their builder was registered can access the Building and Energy website at this PS News link.

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