$242,700 in fines for rogue renovator

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Complete Ceilings and Renovations Pty Ltd (deregistered by ASIC) and its director Mark Edward Straw of High Wycombe have been fined a total of $242,700 as a result of prosecution action by the Building Commissioner.

The Midland Magistrates Court found the company guilty in its absence of 10 charges under the Home Building Contracts Act 1991, two charges under the Building Services (Complaint Resolution and Administration) Act 2011 and one charge under the Building Services (Registration) Act 2011. The company was ordered to pay fines of $215,300, costs of $570 and $9,855 in compensation to a York property’s owner.

As the director who consented to the company’s actions, Mr Straw was found guilty in his absence of four of the company’s offences and was ordered to pay fines of $27,400 and costs of $430.

The company’s offences relate to contracts entered into for home building work at four properties, in York, Midland, Jane Brook and Langford, in 2014 and 2015. The contracts ranged between $15,000 and $33,000 in value and involved kitchen, bathroom and other renovation work.

Most of the offences were contractual and included entering into contracts that provided for the company to receive a deposit in excess of 6.5 per cent and accepting non-genuine progress payments. The other offences were undertaking to carry out builder work without the required registration and failing to comply with two building remedy orders.

“While the majority of builders act in accordance with the building laws, some builders like Mr Straw do not do the right thing,” Building Commissioner Peter Gow said.

“Home owners can protect themselves from entering a non-complying contract by ensuring that, if the home building or associated work is valued between $7,500 and $500,000, they receive and fully understand the information in the prescribed ‘Notice for the home owner’ before they sign the contract.

“This notice outlines the requirements of the Home Building Contracts Act and should be provided to the owner by the builder.”

Further information for home owners is available on the Building Commission website at www.commerce.wa.gov.au/building-commission/building-or-renovating-your-home.

Mr Straw was prosecuted by Consumer Protection in February 2014 for accepting a deposit for work but failing to complete it in a reasonable timeframe (read the media statement at www.commerce.wa.gov.au/announcements/tradesman-fined-taking-deposit-and-not-doing-work-mark-edward-straw-marks-ceilings).

Consumer Protection had issued warnings about Mr Straw’s conduct in June 2013 (www.commerce.wa.gov.au/announcements/consumer-warning-about-dodgy-tradesman-marks-ceilings-renovations-mark-edward-straw) and November 2015 (www.commerce.wa.gov.au/announcements/second-warning-about-dodgy-tradesman-mark-straw-complete-ceilings-renovations).

The company was deregistered by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission on 11 December 2016.

Mr Gow said, “The Building Commission will continue to hold to account and name those who put the public interest and the reputation of the building industry at risk.”

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Media release
21 Dec 2016

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