Around 300 homeowners have been left with unfinished homes after a Queensland homebuilder collapsed, which owed around $14million.
- Affected homeowners are urged to seek assistance from the Queensland Building and Construction Commission and NSW Fair Trading
- The QBCC urged people to seek legal advice after reports that Oracle was asking customers to make payments beyond those stipulated in their contracts.
- The owner of an incomplete house wonders why the business was allowed to continue operating until now
Oracle Building Corporation, which does business as Oracle Platinum Homes and Oracle Hunter Homes, went into liquidation on Wednesday, with all staff laid off immediately and no further construction work to be undertaken by the company.
About 70 employees lost their jobs.
Bill Cotter and W. Roland Robson of Robson Cotter Insolvency Group have been appointed liquidators of the company, which operated in Queensland and New South Wales.
In a statement, the liquidators said they understand the total creditor claims could be around $14 million and nearly 300 homeowners would potentially be affected.
“Projects range from those not yet started to those nearing completion,” the statement said.
“The staff of the company were dismissed from the date of the appointment of the liquidators.”
Speaking to ABC Radio Brisbane, Queensland Building and Construction Commissioner Anissa Levy acknowledged that it was a very difficult time for homeowners.
“What I can tell you is that there are 386 policyholders who have purchased policies with work undertaken by Oracle Homes over the past two years,” she said.
“We will be reaching out to each of these policyholders to get in touch with them to offer our help.”
Ms Levy said it was “a very sad day for [home owners and] a very difficult time in the industry”.
“My heart especially goes out to those home owners who are investing their life savings and probably what is one of the biggest investments of their life,” she said.
The liquidators said the company’s director, Tom Orel, was cooperating fully with them to maximize recovery prospects for all classes of creditors.
Liquidators said Mr Orel had highlighted problems facing the construction industry, including “the recent and rapid rise in the cost of building materials”, which he said had impacted margins of the company.
Mr. Orel also noted “substantial delays in securing the supply of materials and labor,” the liquidators said.
The signs were there, says home owner
The liquidation of Oracle Platinum Homes follows a series of failed construction companies, including Langford Jones Homes, Probuild, PlanBuild, BA Murphy, Privium Homes and several others across the country.
Ms Levy said rising material costs, skills shortages, the pandemic and flooding had created insurmountable problems for many businesses.
She said a dedicated team had been put in place to support those affected and the Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) would ensure that every effort was made to get people home as quickly as possible. possible.
Ms Levy said the Queensland Home Warranty Scheme meant homeowners could apply for help directly from the commission.
Earlier this year, the QBCC warned people to seek legal advice before making payments outside of the terms of the building contract after reports surfaced that Oracle Homes was seeking thousands of dollars in additional payments from owners before moving in.
One of the affected owners, Dale Liston, says he ended up with the “shell” of a house.
“I have bricks on the outside and cabinets on the inside,” he said.
Mr Liston said the QBCC should have seen the red flags about the company’s operations, given that he and others had contacted the commission about the issues they were facing.
Mr Liston told ABC Radio Brisbane he had been asked to pay an additional $40,000 to finish his house.
“My question is, why were they still allowed to trade with everything going on?” he said.
The CCSQ invites owners to contact its hotline at 139 333.