Wamberal builder convicted of fraud

A Wamberal man has been convicted of fraud after falsifying a Home Building Compensation Fund certificate for residential building work valued at almost half a million dollars.

The sole director of Wamberal Beach Constructions Pty Ltd, Mr Warren Beckhouse pleaded guilty in Parramatta Local Court on April 28, 2016 of offences under the Crimes Act. Mr Beckhouse was ordered to pay $4,085 in fi nes and costs and placed on a section 9 good behaviour bond for two years. Mr Beckhouse was contracted by a Winston Hills man to construct a four-bedroom residence for the sum of $480,500. Before home building work valued at more than $20,000 can commence in NSW, the builder must obtain a certificate of cover under the Home Building Compensation Fund.

The court heard Mr Beckhouse falsified the certifi cate and forwarded it to the private building certifier firm. The certifier subsequently issued a Complying Development Certificate, allowing construction to begin on the Winston Hills premises in August 2013. By early 2014 building had stalled at the Winston Hills site. On April 20, the owner discovered Wamberal Beach Constructions Pty Ltd had gone into liquidation. When he contacted the company, Mr Beckhouse assured the owner he would complete the construction of the residence as a sole trader, which would not affect the Home Building Compensation Fund cover. However, due to the numerous delays, the owner decided to change builders and it was then that he discovered that he had not received a copy of the Home Building Compensation Fund certifi cate. Further enquiries confi rmed the owner’s fears that Mr Beckhouse had used falsified documents that voided his compensation fund protection. The owner has since engaged other contractors to complete the residential building work at considerable added expense. NSW Fair Trading Commissioner, Mr Rod Stowe said the Home Building Compensation Fund scheme was designed to provide protection for the benefi t of consumers. “For your own protection, always check that a valid insurance certificate has been obtained by your builder for the work you want done,” Mr Stowe said.

Media release, May 6, 2016 NSW Fair Trading Media