25. 06. 12. - 17:18
Builders sound alarm over foreign rivals
Austrian firms are warning that foreign building firms offering roofing work especially from Hungary are putting them out of business with dumping prices and shoddy work that doesn't meet local standards.
Foreign firms - especially Hungarian roofing firms - are being hired by Austrians due to their low fees in comparison to local companies. Since the turn of the year the Hungarians have been allowed to work in Austria together with Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic.
But according to critics, like Salzburg politician Wolfgang Ebner, people who hire foreign companies could find themselves in trouble if there was an accident because of a breach in safety regulations.
Ebner said he had received loads of complaints from local firms in Salzburg because they cannot keep up with the dumping prices of foreign companies.
Additionally Austrian companies have to adhere to local laws, wage levels and methods approved by the ÖNORM (the Austrian national norms for goods and services), while foreign companies usually disregard those regulations.
According to Mr Ebner, Hungarian and German companies have been observed working on roofs without safety measures, citing a case where asbestos was being stripped out putting those in the nearby area at risk. The work, he said, was also of a low standard.
Mr Ebner says that clients are not aware of the fact that they are liable for accidents that can happen due to breaches of safety regulations, which are set by the Chamber of Commerce.