Rebuild is on after building company's collapse
QUEENSLAND'S building industry regulator has paid out insurance payouts worth more than $790,000 following the collapse of G.J. Gardner's North Ipswich franchise.
The Queensland Building and Construction Commission regional service centre manager Jenny Phillips said it was "clear" the impact of the builder going bust in January was still being felt.
She said 20 families had been the recipients of insurance payouts since then.
Nurse Peggy Hockey prepaid her builder $188,000 for the fit out of her home in Mount Alford before G.J.s North Ipswich collapsed, sending the build and her life into turmoil.
Mrs Hockey and husband Ron will move into their dream home in a couple of weeks but do so without any furniture, having spent the $30,000 set aside to complete the builder.
Although positive and relieved they can finally move in, they are still out of pocket about $100,000 and Mrs Hockey drew $40,000 from her superannuation to get things over the line.
Ms Phillips said consumers building a new home or undertaking a renovation could learn important lessons from this experience.
"Prepayment is illegal, if your builder asks for prepayment ahead of a building stage this should be seen as a warning sign and it's wise to consult a lawyer," she said.
"While the building work is covered by the Queensland Home Warranty Scheme, money you hand over in advance as a prepayment is not covered by the scheme.
"If a builder or licensee is found to have taken prepayment, they can be fined up to $6527.50.
"There are rules against builders demanding excessive deposits. Generally, if the cost of your building work is $20,000 or more, the maximum deposit allowed is five per cent of the total contract price. If the contract price is between $3300 and $19,999, the maximum deposit is 10 per cent. Licensees can face disciplinary action for taking excessive deposits, including fines of up to $13,055."
For the past financial year, the QBCC issued fines to more than 100 licensees for demanding excessive deposits.
"The Queensland Building and Construction Commission's insurance scheme exists to protect consumers when builders go bust or fail to fix their defective work," Ms Phillips said.