Failed pool builder cops industry ban
A failed pool builder with a criminal history has been banned from the Queensland building industry for three years.
A Queensland Building and Construction Commission spokesman confirmed on Wednesday that Gold Coast-based Adrian Caruso was hit with the "exclusion'' after he tipped two of his companies into liquidation last week.
Caruso faces allegations from dozens of irate clients that he took payments for pool construction work that was never completed.
The QBCC spokesman said some of these consumers had made the foolish mistake of paying up to 90 per cent of the contract in advance, giving them virtually no leverage to get the work done.
Losses range as high as $70,000 per property but it's unclear if the victims will be able to claw any money back from the QBCC's Home Warranty Scheme.
That scheme only pays out amounts which correspond with the work completed, meaning victims may only recover a fraction of what they spent.
Caruso tapped liquidator Tony Lane to wind up his entities Pure Excavations Pty Ltd and Eye 4 Investments Pty Ltd just weeks after the QBCC cancelled his personal and company licenses.
Lane said Pure Excavations, which carried out contract work for Yatala-based Leisure Pools and Spas Manufacturing, had debts owing to the ATO for unpaid super but it was still uncertain how much other unsecured creditors will lose.
Caruso previously worked in his hometown of Canberra, where was convicted on drug charges and attempts to pervert the course of justice in 2006. He was given a two-year prison term but the sentence was suspended.
The tax office won court orders in 2015 to wind up his Canberra-based company DJH Pools & Spas Pty Ltd over unpaid debts.
Neither the criminal history nor the failed pool business prevented Caruso from carrying out building works in Queensland.
Under legislation known as the Mutual Recognition Act, out-of-state licensees can simply start trading in Queensland within 28 days of alerting the QBCC. The agency is prohibited from carrying out any background checks.
The QBCC is working with people who have been impacted by Adrian Caruso. We have received 47 complaints and are assessing each of these on their eligibility for help under the Queensland Home Warranty Scheme.
A common theme in the complaints received about Mr Caruso was to request the majority of the contract price up front. This should be a red flag for anyone about to undertake building work. It's important that consumers remember to never pay more than what's required at each stage of a building project, and if a contractor requests upfront payment ahead of the work schedule they are breaking the law. There are rules around maximum deposits that can be requested for domestic building work.
Originally published as Failed pool builder cops industry ban