Australian families with unfinished homes speak out after builder goes bankrupt

Hundreds of families hoping for their dream homes to be built have given up hope after their builder, Oracle Platinum Homes, went bankrupt.

The company went into liquidation after the builder demanded thousands of dollars in additional payments just three months ago.

Oracle’s collapse is an outcome most feared, but now it’s a grim reality for Joshua Maher.

Joshua Maher. (A current affair)

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“(It’s) very stressful … just not knowing how I’m going to survive financially,” Maher said. A current affair.

Oracle Platinum Homes has now slipped into liquidation and 300 homes across the country are now in limbo.

Maher and his wife should have moved into their first dream home with their son in February of this year, after paying more than $500,000 for the land and the house that Oracle was going to build.

An unfinished house. (A current affair)

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“Probably the red flags actually started with the first constructor, it lasted two weeks,” Maher said.

As the houses around Maher’s have been built, it has been more than a year since construction was supposed to begin and her house is still not finished.

“It’s supposed to be in the repair phase, but we’ve already paid for the closed phase,” Maher said.

Oracle Platinum Homes. (A current affair)

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He also received a demand for extra money to complete his construction.

“Yes, $40,000 they tried to charge me … and my attorneys told me they had no right to impose that price variance on me,” Maher said.

Oracle Platinum Homes headquarters was closed when a current affair arrived and director Tom Orel was now nowhere to be seen.

Customers have said the company didn’t even tell them about the liquidation and instead found out about it on social media.

The only action in the office today was the removal of a company car.

Ivan Hodges. (A current affair)

Ivan Hodges visited the head office to find out what happened.

He supplied the company with office supplies and is owed money.

“We’re not happy when something like this happens, of course,” Hodges said.

“We have been suppliers to the company for a long time. They have always been very good to us and I think we have been very good to them.”

Three months ago, a current affair spoke to numerous Oracle customers concerned about delays in their builds.

At that time, customers were affected by price variations to finish their fixed-price builds.

Olivia Shepard. (A current affair)

Work on Olivia Sheppard’s house had stalled after she suffered a $48,000 price variance.

“You don’t sign a contract to get an unexpected bill of almost $50,000,” Sheppard said.

Today his home is not much more advanced and there will be no work any time soon.

Master Builders Queensland chief executive Paul Bidwell said builders have had to be resilient, but he believes more is to come for the industry.

Master Builders Queensland CEO Paul Bidwell. (A current affair)

“Conditions are not changing, so we will have rising prices this year and next,” Bidwelll said.

“Changing the law to allow builders to pass on costs would be a big step for any government.”

Homeowners will now have to apply through the building watchdog’s home guarantee scheme to try to recoup costs and finish their homes.

But that in itself is a long process.

“I think Oracle tried to bite off more than it can really chew and as a result went bankrupt,” Maher said.

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