High Wycombe builder fined after failing to fulfil contracts

A HIGH Wycombe tradesman has been found guilty of failing to fulfil contracts with his clients after agreeing to undertake building works which were not completed.

The Midland Magistrates Court found the company guilty in its absence of 10 charges under the Home Building Contracts Act 1991, two charges under the Building Services (Complaint Resolution and Administration) Act 2011 and one charge under the Building Services (Registration) Act 2011.

Mark Edward Straw of High Wycombe was ordered to pay fines of $215,300, costs of $570 and $9855 in compensation to a York property owner. Straw was also fined $27,400 and costs of $430 after he was found guilty in his absence of four of the company’s offences.

Those charges relate to offences from contracts entered into for home building work at properties in York, Midland, Jane Brook and Langford in 2014 and 2015. The contracts ranged between $15,000 and $33,000 in value and involved kitchen, bathroom and other renovation work.

Most of the offences were contractual, providing for the company to receive a deposit in excess of 6.5 per cent and accepting non-genuine progress payments.

The other offences were undertakings to carry out builder work without the required registration and failing to comply with two building remedy orders.

Building Commissioner Peter Gow said most builders act in accordance with the laws, but some like Mr Straw do not do the right thing.

“Home owners can protect themselves from entering a non-complying contract by ensuring that, if the home building or associated work is valued between $7500 and $500,000, they receive and fully understand the information in the prescribed ‘Notice for the home owner’ before they sign the contract,” he said.

“This notice outlines the requirements of the Home Building Contracts Act and should be provided to the owner by the builder.”

Further information for homeowners can be accessed at the Building Commission website at www.commerce.wa.gov.au/building-commission/building-or-renovating-your-home.

Consumer Protection has previously issued warnings about Mr Straw’s conduct in June 2013 and November 2015.