Third-year apprentice electrician Maks Chylewski tests ceiling insulation.
Third-year apprentice electrician Maks Chylewski tests ceiling insulation.

Beware of shonky inspectors

GYMPIE electrician Dean Hollingworth wants Gympie Region residents to make sure when contacted by people claiming to be electricians and conducting inspections on foil insulation that they check out the person they will be entrusting their families safety to.

Mr Hollingworth said he received a phone call from a customer who was on a three week wait until an inspection could be completed by him, but who told him someone had done the inspection.

He told Mr Hollingworth the man first claimed he worked for the government.

But after he told the man he was waiting for Mr Hollingworth to complete the inspection the man allegedly said he worked for “Dean”.

Mr Hollingworth said the man who did the job didn't work for him and had only spent about half-an-hour on the job, something that usually took him two hours.

He said the man who claimed to be his employee left the client no paperwork or identification, and the client had signed a declaration that released the government from liability over the foil insulation.

After the phone call Mr Hollingworth called all the clients on his books that were waiting for an inspection and reminded them to make sure to only allow someone reputable to complete the inspection.

He said it took at least 15 minutes just to check if a roof was live and another 15 to fill out all the required paperwork and there was “no way” that an inspection could be properly completed in half-an-hour.

So far he has found one live roof, insulated with foil, but the fault was not with the insulation.

Mr Hollingworth has written to Federal Member for Wide Bay, Warren Truss outlining his concerns.

In response Mr Truss wrote the Australian Government's insulation program had been an “appalling debacle”.

“It is becoming increasingly obvious that the clean up, which could cost as much as the original program, is also fundamentally flawed.

“It has been confirmed that insulation installers have sold the list of customers to electricians, possibly in breach of privacy laws, to share in the fees being offered by the Government to inspect foil insulations.

“I have also been informed that many electrical contractors are unwilling to undertake the inspections because of concerns about long term liability for the safety of the insulation.

“On the other hand, some electricians are experiencing difficulty persuading householders to sign the form authorising payment for the inspection as the form requires the householder to absolve the government and the electrical inspector from my liability in the future.

“There are now regular reports about possible bogus electrical inspections, people calling and claiming to be representatives of the government and unqualified workmanship,” he wrote.

Mr Truss also agreed that further action was required to fix the failed foil insulation scheme.

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