Bushfire Rebuilding: Choose A Licensed Builder

Thanks to recent heavy downfalls, the Currowan fire in the Shoalhaven is out. By the end of the week, it is expected that all remaining fires in NSW will be extinguished. 

The Currowan fire burnt for 74 days, from one end of the Shoalhaven to the other (and into neighbouring councils), destroyed 499,621 hectares of land and 312 homes. 173 homes were damaged and the toll on native wildlife is yet to be determined.

Now that the fire is out, the rebuilding process begins. With so many homes needing to be repaired and rebuilt (an estimated 2400 in NSW alone), the Government is issuing warnings to bushfire victims urging them to stay away from unlicensed builders performing illegal work.

Rebuilding Could Take Up To 5 Years

Rebuilding takes time. Bushfire building requirements, replacing important documents and insurance technicalities can significantly delay construction.

A recent abc article told the story of a couple from Tathra, the south coast town fire ripped through in March 2018. Nearly 2 years after the fire, Michelle and Chris Carter are still rebuilding their house. It took 14 months for their plans to be approved, primarily due to difficulties getting a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) rating for their property.

Elsewhere in the town, 10 homes have finished being rebuilt and around the same number are still under construction. These two figures combined amount to less than a third of the total number of homes destroyed. 

A spokesperson from Master Builders Victoria said:

“I think realistically you’re looking at a three-to-five-year window”

It’s hard to imagine living in temporary accommodation for such a long period. And this is where the temptation to use unlicensed tradespeople comes in.

Dangers Of Using An Unlicensed Builder

The NSW Government is urging bushfire victims to remain vigilant and treat anyone offering a cheap and easy quick-fix with suspicion. 

NSW has strict licensing requirements for residential building work and all specialist work. There are severe penalties applicable for any builder caught performing illegal building work. 

“Only experienced professionals know how to navigate the many possible hazards caused by fires, so it’s essential all work is carried out by licensed tradies…”  – Minister for Better Regulation Kevin Anderson

NSW Fair Trading has announced it will be targeting unlicensed building work in bushfire affected communities by undertaking unannounced compliance blitzs.

Check A Builders Licence

It’s easy to check a builder’s licence online. All you need is one, or any combination of the following:

  • Builder’s name
  • Licence number
  • Suburb 
  • Trade

It’s worth checking the licence of every tradesperson you hire to perform work on your home or at your business. This includes builders, electricians, plumbers and air conditioning contractors. By law, all contractors need to show their licence number on all their advertising materials including websites. 

AK Buckley is a licensed new home builder and renovations specialist in Vincentia. We are committed to excellence and offer you the peace of mind you deserve when building your dream home.