If you are getting a home built or hiring tradespeople to do work on your property there are some things you can do to help protect yourself if things go wrong.
Who you hire
Always hire registered or licensed tradespeople for restricted building work and check they have the right experience for your job. Make sure you have good communication with your tradespeople at the outset, including getting quotes or estimates, so everyone knows what is expected.
All businesses must ensure that the information they provide to you in their agreements (contracts or spoken), and through any advertising, is not misleading.
When you are provided with a quote for a job you should be able to rely on this when making a decision on which business or tradesperson to use. An estimate is the nearest price or range that a business can give based on past experience. If there is going to be a significant variation from the estimated price they should make this clear. It is good practice for you to get quotes and estimates in writing even though the law covers oral or written quotes or estimates.
Example: The Commission issued a warning to a roofing company that stated in its quotations that the product it was installing for customers was 'Colorsteel' when in fact it was another brand of roofing.
Claims about qualifications or skills
If a building company or individual is claiming to have a particular qualification or to belong to a trade body, you can check independently with that organisation that they are a member and that their membership is current.
Example: A building firm was suspended from the Registered Master Builders Federation as a result of a complaint made about the quality of work on a property. Despite the suspension, the firm continued to represent that it was a member of the Registered Master Builders Federation and that customers would receive Master Build Guarantees for work it had undertaken. In other instances the firm accepted payments for Master Build Guarantees but did not forward the applications and payments to Master Build Services until physical construction had begun on site. As a result, when the firm subsequently went into liquidation, some customers were not covered by a Master Build Guarantee. The directors of the company were convicted, fined and ordered to pay reparation.
Example: In a separate case a director of a construction business was fined and ordered to pay compensation to complainants for making false representations about providing Homefirst building guarantees to home owners.Two of the complainants discovered faults in building workmanship which may have been covered by the guarantee, but as the director failed to make the application for the guarantees it meant they didn’t receive the independent cover that they should have.