Builders? licences checked - 24 working illegally
ALMOST five per cent of builders working on the Tweed are unlicensed, but the problem is on the wane, a recent study has found. Reacting to an initial blitz on unlicensed building in May, Fair Trading inspectors returned to the Tweed earlier this month to stamp out unlicensed building. The inspectors travelled to building sites in Kingscliff and Tweed Heads where more than 520 licences were sighted. Out of this, 24 unlicensed builders were detected, at a rate of 4.6 per cent for the area. A spokesperson for NSW Fair Trading Minister Reba Meagher said the State average of non-compliance was five per cent. "The Tweed's rate is an improvement on the previous year's figures," the spokesperson said. Unlicensed builders can face Supreme Court injunctions or prosecution with maximum penalties of up to $22,000. Ms Meagher said it was important to stamp out unlicensed building because it exposed consumers to unnecessary risks and tarnished the reputation of other builders. "In addition to an ongoing program of inspections, I am considering other measures to further strengthen consumer protection," she said. "These include strengthening the licensing system to make it faster and simpler to put a stop to phoenix companies and other dodgy builders who try and re-enter the industry, and increasing penalties for major offences." She said home owners could protect themselves from unlicensed builders by always checking that a tradesperson's licence is valid for the work they are to do. Throughout the region 76 unlicensed builders were caught and issued on-the-spot fines totalling $37,500.