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Local builder prosecuted for building unlicensed

12 December 2019

A Greenacres builder has been permanently banned from holding a building licence or being employed as a building work contractor, following disciplinary action taken by South Australia's consumer watchdog. 

37 year old Yonghua Lu was found guilty of breaching the Building Work Contractors Act this week. 

The court was told that during 2018, Lu completed substandard building works on two different properties, leaving the owners out of pocket. 

In one instance, Lu was contracted to install a veranda at a home in Magill, quoting $1,400 for the work. The finished veranda had numerous problems, including missing screws, incorrectly installed roof sheets and gutters, and beams that were not squared. 

The court hard that Lu refused to remedy the problems or pay for the additional repairs, despite numerous requests from the property owners.

Lu also undertook construction work on a retail space in metropolitan Adelaide without holding a building contractor's licence. 

In 2016 the Commissioner for Consumer Affairs had warned Lu about similar concerning behaviour, directing him not to contract or advertise for any further building work.

Despite this warning, Lu continued to undertake building work and began advertising his building services in the Chinese language newspaper South Australia Chinese Weekly and on the Chinese language website 'AdelaideBBS'. 

Lu pleaded guilty to the offence and received a conviction and penalty of $2000. He was also ordered to pay compensation for the veranda repairs of $788. 

Commissioner for Consumer Affairs Dini Soulio said this was a timely reminder for all tradespeople to ensure they fully understood their responsibilities and what their licence allowed them to do.

"Our licensing regime is in place both to regulate those who undertake this sort of work, but to also ensure the public is protected from unscrupulous and incompetent traders," he said. 

"I'd urge any consumers considering hiring a contractor to visit the CBS website to ensure they're hiring someone who is licensed to do the job." 

Both consumers and tradespeople are encouraged to contact Consumer and Business Services for building licence advice on 131 882.