The Melbourne Magistrates’ Court has fined a person $10,000 for carrying out building work without being a registered builder, or having a building permit and insurance.

The man was prosecuted and found guilty of the charge of carrying out domestic building work illegally for a Prahran homeowner without even a written building contract. The charges were laid by the Victorian Building Authority.

The man lied to the Prahran homeowner that he had the necessary permits and paperwork, and that he was working under another builder’s registration. He had earlier been convicted of similar charges and found guilty at the Ringwood Magistrates’ Court in 2009 where he was fined $3,000 and ordered to pay $8,076 in costs.

He has pleaded guilty to all the latest charges.

VBA’s Compliance and Performance Director, Murray Smith explains that this case demonstrates why property owners should make sure they only use a registered builder and that they have a building permit for the work.

As per current rules, all domestic building work in Victoria costing more than $5000 must be done by a builder who is registered with the Building Practitioners Board (BPB); it is also equally important to document the arrangement between the parties in a written major domestic building contract.

According to Mr Murray, hiring a registered builder will ensure the homeowner receives the services of a professional who meets the legal requirements and has the insurance and skills needed to do the job properly.

Victoria laws require nearly all building work, including most alterations and demolitions to have a building permit. A registered building practitioner not only understands these requirements but can also assist the homeowner to obtain the requisite approvals and permits.

VBA’s Chief Executive Officer, Prue Digby adds that the VBA takes non-compliance matters seriously and will always initiate appropriate action. Homeowners seeking to engage a builder should first ask to see their official BPB registration card, which can also be confirmed online on the VBA website.