BEST OF SERIES: Families in limbo as QBCC suspends licence
The Observer is taking a look back at some of our most popular and most shared stories from the last six months.
This story was originally published on January 17, 2020.
IT WAS a tough start to the new year when subcontractors found out they were in the lurch and couldn't contact a Gladstone builder.
A list of bills allegedly owed by Absolute Homes is slowly coming to light.
The Queensland Building and Construction Commission is now involved and has suspended the licence of John Thomas O'Sullivan, trading as Absolute Homes, without notice.
Several subcontractors and at least one former employee say they have been left in imbo, after phone calls and messages to the builder went unanswered after Christmas.
A QBCC spokesman said it has received complaints for moneys owed by the company to subcontractors to the value of $50,000.
A spokesperson said when QBCC made inquiries, no one answered.
"In this unusual circumstance, in order to safeguard the industry, the QBCC suspended the building licence of John Thomas O'Sullivan (trading as Absolute Homes) from Gladstone without any notice," a spokesman said.
"The company now has 21 days to bring them into compliance with the law."
Gladstone subcontractors Mitchell Bettiens and Tyson Johnstone claim to be owed $25,400 between them for unpaid work dating back to October.
Mr Bettiens, who is hoping to retire in the next six months, said this isn't the first time he's been in this situation, and isn't confident of seeing the money he is owed.
In the process of building his own house and with a second child on the way, Mr Johnstone was especially disappointed with the lack of response by Absolute Homes.
"It's like you going to work for three weeks and not getting paid a cent," he said.
A former employee of Absolute Homes who did not want to be named also said he is owed money for wages and entitlements.
Greta Tenheggeler of Tenheggeler Homes said she had heard several stories from their subcontractors about the hardship they are experiencing.
She said her company was focused on supporting those affected.
"Ex-clients (of Absolute Homes) can nominate a builder such as Tenheggeler Homes through the QBCC to get the process moving faster to complete any half builds," she said.
"We can simply do a quote to finish off their homes, and get started with a stress-free process."
While the extent of how new homeowners have been affected remains unclear, the advice from the QBCC is the same as for the subbies; get in touch as soon as possible.
"Any homeowner or subcontractor who believes a licensee has caused them financial harm, or who has a complaint about a licensee's behaviour, should contact the QBCC as soon as possible through the website or by phoning the QBCC on 139 333," the spokesman said.
The Observer made several attempts to contact Absolute Homes without success.