Carpenter convicted and fined $4000 for illegal building work

A carpenter has been convicted and fined $4000 by the Heidelberg Magistrates’ Court for six breaches of the Building Act 1993 and the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995.

Mr Dean Savino was hired in June 2015 to build a shed and verandah at a property in Lalor after providing a written quote of $26,500 to the property owner. The quote was issued by SavBros Carpentry – a company run by Mr Savino’s brother, Mark.

By offering to take on the work and having his quotation accepted, Mr Savino entered into a major domestic building contract with the property owner for which he was ineligible. Under the Domestic Building Contracts Act), only registered builders can enter into a major domestic building contract. Neither Mr Savino nor his brother were registered as a building practitioner with the Victorian Building Authority (VBA).

On 9 June 2015, Mr Savino asked the owner to pay $7000 for building materials before work could begin. Under the Domestic Building Contracts Act, only five per cent – or $1325 – of the major domestic building contract’s total value was eligible for payment.

On several occasions, SavBros requested payments from the property owner, who paid a total of $21,500 before expressing concerns about the amount of money she had paid compared to the amount of work completed. After she refused to meet demands for a further payment of $4000, SavBros stopped working on her property.

The property owner took the matter to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal and also obtained an independent report on the work carried out by SavBros. The report found the work did not comply with Victoria’s Building Regulations and needed to be demolished.

Following an extensive investigation by the VBA, Mr Savino was found to have managed and completed building work under a major domestic building contract while unregistered and uninsured. He also failed to provide the property owner with an adequate major domestic building contract.

The VBA commenced proceedings against him, alleging three offences against the Building Act and three offences against the Domestic Building Contracts Act.

Mr Savino appeared in the Heidelberg Magistrates’ Court on 16 January 2019 and pleaded guilty to all six charges. He was convicted and fined $4000 plus costs.

Home and property owners can visit to check the registration of anyone offering to carry out building or plumbing work.