Renovator left with big hole in budget

Anna Murphy stands amid the debris left by her first builder.
Anna Murphy stands amid the debris left by her first builder.

The job entailed laying a double-wide glazed concrete driveway and path down the side of the house, and the removal of a chimney, and when the builder said he required $7000 upfront as payment for the chimney, she did not hesitate to pay the money.

However the builder, who has previously been prosecuted by the WA Building Commission, ignored specific instructions not to remove the chimney if there was no wall behind it, leaving Ms Murphy with a massive hole in the side of her house.

Now, after being left with a half-finished job that required the employment of a second builder to complete, she wishes she had asked more questions up front .

‘I guess I just wanted to get the job done quickly, and he seemed to know what he was talking about,’ she said.

‘Looking back at it now, I should have checked him out more before I made the decision to employ him.’

Ms Murphy’s case is being investigated by the Building Commission. Commissioner Peter Gow said it was vital that residents not only did their homework, but also knew their rights.

In this financial year alone, the Building Commission has received more than 600 complaints.

Mr Gow said checking the qualifications of the builder was vital.

‘If you are thinking of engaging the services of a builder, do your homework at the start to avoid headaches during the building process,’ he said.

‘In most parts of Western Australia it is illegal to carry out building work valued over $20,000 without a registration.