Ballarat builder goes bust, leaves dozens in the lurch

A prominent Ballarat builder has gone into liquidation, leaving dozens of homes incomplete while still owing multiple tradespeople.  

Young Ballarat couple Aaron Stoddart and Kristy Kinnersly (left) and Jamie Severino (right).

Young Ballarat couple Aaron Stoddart and Kristy Kinnersly (left) and Jamie Severino (right).

The Courier can reveal Severino Homes went into liquidation last week, months after reports of unfinished homes first surfaced.  Liquidator Claudio Trimboli confirmed details about the amount the business owes and the number of creditors would be presented to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission on Monday. 

Among those who have been left with unfinished homes is couple Aaron Stoddart and Kristy Kinnersly, who signed the contract to build their Lucas property in February 2015.  Despite building for more than two years the couple’s home is still far from complete.  

Mr Stoddart said after 12 months of building “things started to fall apart”.  The couple also said they have been refused access to the house by the builder.

“We have not seen him this whole year,” Mr Stoddart said.  “I wanted to do the right thing and go with a local builder.

“Now they’ve gone into liquidation we’re told it’s a good thing because we can claim insurance.  It’s not going to be as significant as if we ended contract.”

Severino Homes previously had a licensing agreement with Torquay-based builder New Select Homes.  New Select Homes terminated the agreement earlier this year.  

Severino Homes had customers as far away as Castlemaine on top of its Ballarat contracts.

Ballarat painter Kai McPhee said he was owed more than $14,000 for work done over the past 12 months, a cost that had left the business owner $20,000 out of pocket after paying for workers and supplies.  He said while he was pleased creditors would be able to get some money back through the liquidation process, the money was likely to go to homeowners before tradespeople.

“It’s crippled me.  It’s been going on for nearly 12 months and I’ve struggled ever since,” Mr McPhee said. 

Mr McPhee said he knew of at least 10 other tradespeople who were owed money.

Homeowner Maureen Peach signed a contract to build in Mount Pleasant with Severino Homes in October 2015, expected to be complete in January 2017. 

The couple moved in four weeks ago after completing the build independently following a breach of contract from Severino Homes.

Ms Peach said she and her husband had spent more than $30,000 on their house since ending contract with Severino Homes earlier in the year. 

Ms Peach said while she was pleased she would be able to recoup some of the lost funds through insurance now the builder had gone into insolvency, she felt for some of the tradespeople who would potentially miss out on being paid. 

“It went pear shaped from the very start,” Ms Peach said.  “We had heard for a long time they were in trouble.”

The Courier attempted to contact Severino Homes director Jamie Severino for comment.