Builder Threat to Go to Council Re: Unauthorised Building if Do Not Choose Him as Builder

I requested a quote for a Deck. Who visited and advise me that he is builder and can do everything. I said ok, give me a quote.
We got a quote to do a landscaping from a builder A.
Builder A , gave us a quote around $100k. (landscaping, deck, additional must do from him pergola, carport - as he is builder)
Builder B, already provided a quote about $30k (which do not include deck which may cost $10-15k)

Builder A required us to go to him or else he will call council and complaint re: deck and car port which he thought - unauthorised build by previous owner.

Current carport/deck is about 20+ year old (owned by me last 5 years) - has roof and rain water/gutter provided.

Any help - what should I do? How to legalised my current construction.



  • +160 votes

    ignore him

    • +75 votes

      And call the council to “asking for a friend” about such an alleged illegal structure. So at least you know your options.

      Even if you give A the business, there is nothing to say he won’t dob on you. Extortionist can’t be trusted. Therefore forget about A, you don’t know what other extortion attempts he’ll conjure up.

      • +77 votes

        Yep. Why would you want to deal with someone that uses such shady tactics?

        • +6 votes

          yep - exactly.

      • +12 votes

        Council says someone complaint about illegal/unathorised building :

        • Council go and inspect
          • ask owner to provide individual building surveyour report that property is sound/safe/comply with regulation.
    • +25 votes

      Ignore him, resolve the issue, and then give a name and shame review somewhere visible describing his quote as double others and involving threats and ultimatums unless you proceed. None of that would be false. So no problem, am I right?

      • +1 vote

        Who is Builder A? I need to blacklist them pronto

    • +4 votes

      Dont answer
      Dont reply

  • +26 votes

    ha! Tell him to go * himself and laugh in his face!

  • +126 votes

    Complain to the HIA
    If you want to file a complaint against a HIA member, please send your complaint, including the details of the property concerned, your contact information, and the HIA membership number of the builder involved, to:

    Email: [email protected]

    • +34 votes

      This, please do this so these a-holes get stamped out, and you serve the community that serves you. even better if you have written evidence of this behaviour, if not, try to get it

    • +56 votes

      That is like complaining to Woolworths about a rude customer in the store that is walking around with a Woolworths rewards card and asking Woolies to cancel their membership or discipline them.

      Builders are HIA clients and pay an optional membership fee to the HIA. It is not mandatory to be a HIA member and if anything, the HIA gives builders the templates and systems they need to have one over the customer. As a builder myself I do not understand how the marketing team at HIA have managed to make people think like they are some kind of consumer protection body that fights for the people against the big bad builder but they seem to have done a great job at this, but in actual fact it is the COMPLETE opposite.

      Other examples of this include the; Master Builders association, Australian Institute of Building. They are all just optional membership bodies.

      Who you want to complain to is the department of fair trading that is the licensing and regulatory body in charge of trades and builders licensing. If your builder doesn’t have a licence then all the better, stop talking to them and move on.

      Link to licence check below:

      • +1 vote

        True, as someone who's worked at a peak body in the past (but in a completely separate field), they are far from the consumers friend. It (probably) doesn't doesn't hurt to complain to them as if they get enough complaints they (should) tell the builder to pull his head in as they won't be able to defend him, but it will be a slap on the wrist. Some parts of the peak body are just there to train and regulate, they do often make a lot of money from telling people how they need to conduct business. Once the peak body has told them to stop, they document this and are basically exonerated of their duty to defend them at all (not sure if the building membership goes this far but in the industry I was in where much more money changes hands they had a legal team that would actually represent the customer's/businesses interests)

        First and foremost everything should be documented and recorded and the threat to be captured in writing, then a case with fair trading opened, however if there's no money changing hands then fair trading will usually ask what remedy you want, and I'm not sure there's an option for "I want them in jail" :-) Hopefully there is a good option that goes further than "you didn't use them so just stop dealing with them".

  • +22 votes

    Give him a bad review.

  • +25 votes

    Bad review that he tried to blackmail you on review sites.

  • +94 votes

    Extortion is a crime.

    Give him a call, tell him there are some police here who want to "look over his quote."


      Yep - just ask Suzy Taylor


        ironically also was on "the block"

    • +28 votes

      100% Extortion is a crime. Do you have his threat in writing at all? Like a txt or email? You'd be crazy to go with him after that threat. Imagine all the crap he's going to pull during the work, if any work even gets done after payment.

      • +5 votes

        What about 50% extortion


          how would that work?

        • +2 votes

          50% crime. Its directly proportional.

      • +1 vote

        if he is regularly extorting as modus operandi
        then he might be smart enough not to have a record in writing that can get him in trouble with the police.

        most likely he just said it over the phone…


          That's what I'm thinking too, highly likely. They've probably did this many times before though. If OP could get in contact with others that have dealt with the dodgy builder they might be able to build a case.

          • +1 vote

            @subywagon: would it be ok to record 'in-person' quotes on my phone?

            • +1 vote

              @capslock janitor: You'd have to ask a solicitor, but I think you can't submit something recorded without their permission as evidence in Australia. I'd still record him though.


      Bikies to fix him.

    • +1 vote

      This would probably be considered blackmail - which is also a crime.

  • +27 votes

    Builder A required us to go to him or else he will call council and complaint re: deck and car port which he thought - unauthorised build by previous owner.

    Get that threat by writing, then report him.


      I don't know how you do it ……. Sherlock


        But you're Bob the builder, you should know?

    • +14 votes
      • +30 votes

        "Except a phone call from them"?

        You should've threatened to call the grammar police!

        • +7 votes

          I was thinking the same thing.
          His attention to detail is not great.
          Another reason not to use him as your builder.

          Hopefully he also gets your address wrong when he reports you ;-)

          • +2 votes

            @oz-dave: OP also had spelling error

            I think in the heat of arguments
            people don't bother to check their spelling or grammar

            even people on ozbargain has grammar or spelling errors..


              @pinkybrain: I think the builder is an egg but I also make simple grammar/spelling mistakes on my phone.

              The last was a job application with "to whom it may confirm"… Found it after a few applications, sigh.

      • +2 votes

        How did the conversation go leading up to this? It sounds pretty heated in the above.

        • +3 votes

          Probably OP stated simply that wanted to go with builder B etc..
          then threat was made
          then these text message etc..


        Lol hey thats my local council. Doubt they would take this "threat" seriously without proof


        OP, if you have his builder license number, for this threat, you should lodge a complaint to Masters Builders Association too.

        he should have included his builder license in his quote. If he doesnt have one, well, means he is not a licensed builder.

  • +2 votes

    Builder Threat to Go to Concil

    I don't think it is wise for them to go to Brazil at the moment due to the COVID situation there…


      So the threat is self harm?

  • +7 votes

    The above advice about getting the threat in writing and then reporting him is solid. As already stated, that is outright criminally illegal.

    But this point worried me:

    deck and car port which he thought - unauthorised build by previous owner
    Current carport/deck is about 20+ year old (owned by me last 5 years) - has roof and rain water/gutter provided.
    Any help - what should I do? How to legalised my current construction.

    A) how did builder find out deck & car port are not council approved? (is this information easily available to anyone? not concerned, just curious)
    B) how did you (OP) not discover that those buildings were/were not council approved when you bought the place?

    • +4 votes

      By look at it - It is strongly build but he guessed.
      He is local and he knows many in the local not approved by council.

      • +3 votes

        He also full of rubbish.

      • +2 votes

        Has the structure been up for more than 7 years? if so you won't need to have records of it anyway. I would create reviews for each place you find his phone number (do a google search for both +61 xxx xxx xxx and 04xx xxx xxx) and post a review saying what happened to you.

        I had an Electrician try and do the same thing to me when I called out his pricing on a job he did for me….. It didn't work, by the way the council is looking for fixes to jobs unless it is dangerous and therefore you shouldn't have it anyway as it creates a risk of injury.

        Actually also had an ex do the same thing on work inside a house, at the end of the day what the Building inspector and the planning people stated at the inspection was not at all what I ultimately had to resolve ……. the inspection indicated that I would have to pull down 1/3 of the building) as it was illegal, the final report was to replace a smoke alarm and remove a fixing I had used to block an access. Don't be scared.


        was he going to rebuild the carport and deck?

        what is meant by this

        Builder A , gave us a quote around $100k. (landscaping, deck, additional must do from him pergola, carport - as he is builder)

    • +5 votes

      It wont add value to your home either.

      That is not strictly true.

  • +1 vote

    Ask for the blackmail attempt in writing

      • +3 votes

        As an observer, I'm not sure that counts as proof, or even a threat. There's nothing about him saying he will not report it if you use him, or him threatening to report it. It's just him "I think it's best if I…"

        Unless there is something further up the conversation that implies a trade or a threat.

        • +4 votes

          need entire conversation chain posted

          if op said i will go with the builder B
          then builder A said "Then i better report to knox council"

          would that be considered a threat?


        I reckon you should shout him English lessons

  • +7 votes

    If he is this dodgy then he will be dodgy all-round, so catch him in a recorded phone call with a number of things he also likely does illegally like…
    His extortion attempt
    Undoubtedly he'll ask for more of a deposit than legally allowed, etc
    Get clarification on how much you save by paying in cash and him not having to declare the income

    So, when you get all the evidence, go to the police to file a report of extortion, then to the builders association in your state, then the tax office

    • +9 votes

      He also emailed - pay cash, pay less… lol

      • +42 votes


        I think I better go and call the ATO and let them deal with your offer of a cash discount have a lovely day.

        • +63 votes

          Except a call

        • +1 vote

          Nothing wrong with cash payments, unless they are: A) Over $10K and B) Not disclosed to the ATO.

          We all know this dodgey bloke would disclose the payment…


            @Yawhae: you clearly dont get it or youre just like the dodgy guy!


            @Yawhae: They are id they are not declared and this is $100K.


            @Yawhae: he said he would do it cheaper for cash though, there is no reason to offer a discount for cash unless he isn't declaring it

            • +1 vote

              @IamEzza: Actually there is. Cash means you are paid right then and there. There is also no risk of someone reversing the transaction.

              I will often give a 5% discount for cash payments at the time of completion.

      • +2 votes

        Awesome - you got him.

        ATO, and then police of you have screen shots of anything that sounds like a threat or ultimatum, extortion is a crime as explained above.

  • +9 votes

    c) report the (profanity) to HIA and the police, and install camera incase the asswipe tries to rob ya.


      which cam system you guys recommend?




          Why that over say something like Swan?

          • +1 vote

            @khomeini: Because the cameras are actually good quality and not overpriced crap like swan. The software is also better and has more options.


              @Charmoffensive: Thanks and I agree. I thought I had Hikvision but realise it's Dahua which is also another decent brand for cameras.


    If construction - deck and pargola is over 10 years old, does it still required a permit?
    Or older that xx years are exempted from permit? thx

    • -2 votes

      usually has to meet current standards, not the standards of when it was built

    • +7 votes

      If they had a permit/approval for it 10 years ago then it'll be fine.
      If not, then the council can come and ask for retrospective approval or demolition. I don't think there's such thing as an exemption.
      You inherit whatever non-approved structures are on the land from the previous owner.

      It's just weather the council actually can be bothered to enforce it.

      Generally this is picked up by the conveyancer i believe upon purchase when they get someone to carry out the inspection.


        From what I've heard in recent house hunting, this is not something that conveyancers search for unless requested for a specific structure.

        A quick google search also told me that it's not a valid reason to terminate the contract (At least in QLD you would need it inserted into the sales contract before it was signed in addition to the building inspection)

        "Since the standard contract does not protect the buyer against unapproved house structures, it is up to the buyer to protect himself.
        One option is to have a Special Condition added to the contract explicitly stating that all structures must be approved by the Local Council in order for the contract to be valid. A time limit can be specified as well.
        If you zero in on a property that has a pool, pool fencing, a pergola or other structures on it, you can check with the Local Council to see if they are approved or not. If not, you can inform the seller that you won’t be signing a contract until they have been approved."


    Stop worrying about this dick - ignore, cut off dialogue and move on by hiring someone else. Case closed.

    • +1 vote

      Stop worrying about this deck?

  • +4 votes

    Probably worth checking if you're actually compliant or not, as that may make you feel better and you can see where you want to go from here, but just looking at the maths its:

    If you go with builder A its $100k, if you go with builder B its $45K.

    $100k-$45k = $55K

    So even if Builder A is right, that gives you $55K to get your deck "compliant" plus you'll have a compliant deck (assuming its possible), and you get to go to police/fair trading or wherever for revenge justice.

    • +4 votes

      He is asking not a modifying but demolish and rebuilt the strongly built deck and carport.

      To get "compliant" he might needs to tweet a bit - like clean up the gutter, may need to connect to gutter line* (not sure).

      You do not need to demolish and rebuild? He is trying to rip off…


    I might be wrong but after 7 years I don't believe the permits are still required?

    • +12 votes

      most council have grandfather older rules. check with the council, use a pay phone, with no cameras around, when it's dark, wear a hoodie, use a voice changing app, wipe all finger prints from phone

      ask for a friend

      u should be fine

      • +3 votes

        "Yes, I'm anonymously calling about a very specific address that is of interest to you"

        "No, you definitely shouldn't investigate this address that I just told you anonymously"

        • +4 votes

          "Sir, except a visit"

          "tunnel noises"
          hangs up

  • +1 vote

    Plan A … ignore.

    Plan B … tell old mate to $*@& his mother, then ignore.

  • +16 votes

    This is a job … for ACA! Tracey and her hidden camera - she loves dodgy tradesmen…

  • +1 vote

    I'm not quite understanding this. OP is looking to build a new deck and will anyway demolish the existing deck in question. The carport is 'collateral damage' should OP go legal but will cost less than the deck. The unauthorized bit seems irrelevant to me.

    Anyway, ignore builder A. They're clearly trying to extort you, OP. Keep records of their threats, whether direct or inferred.

  • +2 votes

    I am planning to build a new deck (bottom bit only) as top bit (pargola) is well structured with downpipes etc. Same he is saying that carport need to demolish and he will build a new car port.

    Why? fix it to make it council approved??

    Builder A says - I can not do work unless I demolish Pergola + carport (as construction not approved by council). Then he will rebuild If I do not go with him, he complaint to council.

    Just trying to make money !!

    • +24 votes

      You will be banned from OzBargain if you chose builder A and then come back and complain here.


        I will contact Scotty for that myself.

    • +1 vote

      btw it's pergola

  • +22 votes

    Tell him that Builder B has also made the same threat.

  • -3 votes

    I'm going to be the devil's advocate here and say the OP isn't providing the full story.

    If I'm a builder doing registered works, including works that may not be compliant that I'm going to be responsible for, then I'm going to cover my ass. You want a quote? That's fine, but will also include remediation to that suspicious non-compliant carport that isn't registered with council.

    Since the OP's screenshot didn't contain the entire story, nor ANY evidence of

    Builder A required us to go to him

    Then I cast doubt.

    Besides, if I don't want the job (due to shoddy carports, or any other reason like a dodgy customer) then I'll simply quote well over the value to ensure the job isn't accepted.


      I have initially invited Builder A to quote for Deck ONLY (which may be worth 10-12k)

      He market himself and said that I can do Artificial Grass, concrete and landscaping (quoted by Builder B) <$30,000. He market himself and added more stuff.

      Then, when he was leaving he asked me that do you need a quote and I said if you are thinking 100k - don't worry about it. He said look I meet all kinf of client and I do 10 quotes a day - it's just an opportunity for me.

      I said OK send me a quote.

      Now he think that I waste a time for him - because I requested a quote and not doing a job.