Landscaper sentenced for unlicensed contracting

According to a media release published by NSW Department of Finance, Services & Innovation, an unlicensed and uninsured landscaper who received more than $140,000 for unfinished work has been sentenced to a maximum of 18 months prison, with a non-parole period of six months.

The repeat offending "landscaper" did not hold a contractor licence or insurance as required by the Home Building Act 1989 (NSW) (the Act), and has been the subject of seven enforcement actions by NSW Fair Trading between 2003 and 2015.

The action by the Department appears to reflect a focus on licensing compliance, in particular in pursuing prosecutions.

The Act defines the following services as "residential building work" that is required to be completed by a licensed contractor:

  • construction of a dwelling
  • making of alterations or additions to a dwelling
  • repairing, renovation, decoration or protective treatment of a dwelling
  • roof plumbing work done in connection with a dwelling
  • specialist work done in connection with a dwelling
  • work concerned in installing in a dwelling any fixture or fixed apparatus that is designed for the heating or cooling of water, food or the atmosphere or for air ventilation or the filtration of water in a swimming pool or spa.

Further, the Home Building Regulation 2014 (NSW) prescribes the following work to be "residential building work": Erection of pre-fabricated metal-framed home additions and structures; general building work; kitchen, bathroom and laundry renovation; structural landscaping; swimming pool building; bricklaying; carpentry; decorating; dry plastering; excavating; fencing; general concreting; glazing; joinery; metal fabrication; minor maintenance and cleaning; minor tradework; painting; roof plumbing; roof slating; roof tiling; stonemasonry; swimming pool repairs and servicing; underpinning or piering; wet plastering; wall and floor tiling; and waterproofing.

We discuss contractor licensing requirements, and the consequences of breach of the Act, in our March 2019 article which can be viewed here.

We remind homeowners to conduct a licence check before engaging any tradesperson or contractor to perform any of the above services, as unlicensed contractors are legally prohibited from performing residential building work.

This publication does not deal with every important topic or change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named individuals listed.