Posted by LNA Master Landscapers Association
on 16 May 2016
A salient example of the need to hire certified professionals for all landscaping and building work has arisen recently and has been drawn to the LNA's attention by NSW Fair Trading.
A Central Coast man has been convicted for building insurance fraud after falsifying a Home Building Compensation Fund certificate for residential building work, valued at almost $500,000.
The unfortunate victim of this fraud contracted Mr Warren Beckhouse, the sole Director of Wamberal Beach Constructions, to construct a home in Winston Hills. Under current legislative requirements, Mr Beckhouse was obligated to obtain a certificate of cover from the Home Building Compensation Fund as the work was valued at more than $20,000. Mr Beckhouse pleaded guilty to falsifying this certificate and forwarding it to a private building certifying firm who subsequently issued a Complying Development Certificate allowing construction to begin.
Unfortunately, the fraud only came to light after Wamberal Beach Constructions Pty Ltd went into liquidation. It was only after the owner attempted to switch builders that he realised he had not received a copy of the Home Building Compensation Fund certificate and enquiries showed Mr Beckhouse had falsified documents to get work under way and this voided the owner's compensation fund protection. The owner has since contracted new builders to complete the work but not without considerable financial loss.
This example demonstrates the need for consumers to ensure they protect themselves by hiring fully qualified and certified professionals when engaging contractors to complete work, especially when that work is of a substantial financial value.
NSW Fair Trading Commissioner, Rod Stowe, said that the Home Building Compensation Fund scheme was designed to provide protection for the benefit of consumers.
'For your own protection, always check that a valid insurance certificate has been obtained by your builder for the work you want done', Mr Stowe said.
To check that your Home Building Compensation Fund certificate is genuine you can visit the Home Building Compensation Fund website by clicking here. If you don't find your certificate on the system you should contact Fair Trading as soon as possible and do this before work starts or you outlay any money. Without your certificate, you will not be able to be compensated for defective or incomplete work in the event of the death of the builder, the builder disappears or becomes insolvent.