Multi-agency blitz on Gold Coast uncovers numerous building offences

18 June 2019

A two-day blitz of Gold Coast building sites by 10 local, State and federal government agencies has reiterated the need for vigilance in checking building standards, after a number of offences were detected, including one that could have had tragic consequences.

Last week, agencies including the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC), Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, Electrical Safety Office, City of Gold Coast and Australian Border Force swept 66 residential and high-rise building sites, checking the licences and work of 379 people.

QBCC Commissioner, Brett Bassett, said agencies involved in the blitz identified various building and safety issues, including the Electrical Safety Office, which discovered an unsupervised, unlicensed minor performing electrical work, while reportedly posing as an apprentice.

“This was a potentially lethal activity, and the employer responsible for that person now faces disciplinary and enforcement action from the Electrical Safety Office and disciplinary action from the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training’s Quality Training Team,” Mr Bassett said.

He said the incident was a sad reminder of the tragic electrocution of 20-year-old Jason Garrels at a Clermont worksite in 2012, after nine days on the job.

“There are no ifs or buts with safety - and to put this unqualified young worker in a position where he was risking his life, and the lives of others, is inexcusable,” Mr Bassett said.

“If this company cannot meet its obligations to keep its workers safe, what confidence can a property owner have that work being done in their homes will be up to scratch?

“These audits shine a spotlight on non-compliant and unsafe practices in our industry, so that we can help to protect home owners and anyone working on Queensland construction sites.

“This multi-agency approach helps to ensure there are many eyes and ears on the ground to share relevant information now and into the future, to help identify and prevent dangerous and non-compliant work.

“This new approach to old issues like unlicensed and illegal building work is already proving to be an effective tool for identifying offences and taking appropriate enforcement action,” Mr Bassett said.