Good morning everyone. I wanted to share a story about what you should expect form a tradesperson. What their legal responsibilities are, and what you should do before you employ them.
This post is about advice on the requirements of Contractors.
I apologise if the links in this web page change over time…
Legal Requirement of Contractors
A tradesperson who is qualified in a certain trade must be licensed as a contractor to operate in NSW. The license is maintained and controlled by NSW Fair Trading.
Many tradespeople are referred, and we all use search engines or the local newspaper.
But it isn’t as simple as that. Word of mouth doesn’t mean much if the contractor isn’t properly licensed, and there are other idiosyncrasies that can catch a home owner out – as I personally found out!
As mentioned above, in NSW tradespeople are tightly controlled by Fair Trading. There are very strict rules about what they can do, and the tradesperson’s legal responsibilities.
The point of writing this is to advise home owners of their rights, what they should do to protect themselves, and how to proceed if there are problems.
Fair Trading have a list of checks that you should do before employing any contractor.
There is much information on what a home owner should do with other topics such as:
- Preparing for building and renovation;
- selecting a tradesperson or builder;
- the building process;
- insurance; etc…
Of significant importance are:
Once a contractor is employed, (particularly if the job is expensive) the home owner should keep a record of all communication (emails, text messages and so on), written documents, signed documents and anything important in discussions.
Should there be any issues with the contractor along the way, the home owner should first consult the contractor and then seek advice from Fair Trading to confirm.
Fair Trading will advise if the contractor is operating according to the law, and can request further information from the home owner or intervene with the tradesperson where required.
If a case needs to be started against the contractor, the home owner then has the option to take it further with Fair Trading and for Fair Trading to take legal proceedings against the contractor. This will require documented evidence (all the information listed above) for Fair Trading to make a case.
Once Fair Trading has intervened in attempt to resolve the matter, a case can then be made with the NSW Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal (NCAT) and the Home Owner can start to seek a work order, a money order, or compensation.
If the Home Owner wishes to seek compensation, or to request completion of work, the Home Owner can start proceedings through NCAT. However a case through NCAT cannot proceed unless Fair Trading has been involved in the matter and an investigation has started or been completed.
Why is this important.
As home owners we are at the mercy of contractors who are doing work on our properties. We don’t always know what should or shouldn’t be done. However Fair Trading is there to protect us, and to provide guidance where required.
When a contractor is prosecuted, a permanent record is made against their license, and their license can be suspended. This is important for you to be able to seek amends, or for other home owners who might be exposed to further shonky work.
My personal case raises this clearly.
In my case, I made a mistake with a contractor because I didn’t dot my “I”s and cross my “T”s to the extent that I should have – even though I checked their license and looked for reviews before using them as my preferred contractor!!!
I thought that I knew what I was doing, but I made a mistake.
I should have known better, but I was too trusting as are many home owners. We must NOT be. Sadly there are too many dodgy contractors out for a quick $.
The final outcome in this case was that I had to pursue this contractor through Fair Trading which I did (I kept all communication mentioned above) – Fair Trading prosecuted this contractor for breaches of the Home Building Act with a heavy fine and a permanent record. We then proceed to the Tribunal (NCAT) where an order was placed against the Tradesperson to rectify issues.
So why check with Fair Trading before you employ a tradesperson?
So that you don’t make mistakes in the first place – like I did – whoops 🙂
I hope this helps everyone else who might read this.
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#fairtrading #tradie #compliance