During a tour of bushfire affected communities on the state’s North Coast, NSW Labor Deputy Leader and Shadow Minister for Building Reform, Yasmin Catley, has warned bushfire survivors to beware of shonky builders and tradespeople as the rebuilding effort begins in regional and rural towns up and down the coast of New South Wales.
“While some regions still face severe bushfire risk, other fire-affected communities whose homes and towns were ravaged by fire as far back as September will already be looking to the future and planning the rebuilding effort. It’s essential that bushfire survivors are careful who they engage to undertake repair or rebuilding works at their fire-affected properties,” Ms Catley said.
While insurance companies will often engage tradespeople or builders directly on behalf of policyholders, the uninsured or underinsured may find themselves having to project-manage their own rebuild efforts.
With many regional or rural communities being completely devastated by bushfire, it is likely that builders and contractors from out of area will move in to meet the surge in demand.
“Anyone engaging a builder or licenced tradesperson can check the credentials of their contractor by going online to the Service NSW website. This crucial check takes mere minutes and could avoid the heartache and financial loss of dealing with a shonky builder or unlicensed tradie,” Ms Catley added.
“Unfortunately, while many in our community, across the state, pull together to support the survivors of a natural disaster, some unscrupulous operators see a way to make a quick buck. Nobody who has been through a bushfire disaster should have to worry that they will be swindled during their rebuild.”
“We need Fair Trading to be on the ground in fire-affected communities speaking to people who are planning to rebuild and helping them avoid the pitfalls of engaging shonky builders who seek to make a quick buck during this crisis,” Ms Catley said.
Licence checking tools are available online for contractors and tradespersons via https://www.onegov.nsw.gov.au/LicenceCheck/
You can also check to see where a builder has undertaken recent projects in your local area by using the Home Building Compensation Check tool via https://hbc.onegov.nsw.gov.au/.