Fake tradies operating as part of Townsville’s flood clean-up are being targeted by Queensland’s building regulator.
The Queensland Building and Construction Commission is sending in additional inspectors from Cairns, Mackay and Brisbane to conduct licence checks throughout Townsville, starting today.
QBCC commissioner Brett Bassett said scammers and fake tradies were the main targets of the compliance blitz.
“The QBCC conducts random compliance audits regularly throughout the state, but with Townsville residents currently in clean-up mode and local media reports of people being ripped off, we will be on the hunt for these particularly brazen perpetrators,” Mr Bassett said.
“It’s despicable that anyone would try and take advantage of homeowners who have been hit by disaster.
“We’ve heard reports of scammers claiming to be licensed contractors when they’re not, and of fake tradies taking cash from unsuspecting victims.
“There are significant fines for people caught performing unlicensed building work (and) individuals can be hit with fines of up to $45,000 or even face prison time.”
Mr Bassett said homeowners could report unlicensed contractors to the QBCC by phoning 139 333, but he said there were also other precautionary steps they could take.
“Always ask to see a contractor’s QBCC licence, and then check the licensee’s history on the QBCC website www.qbcc.qld.gov.au,” he said.
“It’s also important to use a compliant contract for any building work, and this will state that a legal deposit is 10 per cent for contracts valued under $20,000 and 5 per cent for contracts valued over $20,000.
“So remember, don’t pay more than you need to during the building process.”
The QBCC has also set up an online database for licensed contractors to register with if they’re available for flood repair work.
Mr Bassett said homeowners could search that database and find local licensed tradies.