– Leader News
- Source: Rangeview estate builder’s penalty reduced after his financial situation was taken into account by VCAT
- June 15, 2016
A NEGLIGENT builder who left families with hundreds of thousands of dollars in repair bills had his penalty reduced after a tribunal took his financial situation into account.
David Brayer, a director of company Statbay Pty Ltd, was the corporate builder contracted to build 69 townhouses at Diamond Creek’s Rangeview estate that are now riddled with defects.
The Builder Practitioners Board slapped Mr Brayer with three fines of $15,167 for each breach of standards, totalling $45,501, on February 3.
He also was ordered to pay more than $19,300 in costs and banned from operating as a registered builder for a minimum of three years.
But in a cruel twist for his victims, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has waived Mr Brayer’s costs fee after his financial situation was taken into consideration.
The decision has dumbfounded one of his victims, Rangeview estate property owner Steve Balfour.
“We (homeowners) have more than $250,000 worth of bills and no one is giving us any relief,” Mr Balfour said.
“We fought him for years in VCAT, he repeatedly failed to comply and always had excuses as to why he couldn’t get the appropriate checks on properties,” Mr Balfour.
“It’s certainly not good enough.”
Mr Brayer, who told the Diamond Valley Leader he did not want to comment on the decision, can pay the fines in instalments of no less than $758.35 per calendar month.
The decision means Mr Brayer has up to five years to pay the fine, but can actually apply to register as a builder again in two years.
Independent Senator John Madigan, who has been campaigning for improved building regulations, said the penalty imposed on the builder “appears light on” and there’s “no doubt” the system let the residents down.
“To its credit, the State Government has recently introduced reforms with respect to the appointment of building surveyors and the dispute resolution and disciplinary processes applicable to the Victorian domestic building industry,” Mr Madigan said.
“However, a major flaw in the Victorian Government’s reform package is it does nothing to address issues with the insurance coverage provided under mandatory home warranty insurance policies.
“It is unacceptable that people with seriously defective homes and a builder who refuses to fix them are effectively uninsured unless the builder enters liquidation.”
“Rangeview is a good example of the problems this gives rise to.”
Mr Madigan said he was advised a letter airing his concerns was with state Planning Minister Richard Wynne, but he had not received a response.