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A Perth driveway company and its director have been ordered to pay almost $50,000 in fines, compensation and costs after pleading guilty to multiple building offences affecting five properties.
A total of 30 charges against Antique Asset Pty Ltd and its sole director, Sergio Demali, were heard at Perth Magistrates Court on 17 March 2023 following prosecution by Building and Energy.
The matters include ignoring official orders to fix defective or incomplete work, seeking excessive deposits and other home building contract law breaches.
The court was told the company was engaged to provide concrete services at properties in Scarborough, Caversham, Alkimos, Ellenbrook and Port Kennedy.
In each case, a 50 per cent deposit was demanded or received before work commenced, which is more than seven times the 6.5 per cent maximum allowed under the Home Building Contracts Act 1991. The five contracts and subsequent variations were also not signed by both parties as required.
The Building Commissioner later issued building remedy orders for the Scarborough, Caversham and Alkimos properties, requiring Antique Asset to repair driveway defects such as cracks, slurry, levelling and inconsistent colours and textures. However, the company failed to comply with any orders, breaching the Building Services (Complaint Resolution and Administration) Act 2011.
Magistrate Andrew Matthews fined Antique Asset $25,000 and Mr Demali $5,000 for ignoring the remedy orders, in addition to fines of $6,250 and $4,000 respectively for the excessive deposits and other contract breaches.
Compensation of $5,537 for the Ellenbrook home owner and prosecution costs of $3,097 were also awarded. The Building Commissioner previously issued enforceable payment building remedy orders for the other home owners.
His Honour noted that although Mr Demali was overseas during some of the breaches, “the buck stops with him” and that it was “all too common” for works not to be completed properly when consumers tried to create their dream homes.
Antique Asset and Mr Demali were previously the subject of a consumer warning by Building and Energy and Consumer Protection. Consumers are encouraged to research traders, seek independent reviews and be familiar with their rights before signing a contract or paying any money.
Building and Energy Executive Director Saj Abdoolakhan said the regulator would continue to take action against unscrupulous building service providers.
“This legislation is designed to protect consumers by ensuring their contracts are robust, large deposits are not at risk and work is completed to the required standard,” he said.
“Disregard for the rules is unacceptable and undermines confidence in the entire building sector.”
Media contact: BEmedia@dmirs.wa.gov.au