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Dodgy Builders

By 12 April 2012 19

I have been having a lot of issues with my builder and he could not complete the house on time and on budget and within the quality that i was expected. The more i talk to people the more i realise that this is very common in the ACT and most of the time people give in to them as thye use bullying and blackmailing techniques , going to court costs a fortune. I will not go into to much details about the issues as it is too long to enumerate.

I am currently discussing this with a lawyer but i would like to have the opinion of other people that have had similar issues and got a favorable resolution from the court.

Lastly i would like to know if there is a lobby group that could help as this sort of behaviour has to stop because it is putting the livelihood of people at stake.

Any help would be appreciated.

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19 Responses to Dodgy Builders
#1
Holden Caulfield11:11 am, 12 Apr 12

It’s one of those scenarios where at first you’re really glad to hear you’re not alone, only to end up still feeling crap about the whole situation.

We’re currently enduring a lengthy renovation/extension saga as well. So far, though, we’ve not had serious concerns about our builder being dodgy, he’s just a pretty crap project manager.

Good luck!

#2
rosscoact12:08 pm, 12 Apr 12

If he is a member of MBA or HIA, the first thing you need to do is lodge a complaint with the organisation. In my experience they take this sort of thing seriously

#3
deejay1:29 pm, 12 Apr 12

If your contract includes any sort of right to arbitration by a builder’s body, exercise it. Don’t get me wrong, you won’t necessarily get much joy from the process itself, but builders *hate* arbitration. They can’t work while they’re in arbitration, and they’ll sometimes get the work done at any cost to make the whole thing go away.

#4
JeanPierre92:47 pm, 12 Apr 12

he is not a member of mba or hia.

#5
dpm3:27 pm, 12 Apr 12

JeanPierre9 said :

he is not a member of mba or hia.

Well then, sounds like your current avenue of a lawyer was the right choice. It’s likely to get expensive though. I guess it will come down to how well things were specified in the contract you signed i.e if there is any room for mis-interpretation or ‘semantics’.

#6
JCincanberra8:03 pm, 12 Apr 12

Hi, this is my first post to the Riot Act.

I sincerely hope you guys get the homes you wanted and paid for.

This really scares me, as i have just moved to Canberra and am in the process of buying a house. I am buying a fixer-upper becasue that’s what in my budget :(.

Does anyone knows of any businesses/tradespeople that do painting as well as building repairs? It’s a long shot but if the one person could do both that would be easier and one wouldnt have to be waiting for the other to finish their work before moving on, etc etc.

My grannie used to have a bloke who helped her out but this was a long time ago.

#7
thatsnotme8:21 pm, 12 Apr 12

JCincanberra said :

Hi, this is my first post to the Riot Act.

I sincerely hope you guys get the homes you wanted and paid for.

This really scares me, as i have just moved to Canberra and am in the process of buying a house. I am buying a fixer-upper becasue that’s what in my budget :(.

Does anyone knows of any businesses/tradespeople that do painting as well as building repairs? It’s a long shot but if the one person could do both that would be easier and one wouldnt have to be waiting for the other to finish their work before moving on, etc etc.

My grannie used to have a bloke who helped her out but this was a long time ago.

Are you at all handy? I’m assuming that you’re buying this house to live in, and not just renovate and sell, so time will be less of an issue.

Particularly something like painting (talking internal here, external is a bit different) isn’t hard to do, and the prices I’ve heard people talk about for someone to come in and paint a house blow my mind. You could save thousands by doing it yourself.

Sorry if that’s no help – unfortunately I don’t have any names to give you.

#8
thatsnotme8:23 pm, 12 Apr 12

JeanPierre9 said :

he is not a member of mba or hia.

Although I’m sure it’s cold comfort to you, if nothing else this thread has taught me that if I ever need a builder, I’ll make sure they’re a member of a professional association before taking them on!

I hope things can work out for you.

#9
Spykler9:22 pm, 12 Apr 12

thatsnotme said :

JeanPierre9 said :

he is not a member of mba or hia.

Although I’m sure it’s cold comfort to you, if nothing else this thread has taught me that if I ever need a builder, I’ll make sure they’re a member of a professional association before taking them on!

I hope things can work out for you.

Forget professional association memberships, they pretty much all are members of one and it doesn’t ensure dispute resolution. Went to both the HIA and MBA after our house was finished and they showed very little interest in our problem. Next time we build, I will be getting some serious word of mouth on what builder is the best to go with, its the only way to reduce risk.

#10
Jamie Wheeler9:59 pm, 12 Apr 12

Can’t say I’ve actually heard a good building experience in Canberra. There’s the odd good tradesman about but generally they’re very few and far between. Bad builders and tradesmen appears to be a feature of Canberra. With any luck the forecast of a heavy fall in building and renovation work will happen this year. With all the government cut backs there should be an impact. This time there’ll be no school building program to keep the housing industry propped up artificially. It’s about time they experienced some competition for work requiring decent service to customers.

#11
rosscoact10:24 pm, 12 Apr 12

Jamie Wheeler said :

Can’t say I’ve actually heard a good building experience in Canberra. There’s the odd good tradesman about but generally they’re very few and far between. Bad builders and tradesmen appears to be a feature of Canberra. With any luck the forecast of a heavy fall in building and renovation work will happen this year. With all the government cut backs there should be an impact. This time there’ll be no school building program to keep the housing industry propped up artificially. It’s about time they experienced some competition for work requiring decent service to customers.

I’ve had nothing but excellent experiences with licensed builders who are members of associations. That’s not to say that they don’t get things wrong but when they do they fix it and we all get on with our lives.

#12
Holden Caulfield11:12 pm, 12 Apr 12

thatsnotme said :

JeanPierre9 said :

he is not a member of mba or hia.

Although I’m sure it’s cold comfort to you, if nothing else this thread has taught me that if I ever need a builder, I’ll make sure they’re a member of a professional association before taking them on!

I hope things can work out for you.

All the best in your hunt for a “professional” association of any relevance or influence to builders.

#13
DanielK10:53 am, 15 Apr 12

Jean Pierre,
I am basically in the same situation, but with a swimming pool. I have spoken to a property lawyer who advised that putting in a small claim (unto $10,000) to the adminand Civil Tribunal (ACAT) maybe a cost-effective first step. Intend to do this after the job is finished. If the claim is successful, other, more contentious issues could be referred to a higher court.

I have involved the Swimming Pool and Spa Assn (SPASA) from the first examples of poor delivery. At first they were helpful, but it took a fair bit of convincing of their CEO, before he could see that his member was bringing the Assn into some disrepute – which they do not like. It takesssome time and good documentation.

its not just us poor residents that are being ripped-off by some in the building trade. An architect friend has also described to me the difficulties of dealing with a well-organised body who ride roughshod over the whole industry.

However I have found or heard of a relatively large number of good builders. It’s a shame that there is not a place where we can find good honest builders and tradesmen who may charge a little more but that provide good quality work and customer service. How does one organize such a listing without getting bogus testimonials or bad references from difficult clients? A Choice for the construction trade?

#14
JeanPierre95:00 pm, 18 Apr 12

I am thinking that it is about time to start to name and shame these builders and tradies, let me know what do you think?

#15
6matt95:25 pm, 18 Apr 12

JeanPierre9 said :

I am thinking that it is about time to start to name and shame these builders and tradies, let me know what do you think?

My wife and I are in the process of getting quotes for an extension. We’ve had trouble with builders committing to giving us a quote so I have no idea what it’s like when they’ve actually started the job.

I endorse a name and shame. People deserve to know who is dodgy. On the same token I’d appreciate it if anyone can recommend any good builders they’ve dealt with. In the infant stages of our project I’d like to at least get someone who is going to do the right thing all the way to the end.

#16
mtb_rider5:26 pm, 18 Apr 12

JeanPierre9 said :

I am thinking that it is about time to start to name and shame these builders and tradies, let me know what do you think?

The list would be too long! :)
Just list the good ones – that’ll keep things nice and short – and support the builders/tradies doing quality work

#17
mezza765:45 pm, 18 Apr 12

mtb_rider said :

JeanPierre9 said :

I am thinking that it is about time to start to name and shame these builders and tradies, let me know what do you think?

The list would be too long! :)
Just list the good ones – that’ll keep things nice and short – and support the builders/tradies doing quality work

I’d love the RA to put together a section for lists of things like this. My partner and I are looking to build next year and it’s just pot luck. A section listing good builders, good tradies, good car mechanics, good eats, etc would be handy for both the newbie and Canberran alike. I’ve been here for over 10 years and some things are still a tough call on who to use and who not to use.

As a last note, i’d avoid the name and shame for legal purposes- not point having yourself or the RA sued for defamation.

#18
birder6:44 pm, 18 Apr 12

On these notes, is there anything like an Angie’s List in Canberra (or Australia)? We had a major home renovation project in the US and picked a builder with an A rating on Angie’s list. He did not want his rating messed up so he dealt with all the problems quickly and effectively.

http://www.angieslist.com/

#19
DanielK8:35 pm, 18 Apr 12

John boy, has RA previously considered listing preferred service providers?

R recommendations would need to Be somehow vetted to stop self promotion and the like.

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