Practitioners held to account

The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) is holding practitioners to account, handing out serious penalties to plumbing and building practitioners for non-compliant and dangerous work.

Zuhir Bulos faced a VBA disciplinary inquiry following a complaint from a homeowner that he had carried out non-compliant plumbing work, including incorrectly installed drainage pipes, which had the potential to lead to flooding of the home. The Inquiry found that Mr Bulos also lodged a compliance certificate that contained a misstatement of fact and was penalised more than $3500.

Former practitioner Paul Rees, who operated APR Plumbing, appeared before the Ringwood Magistrates’ Court following a VBA investigation. Mr Rees had performed domestic building work that he was not qualified to do, putting occupants of a Melbourne building at risk of it being significantly damaged by strong winds. He pleaded guilty and was convicted and fined $1000 by the court.

Mario Mazza was penalised $36,500 and cannot take on any new work for two years for numerous breaches of the Building Act 1993, including allowing his building registration to be used by another practitioner, Rocco Barba. Mr Mazza also permitted and allowed building work to be carried out which did not comply with the Building Act, the Building Regulations and the relevant building permit.

In addition, Barba had his Commercial Builder - Limited registration cancelled and was disqualified from obtaining registration in any category or class of building practitioner for three years. He made numerous breaches of the Building Act, including allegedly providing false compliance certificates for a residential development, engaging in a sham building contract for the purposes of procuring a building permit and carrying out building works which significantly departed from the approved building permit documents. He must also pay $38,000 in penalties to the VBA.

Sam Baraka had his building registration suspended for two months, was ordered to undertake additional training and directed to pay more than $24,000. Demolition works Mr Baraka carried out resulted in damaged weatherboards and bathroom tiles to a neighbouring Footscray property.

The practitioners listed above can apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for a review of these decisions.

The VBA has an online consumer resource portal with information for anyone who experiences issues with builders or plumbers.

The Prosecution and Disciplinary Register records disciplinary action taken against registered building industry professionals, building companies and plumbers in Victoria.

Victorians can visit to make sure their builder or plumber is registered or licensed.