Construction watchdog clamps down on fake tradies
FAKE tradies and scammers taking advantage of flood-affected Townsville residents have been put on notice as the state's construction watchdog undertakes a compliance blitz.
The Queensland Building and Construction Commission will this week send in additional inspectors from Cairns, Mackay and Brisbane to conduct licence checks throughout Townsville.
Commissioner Brett Bassett said scammers and fake tradies were the main targets.
"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," he 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."
The catastrophic flooding that hit Townsville in February caused minor damage to 2063 properties, moderate damage to 1101 properties and severe damage to another 135.
The preliminary estimate for the overall repair bill is $1.5 billion, according to the State Government.
Individuals undertaking unlicensed building work can be hit with fines of up to $45,000 and face time behind bars.
The compliance blitz begins today and inspectors will be on the lookout for any defective building work, and will also be checking that plumbing work has been completed in accordance with the correct standards.
"The deception by these contracting cowboys also takes away from the good work being performed by licensed contractors doing the right thing," Mr Bassett said.
"These jokers undercut quotes from appropriately licensed tradies and unfairly take away business."
More than 1000 contractors have already signed up to the North Queensland Flood Register, a dedicated online database for licensed contractors to flag their availability for flood repair work.
About 52.5 per cent of contractors registered to the database are Townsville locals.
The hipages Tradie Trust Index last week revealed two in five Australians aren't checking the licences of tradies properly, risking dodgy work being done on their homes.