Calm Living Homes has taken the lead in exposing the epidemic of unlicensed trades people who are putting your home and the safety of your family at risk.
It’s easy to get tempted by a quote that seems very cheap but if something is too cheap to be true it probably isn’t. Genuine tradespeople see the handiwork of fake tradies all the time, because they get called in to pick up the pieces. Shoddy work that looks terrible and installations that don’t function properly or are outright dangerous. Sometimes the problem is not obvious until something goes wrong and often the homeowner is none the wiser.
Andre Engelmayer from Calm Living Homes estimates that “20 – 25% of all work is performed outside the licence system”. One of the side effects of this, says Anton, is that legitimate “builders are going broke because they are under pricing jobs to keep their own trades busy”.
If you inherit a home with poorly done work you can have difficulty obtaining compensation even if one of your family is injured as a result of this. The problem is that the sale has taken place and the original owner may not have known anything was wrong. This is why a professional building inspection is an absolute must before you buy. One solution Anton proposes, is that 10% of each legitimate trade invoice be put for a short time into a interest generating government run fund to cover the increased cost of inspections. The tradesperson still gets fully paid, the industry gets cleaned up and the homeowner is protected.
One simple way to protect yourself is to ask to see any tradespersons licence before they begin work and take a photo of it with your phone. The other thing is to simply be suspicious or ask for more detail on any quote that that seems very cheap. In the words of Jane Garret the Victorian Consumer Affairs Minister “If someone’s offering to do it dirt cheap you may well get a dirt poor job…When things go wrong the effects can be absolutely devastating. It’s not just an issue of heartbreak or lost money or your home not looking right, it’s an issue of safety”