Cyclone Marcia blows in rogue tradies, Master Builders warns
PEOPLE with cyclone-damaged homes are being warned to watch out for dodgy contractors looking to take advantage of their misfortune.
Central Queensland regional manager for Master Builders, Dennis Bryant, said they had heard a number of stories about dodgy contractors travelling to the area since Cyclone Marcia hit.
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"I think we all have the scam artists and the take-a-quick-profit types following disasters," he said.
"In the same way we have people who decide that it's a good time to loot someone's property because there's no one there, there's always somebody wanting to take advantage of a disaster situation.
"Generally we find people who are doing it are not licensed, they're not qualified contractors."
One way you can identify a dodgy dealer is if they ask you to buy the materials, instead of providing them themselves.
"They don't want to have to outlay their own money and wait for you to pay them," Mr Bryant said.
"Quotes (from reputable contractors) should include materials, the GST and the labour."
While insurance companies may nominate a preferred contractor, Mr Bryant said home owners had the right to choose who would do the repairs.
He encouraged people to seek out local builders.
Not only did that ensure you knew where to find them if you were not satisfied with the job, but locals were familiar with the relevant building standards for the area.
He also said the James Cook University cyclone testing station had observed a number of homes that suffered structural damage in cyclones over the past 10 years had not been rebuilt according to the National Building Code.
In some cases, roofs were not screwed on properly, and as a result many have had to be replaced.
Mr Bryant said they had also heard of contractors throwing tarps on homes that had lost roofs, without telling the home owner. They're then telling the owners that since their tarp was on the roof, they would be doing the repair job too, even if the home owner wanted to use someone else.
But Mr Bryant said that wasn't the case.
Don't be a victim
MASTER Builders' Dennis Bryant says if anyone is approached by a contractor, always ask for their name and their contracting licence number.
"If somebody won't identify themselves straight up, call the police," he said.
People can visit www.qbcc.qld.gov.au and use the licence search tool to check if the contractors are legitimate by entering their name, licence number or company name.
People should also check to see if the contractor's licence allows them to do the work they say they can do.