Builder handyman with construction tools. House renovation background.
Builder handyman with construction tools. House renovation background.

Reno from hell: Builder pays $140,000 for extension disaster

A COAST builder who charged his client more than $60,000 in variation fees on a $86,000 home extension contract and did not finish the job has been ordered to pay the home owner nearly $140,000.

Builder Rowan John Dyer was contracted to demolish a beach shack and build an extension on Robyn Spence's home in March 2014.

He was supposed to have the work finished by August, but when October rolled around and Ms Dyer received a number of invoices demanding payments for variation works, the building was unfinished and inspectors had defected the frame stage twice.

Ms Spence told Mr Dyer she did not want him returning to the building site until they had "sorted out what is to be paid to you in respect of your current claims".

Mr Dyer claimed Ms Spence had breached the contract, and began legal action claiming she owed him $30,000, which he later withdrew.

Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Member, Sandra Deane, instead ordered Mr Dyer to pay Ms Spence $138,826.10 plus interest.

Mr Dyer had claimed he had performed the contract and variation work requested to an acceptable standard, but an independent expert giving evidence at the QCAT hearing said the workmanship was below average and not to a standard expected from a licenced builder, and all renovated areas of the dwelling were incomplete.

"There were 58 items of work not built in accordance with the STA Consulting Engineering drawing, that the extent of omissions and variations is significant and has compromised the structural soundness of the dwelling requiring an engineer to inspect to assess the structural integrity of the works," Ms Deane said.

The new extensions did not line up with the rest of the house, a setback at the entranceway to the extension was wrong, meaning the door would not fit, windows were in the wrong place, an internal wall was missing, a slab was the wrong height and changes to the walls meant a planned future upper floor could not be built.

Ms Deane found the amount of money Ms Spence had lost because of the renovation-gone-wrong was more than $111,000, and she ordered Mr Dyer to pay $27,000 in liquidated damages.

She found Mr Dyer had not completed the work on time as per the contract, and had incorrectly charged Ms Spence for works that were not in the contract.

She found he was in breach of his contract from October 21, 2014.