Builder cops blistering bill for unpaid fees


A CAIRNS building company has been ordered to cough up more than a million dollars to a subcontractor after a failed legal bid to avoid making good on outstanding payments.

Prime Constructions (Qld) had appealed to the Supreme Court to overturn a Queensland Building and Construction Commission order to pay more than $1 million in fees to HPS Contractors.

Prime claimed glazing work done by HPS on Crystalbrook Collection's Bailey hotel construction job was defective and led to considerable water damage when severe storms hit the city in December last year.

The QBCC's appointed adjudicator John Tuhtan disagreed - and now so has the Supreme Court.

Justice Peter Flanagan rejected all five of Prime's claims of error in the original QBCC judgment.

In one submission, Prime had argued the adjudicator had not given regard to a "third category" of rooms that were initially dry but subsequently found to be damaged.

Exterior Bailey, a Crystalbrook Collection Hotel Cairns, Queensland
Exterior Bailey, a Crystalbrook Collection Hotel Cairns, Queensland

Justice Flanagan found it was not Mr Tuhtan's role to "trawl through all of the material" to try find evidence supporting a case Prime did not make in the first place.

Prime was ordered to pay $1.07 million to HPS, as well as the company, the appointed adjudicator and the QBCC's respective legal costs.

The million-dollar payout is not Prime's only concern with the QBCC.

The firm is just six points away from losing its licence for three years after being issued 24 demerit points for breaches to the state's building code.

A company spokeswoman last month told the Cairns Post it had appealed the decision.

But a search revealed the 24 demerit points had still not been lifted yesterday.