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Warning signs your builder is not registered

With restrictions easing in Victoria, an increase of homeowners will be thinking about organising maintenance or repairs for their property.

To help keep homeowners safe from rogue operators, the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) has released its top six warning signs for identifying an unregistered builder or an unregistered or unlicensed plumber.

Building a house or renovating is often the biggest investment most people will ever make, so it is important homeowners protect themselves from unqualified and unregistered building practitioners and plumbers. This often includes the installation of gas heaters or the construction of walls, both of which can have critical safety risks if installed or constructed incorrectly. Repairing or rectifying non-compliant work can also run into the thousands of dollars, putting added financial strain on homeowners.

In the past financial year, eight per cent of all building complaints and one in ten plumbing complaints received by the VBA involved unregistered or unlicensed work.

The VBA’s top six warning signs for identifying an unregistered builder or plumber are:

  • No results are found when you type their name into the VBA’s ‘Find a Practitioner’ tool.

  • They do not ask you to enter into a written contract before the project starts.

  • They ask for too much money up front or at each set payment stage. By law in Victoria, a deposit can be no more than five per cent of the total project cost (for projects over $20,000).

  • They are not prepared to tell you about, or show you, examples of recent work or provide contact details of their former clients.

  • They cannot or will not show you their VBA ID card – which details who they are and what classes of work they are registered (or in the case of plumbers, licensed) to do.

  • They don’t provide you with a copy of their domestic building insurance policy or a certificate of currency covering your property before construction begins.

Victorians can visit to make sure their builder or plumber is registered or licensed.

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