Cautionary Tale: Vigilantes
Updated: Dec 23, 2021
My name is Fiona O' Hehir. And my cautionary tale today is about vigilantes.
Now that I have an opportunity to speak openly and freely about issues pertaining to the Victorian building regulator. I personally want to set the record straight. Statements made by the regulator have sullied my reputation.
Back in December 2012, I arrived at a building appeals board hearing into a particular builder and his behavior. This was an open hearing, open to the public.
We were shown into the room, sat down, and within seconds of sitting, we're informed by the chair that we had to vacate them. It was all very dramatic. Everyone was shocked. There was no explanation, nothing. And eventually, I went back to work thinking, well, the panel just didn't want us to hear what was going on.
A week later, just before Christmas, the determination of that building appeal board hearing into the builder was handed down.
To my absolute amazement, my reputation has been profoundly discredited in the statements made by the panel, which I will read you now and I quote:
"The panel, finds the obstreperous behavior and actions of the observers, which have many of the hallmarks of vigilantes, totally disrespectful, unacceptable, and contemptuous of both the registry staff and the board.
They claim the panel has security concerns on the basis on that basis, determined that the proceeding should be held in private. All I can say is that is absurd in the extreme. The absurdities continue, ramblings and rumblings in the determination about mobile phones and medical records, a lot of hearsay without substance and without a right of reply. The very tenant of natural justice that the regulator keeps demanding for the building practitioners apparently does not apply to the building owner, the affected party or, even an interested party."
The result, the result is my name etched in documents that state I interfered with the administration of justice. And whilst it happened some time ago, the assumption is that it is correct when in fact it is not.
It is in fact unacceptable and unprofessional behavior.
And guess what? They know.
And guess what they do about it? Nothing.
Why is a good question? Why did they do nothing?
This website will shine a light and show people how to navigate their way through some of the oddities and absurdities that occurred to consumers and others. I and others have also sought legal advice but would need a spare couple of hundred grand to get this finding overturned.
Building Consumer Affairs is a free information-based website that comprises current and historical stories and analyses of how the Australian residential building industry operates.
Building Consumer Affairs believes the role and function of the building regulator are to monitor and enforce compliance. This ensures high standards in the building industry are maintained. Building Consumer Affairs will strive to assist consumers navigating the perilous pathway of construction by providing access to relevant information and sharing cautionary tales that will inform.
We actively collaborate with building industry representatives and engage directly with the government and the community to achieve our vision and purpose. Please contact us for more information.
About the Author:
Fiona paid $870,000 for her retirement property that last year was valued at half that being land value only.
Despite a valiant win at VCAT, Fiona's struggle for justice continues for her retirement home.