Know your painter before you seal deal

WA Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety
  • Only registered painters can legally carry out paid painting work over $1,000
  • Consumers are encouraged to check the Register of Painters
  • Building and Energy has received 59 complaints about painting work this financial year

Following recent action by Building and Energy, consumers are reminded that painters must be registered to carry out paid painting work valued at $1,000 or more.

Painting regulation under the Building Services (Registration) Act 2011 aims to ensure the painter is adequately trained and experienced to do the work.

Registration requirements include evidence of competence in the trade, a National Criminal History Check and being a fit and proper person. Consumers can check the Register of Painters on Building and Energy’s website (via dmirs.wa.gov.au).

Painting compliance action by Building and Energy in the past four years includes:

  • A Cloverdale man was fined $3,000 and had his painting registrations cancelled by the State Administrative Tribunal because they were granted based on incorrect or misleading information, including falsified references.
  • A Perth tradeswoman was fined a total of $7,400 for entering into a building contract while not holding the required registrations, including a painting component valued at approximately $10,000.
  • A fine of $4,000 was issued to a tradesman in Geraldton after he falsely presented himself as a registered painter and carried out painting work valued at $3,000.
  • A Joondanna tradesman also incorrectly claimed to be a registered painter and was fined $5,000 for offences including completing $8,800 worth of painting services at a Dianella home.
  • The Building Services Board issued a $2,000 fine to a Ballajura registered painter for paintwork described as “faulty and unsatisfactory”, with issues including runny and patchy paint, embedded debris and overpainting on fixtures.

Building and Energy has conducted 58 investigations into painting work in the past three years, with most resulting in warnings or education letters.

So far this financial year, Building and Energy has handled 59 complaints regarding painting and coating matters and performed 71 proactive random site inspections.

Common workmanship issues include poorly prepared surfaces and poorly executed skills, including using paint with embedded debris or unsuitable paint for the surface.

In the past, Consumer Protection has also received reports of unscrupulous door-knockers who try to convince home owners that painting is required at their houses or offer on-the-spot deals without the required cooling-off period. They often charge an excessive amount and either do not carry out the work or perform a sub-standard job.

Building and Energy Executive Director Saj Abdoolakhan said that another issue is that painting contracts are often not put in writing.

“Any type of building work, including painting, should always be agreed to in writing so both parties have clear expectations,” he said.

“When looking to contract a painter for work valued at $1,000 or more, check that they are registered. It also advisable to gather at least three comparable quotes and seek out independent reviews and references, as well as familiarising yourself with key painting terminology.

“For contracts over $7,500, consumers should also check that the painter complies with the provisions of the Home Building Contracts Act 1991 and does not ask for a deposit over the maximum amount of 6.5 per cent before the work begins.”

See the Building and Energy website

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