Fake builder was about to build third Gympie house
THE Queensland Building and Constructon Commission yesterday told of its investigation of a company falsely claiming to be a builder and said its swift action had uncovered two illegally constructed houses in Gympie and a third which was about to be constructed.
The commission issued a statement describing its actions in the prosecution of the company Willock Investments Pty Ltd and how this had led to the discovery of two illegally built houses in Gympie and the issuing of a stop work order on a third.
"The company had provided purported insurance certificates to a third party that were on QBCC letterhead, but were not issued by the QBCC.
"This had the effect of representing that a licencee was the builder on site when this was not the case and that QBCC insurance had been taken out for the site, when it had not been.
"Copies of these certificates were gathered during the investigation, which led the QBCC to uncover two unlawfully constructed dwellings in the Gympie area.
Willock Investments Pty Ltd was convicted of unlawful building work and misuse of a QBCC licensee's licence number.
"The QBCC took swift action to protect prospective home owners in the Gympie area as soon as unlicensed building activity was detected.
"While investigating the entity, the ABCC took the serious step of applying to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal for a stop work order to be imposed against an associated company, set to commence bulding work at a Norman St site."
She advised consumers to check an entity's licence credentials and make sure "they are who they say they are and that they are licensed to do the work they are being contracted to do".
"Anyone can conduct a free online licensee search on the QBCC website at 'www.qbcc.qld.gov.au'.
The QBCC can be contacted on 139 333 24/7, the spokeswoman said.
A MAN who falsely pretended to be a licenced builder has been fined $55,000, plus costs and faces a possible police investigation after falsifying a builder registration document for building two Gympie houses.
Prosecutor Jessie Jagger, appearing for the Queensland Building and Construction Commission, told Gympie Magistrates Court a building inspector had been "shocked at the standard of workmanship" in some houses.
He had said parts "seemed to be held together with gaffer tape or similar material".
She told the court Garth David Pettit had used another builder's certificate as the basis for a false document, which included the appearance of an authorising signature by an officer no longer working for the QBCC.
"It is a ripping off of a QBCC document and a builder and may lead to a QPS investigation," she said.
Mrs Baldwin said it was also an offence against the community and the consumer.
She fined Pettit $25,000 plus costs of $679.60 and penalised his company Willock Investments Pty Ltd $30,000 with costs of $929.60, after Pettit pleaded guilty to falsifying a builder registration document for houses at Shayduk Close and Gympie View Dve.
Pettit and his company faced what Mrs Baldwin said were identical charges, two of using another builder's licence and two of carrying out building work while not holding a contractors' licence.
Ms Jagger told the court the offences, involving houses, were at the high range and a builder's licence was required for all projects worth more than $3300.
Mr Pettit told the court he worked with a builder who prefabricated the houses at his factory in China.
During the process of installing the two Gympie houses, he and the builder had disagreed and Pettit was unable to find other builders willing to take over someone else's project.
He had tried to "cut and paste" a licence and carry on.
"How stupid are you?" Mrs Baldwin said.
"Desperate," Pettit replied. "I made the bad decision and here I am."
Mrs Baldwin said the circumstances were "unpalatable" but Pettit's response was "terrifyingly tragic".
"You took an old document and cut and pasted it to attempt to smooth the process.
"Of course, it was a false document and gave rise to problems.
"Unfortunately, the public don't know. They buy a house and attempt to carry out due diligence. The legislation is there to protect the community and the consumer from sub-standard building."
Mrs Baldwin ordered no conviction be recorded for Pettit, but recorded convictions against the company.