Unlicensed builder sets up office
THE building regulator has swooped on a tower in Broadbeach after the unlicensed builder behind a collapsed construction company set up in an office there.
Adrian Hill's company, AB Hill Constructions, went into administration in May, after a spray-painted threat of "pay tradesman or burn" on one of his sites sparked a police investigation.
Liquidators of the company say it owes about $4.7 million to subcontractors, the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) and other creditors.
Mr Hill yesterday denied he was trading, saying he was using the office as storage space.
New homeowners were also hit, with many homes left unfinished, and some constructed without council approval, leaving them potentially uninsured and unliveable.
The QBCC has had to shell out $1.55 million in insurance claims for 15 clients of AB Hill under the State Government's Home Warranty Scheme in the past two years.
That figure could rise as the regulator is managing another two non-completion claims and 11 defects claims relating to AB Hill Constructions.
The QBCC cancelled the licences of Mr Hill and his companies last year, so one homeowner, $250,000 out of pocket, was stunned to see Mr Hill behind the desk of a new office on Monday afternoon.
The office, on the first floor of the Niecon building in Broadbeach, was decorated with pictures of Mr Hill's home projects, clearly displaying his AB Hill logo.
The couch from the company's former officer at Kalimna Dr appears to have made the journey to the new office, along with photos from the wall and home decor magazines on the table.
The homeowner said Mr Hill had been surprised to see him and annoyed to be photographed.
"He was very surprised, he didn't know what to do," the homeowner said.
"He told me it was his office and to get out. He then tried to say it was someone else's and he was just a labourer."
Mr Hill then left the office, followed by the homeowner, who photographed him hurriedly climbing into a white Audi A5 sedan.
The Bulletin understands that when QBCC officers attended the office later that afternoon, there was no sign of Mr Hill in the office, which was locked up and deserted.
Mr Hill yesterday said he wasn't trading from the office, but was using it as storage space.
"I'm not working, I'm not trading, I'm not allowed to, I don't have a licence and it's a storage area," he said.
"It was a year ago, I don't have a cracker and there's no need to dig any deeper."
Asked why he would lease an office in a sought-after building instead of a cheaper storage unit, Mr Hill said he wasn't paying rent at Niecon.
"I know the manager in there and when my company went down, he looked out for me and said 'you can store your stuff in here while you sort yourself out'."
Mr Hill said he wanted to move on from the issue.
"There's been no phoenixing, I don't have other companies, I'm labouring."
But the homeowner, who did not want to be named in case it jeopardised the QBCC process, said his family had not been able to move on.
They were supposed to move into their home by Christmas 2017, but the work was so defective it had to be condemned and started again.
"We're still two months away from moving in," he said.
"There was no plumbing, the frame had 108 defects in it, our slab was condemned.
"I had to pull it down and put it into skip bins. Our forever home was destroyed."
When the Bulletin attended yesterday, AB Hill sign boards and a project photos were still on display in the office, which was set up with a desk and filing systems.
Niecon leasing manager Trevor Darnell said he knew an Adrian Hill from "years ago", but could not confirm Mr Hill's claims he was staying at the office rent-free.
"I don't know anything about that one," he said. "I have no friend called Adrian Hill.
"I've got no idea why he would say that, you'd have to ask him. I don't know and I don't comment to the Bulletin."
In his report to creditors, liquidator Michael Dullaway, of Pearce and Heers, said AB Hill Constructions had loaned a second company, APH Properties, $294,266, which remained outstanding.
APH Properties is currently owned by Mr Hill and directed by his father Phillip Hill, and is the subject of strike-off action by ASIC.
The liquidator found APH had been involved with millions of dollars in property purchases in the past five years, but could not ascertain whether that company still had the proceeds from them.
The report said mortgagees had taken possession of a home at Carrara in the name of Mr Hill's wife.
The building regulator urged anyone with information about the case to contact them.
"The QBCC is investigating whether an unlicensed and excluded individual is offering to perform, or to undertake to perform, building work on the Gold Coast," a spokesman said.
"Anyone who believes unlicensed building activity is occurring should contact the QBCC on 139 333.
"Members of the public who are going to engage someone to undertake building work should only contract with appropriately licensed individuals.
"A free online licence search is available on the QBCC homepage."