Ripped off

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A DOTING dad who put off getting his teeth fixed so he could afford a physio room for his disabled daughter has watched $8500 go down the gurgler.

Stephen Flanagan from Munster paid a tradie most of the $12,500 that had been quoted for the job, but it’s so appalling it will most likely have to be pulled down.

The tradie had previously rendered Mr Flanagan’s home and had done a good job. As he also came with a solid recommendation, Mr Flanagan felt confident engaging him to enclose the rear patio, so the family could work with Jacqueline, 5, who suffers from a chromosal disorder so rare just 30 cases are known worldwide.

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Mr Flanagan, who works in emergency services in Fremantle, says the project started badly and only got worse:

• a sliding door was so misaligned the lock couldn’t reach the frame;

• a batten holding up the ceiling had no screws in it, while others were hanging by one or two;

• screws in flashing were drilled into thin air;

• gyprock was put on the ceiling before insulation batts were installed, leaving much of the room uninsulated;

• the tradie gave himself an electric shock when working behind a powerpoint (he’d forgotten to turn off the power) and then bogged up the wiring;

• a wall was so bowed that render simply slipped off, and replacement render was a different colour;

• a brick wall was built on a footing that consisted of a single brick laid on its side, in soft sand;

• left-over cement was poured onto the front yard and, when told to stop, it was poured onto the back yard, leaving Mr Flanagan’s wife with a three-hour clean-up job bashing it off with a crowbar;

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Mr Flanagan says he tried to get the tradie to install the windows to keep out the rain but kept getting put off.

In frustration he contacted the manufacturer himself: “The company, Perth City Glass, he claimed he ordered the glass off, had no order from him,” Mr Flanagan said.

Mr Flanagan was told it was likely the tradie was trying to install goods stolen from another building site.

He says he is so concerned about the state of the build, and cracks already appearing at the base of the wall, that he’s stopped his daughter playing in the backyard without strict supervision.

The family survives on Mr Flanagan’s modest income, with Mr Flanagan’s wife providing full-time care. With medical bills mounting they’ve hit rock bottom and don’t know what to do.

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Mr Flanagan paid the money from compensation he’d received for a work-related injury that damaged his teeth: he’d decided his daughter’s needs were more important.

“We are devastated and my daughter is aware too in her own way,” Mr Flanagan told the Herald. “We now have an unfinished shell, and we are out of pocket $8500.”

Mr Flanagan is hoping a Herald-reading builder might come to the rescue, even if it’s only a bit of helpful advice. He’s been told the wall will probably have to come down, but says he needs to know for certain what, if anything, can be salvaged.

Anyone who can help out the family can contact the Herald on 9430 7727 or email



One response to “Ripped off

  1. This is where WA falls below European standards. They have gov. building inspectors (controlled by council). They approve and inspect constructions, by signing off each stage of development. If works are not to ‘required standard’ works do not proceed. Easy isn’t it, builder is held responsible.
    Our council just approves developments and take no responsibility, just lets the the builder ” go for it”.
    I pray we never have a metropolitan area seismic event.

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