Builder 'rented' qualifications

COLLAPSED building company Designer Homes Wide Bay used the licence of a builder who has admitted he had nothing to do with the business.

Neither director Ben Hayhoe nor Justin Ryan was a registered builder, but they skirted the rules by using bricklayer Francis Wiseman's Building Services Authority licence number on their paperwork.

“They were just salesmen - I was lending them my licence,” Mr Wiseman told the NewsMail.

Other than providing his credentials on paper as the company's nominee, Mr Wiseman said he had nothing to do with the business.

He said he knew other builders who had also “rented” their licences in exchange for money or a house, but he only did it so that his sub-contractors could keep their jobs after the previous nominee quit the company.

“It is a bit silly; I wouldn't do it again,” Mr Wiseman said.

The company's liquidator, Ross Duus, has slammed the practice, saying it led to poor-quality building work. He said the company's books showed it lost about $700,000 within months, as building faults started to show.

“They were owed about $300,000 on the books, but no one was paying them because of their shoddy work,” he said.

“There were cracks in buildings, poor plastering - it showed a complete lack of knowledge of the building industry.”

Mr Duus said he had seen the same situation with other failed builders, and had raised it as a concern with the Building Services Authority (BSA).

“A doctor can't lend his name to a bricklayer to do an operation - so why should a builder be able to rent his licence to someone with no building industry experience?” he said.

BSA general manager Ian Jennings said for a company to obtain a BSA licence, it must have a nominee who is a director, secretary or employee.

“The nominee is the technical expert of the company, and along with the directors, is responsible for implementing a system of supervision to ensure the company does not perform defective building work,” Mr Jennings said.

“The nominee can be fined if it is proven that the company's system of supervision is inadequate.”

When asked if the nominee of Designer Homes Wide Bay was investigated after the firm collapsed, the BSA could not reply in time for publication. Mr Wiseman said he had not been investigated.

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