Why home owners should reference check builders

By Emma Ryan 01 June 2020 | 1 minute read

A timely reminder has been given to Australian home owners after a Parmelia man was found to have falsified references used for his building practitioner registration.


Home owners and investors are encouraged to reference check those set to carry out works on their properties. It comes after Parmelia local Lipeng Cao was fined $5,000 after his application for building practitioner registration was found to include incorrect or misleading information, including falsified references.

Mr Cao was also ordered to pay $1,000 in costs when a State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) matter concluded on 11 May 2020 following disciplinary proceedings commenced by Building and Energy.

“Mr Cao’s building practitioner registration was granted in March 2017 and expired in March 2020,” Building and Energy confirmed in a statement. 

“According to agreed facts presented at the SAT, Mr Cao’s 2017 application included two reference letters that appeared to confirm he had the required experience of carrying out or supervising building work for at least 84 months.


“One letter was from a senior staff member at a building company, stating that Mr Cao had been a supervisor there for two-and-a-half years. Building and Energy’s subsequent investigation revealed that Mr Cao was in the role for just four months and, although the business did provide a reference, the dates in the original letter had been altered.

“The other letter was signed by ‘Ray Jackson’ and claimed that Mr Cao had been a supervisor for a registered building practitioner for five-and-a-half years. Inquiries by Building and Energy found that the building practitioner mentioned in the letter had neither employed nor ever met Mr Cao.”

Ray Jackson was also revealed to be a fictitious identity, Building and Energy noted.

“Emails sent by registration officers to Ray Jackson to confirm the facts of Mr Cao’s application were actually answered by staff at a third-party business that Mr Cao had engaged to help prepare his application,” the statement said.

Commenting further, Building and Energy executive director Saj Abdoolakhan flagged the importance of the registration system.

“The registration system for builders is designed to protect consumers by providing assurances that the person carrying out the work is suitably qualified and experienced,” Mr Abdoolakhan said.

“Obtaining registration under false pretences puts consumers at risk and undermines the integrity of those who have worked hard and authentically obtained their registration.

“Safety, quality and compliance are paramount in the building services industry, and we will continue to take action against anyone who uses false and misleading information.”

About the author

Emma Ryan

Emma Ryan

Emma Ryan is the deputy head of content at Momentum Media.

Emma has worked for Momentum Media since 2015, and has since been responsible for breaking some of the biggest stories in corporate Australia, including across the legal, mortgages, real estate and wealth industries. In addition, Emma has launched several additional sub-brands and events, driven by a passion to deliver quality and timely content to audiences through multiple platforms.

Email Emma on: [email protected]Read more

Why home owners should reference check builders
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