Licence suspended but industry watchdog's work not complete
THERE has been a breakthrough in the investigation into Patios and Sheds Ipswich, with the Queensland Building and Construction Commission suspending the licence of one of the companies linked with the failed business.
The QBCC Commissioner, Steve Griffin, late yesterday said the QBCC had immediately suspended the licence of LBM Projects Pty Ltd, of which Paul DeBruin is nominee and his wife Krista DeBruin is director.
Mr Griffin said the Commission had interviewed Mr DeBruin and was continuing its investigations into his activities.
This followed The Queensland Times' publication of the stories of several Ipswich families who lost thousands of dollars.
Some of those customers signed contracts with LBM Projects, while others signed with DMV Pty Ltd, another company linked to Patios and Sheds Ipswich.
Investigations into DMV are continuing.
Mr DeBruin's brother-in-law, Johnathan Melein, is a former director of LBM Projects and the current director of DMV.
LBM Projects is the company that originally purchased the Ipswich shed business at 108 Warwick Rd.
Mr DeBruin was listed as the director of LBM from February 13, 2014, until April 8, 2014, after which MR Melein was director until May 1.
Krista DeBruin is listed as the current director and secretary of LBM projects, appointed May 1, 2014. A source told the QT that Mr Melein was placed in charge of Patios and Sheds Ipswich because Steelx, the company which took over The Shed Company franchise, refused to have any association with Mr DeBruin.
The QT has been informed that a franchise agreement between Steelx and Patios and Sheds Ipswich was terminated on October 28, 2014.
Some Patios and Sheds Ipswich customers said they were not made aware of the termination.
The Ipswich business continued to accept deposits from unwitting customers up until January this year.
When customers noticed that the gates were shut on the Warwick Rd premises in January, they were told the business was relocating to level 5 of the Ipswich Corporate Centre, on East St.
The QT attended that office this week, to find it unattended and with the door locked.
Stories of customers being ripped off have continued to flow, with The QT this week contacted by a former customer of Queensland Steel Constructions, a failed business that was run by Mr DeBruin out of Loganholme.
The man claimed that a $35,000 shed extension that he paid a deposit on was built, but did comply with the building code and would have to be pulled down.
The Logan man - who asked not to be named - said he refused to pay the balance to the shed company.
"We tried to reason with Mr DeBruin but to no avail," he said.
"He then sent threatening emails and then finally got the dogs onto us. It started with debt collection, then solicitors, then when he went into receivership we were sued by the receivers."
Mr Griffin urged customers to be aware of the rules surrounding the payment of deposits.
Suppliers of sheds can request the full cost of the materials in advance, however, if assembly or erection of the shed is also included in the contract, they can only ask for 10% of the contract price if it is under $20,000 and 5% if the value of work is over $20,000.