Breaking the building laws has proven costly for Rockingham flooring installer Jorge Puas, director of JPC Flooring Pty Ltd, who has been fined $12,500 by the Perth Magistrates Court and ordered to pay costs of $1,016.40 to the Building Commissioner.
On 2 October 2015, Mr Puas was found guilty in his absence of five charges under the Home Building Contracts Act 1991 (HBCA) and two charges under the Building Services (Complaint Resolution and Administration) Act 2011 (BSCRA).
The offences committed by Mr Puas related to home building work contracts entered into by JPC Flooring at a Churchlands property in August 2012 and a Yangebup property in April 2013. The court convicted Mr Puas of:
- two charges of failing to provide the home owner with the prescribed notice required under section 4(3) of the HBCA;
- one charge of entering into a contract that provided for Mr Puas to receive a deposit in excess of 6.5 per cent of the total value of work;
- one charge of demanding and receiving a payment that was not a genuine progress payment after the commencement of home building work;
- one charge of failing to ensure the home building work contract was in writing, contained the date and all the terms of the agreement and was signed by both parties; and
- two charges of failing to comply with a building remedy order of the Building Commissioner.
The building remedy orders concerned rectification work valued at $36,358 and $6,900 respectively. Under the BSCRA, a person who fails to comply with an order of the Building Commissioner may incur a penalty of up to $50,000 for an individual and $250,000 for a company for a first offence.
“The Home Building Contracts Act applies to home building work where the value of the fixed price contract is between $7,500 and $500,000,” Building Commissioner Peter Gow said.
“Tradespersons under a home building work contract are not entitled to demand or receive a deposit in excess of 6.5 per cent of the contract value or receive payments from an owner unless the payment relates to work performed or goods supplied. In this case, by failing to comply with the orders and with the provisions of the Act, Mr Puas has cost the owners of these two properties not only a significant amount of money but also time and amenity.
“Owners considering engaging a tradesperson can enquire about their rights and responsibilities by visiting the ‘Building or renovating your home’ section of the Building Commission website www.commerce.wa.gov.au/building-commission or by phoning 1300 489 099.”
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